Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring is in the air!

It’s finally here (at least for most of the country)!

We all know the feeling – driving with the windows down, radio turned on, arm out the window with the breeze on your fingers ... Joggers and dog-walkers passing by, kids playing soccer and baseball at the park and the smell of the fresh spring air. We’re finally starting to thaw from a cold and stale winter, and there’s no denying it, the weather puts us in a different place.

Credit unions can capture this sentiment by rolling out a new marketing plan that rides the wave of spring’s rejuvenation. Offering GM discounts though Love My Credit Union Rewards can be the perfect way to help get a member into the right car for the right price just in time for spring cruising, and is a proven way of generating new auto loans for credit unions. Through this program, members are able receive exclusive pricing on new Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles that’s in addition to most current incentives!

Love to Shop is another great perk that credit unions can make available with a spring theme. Whether your members are looking add to their warm weather wardrobe, or transform their backyard into a fun place to cook-out and entertain, with Love to Shop credit union members can earn cash back at over 1,500 retailers – Home Depot, Target, Macy’s, Gap, Neiman Marcus, Nike, JC Penny and Sears, just to name a few.

When we think about seasonal promotions, we tend to about Black Friday, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter and other traditional holidays, but are plenty of other creative opportunities in which we can converge.

To learn more about Love to Shop, the credit union GM discount program through Love My Credit Union Rewards, or for help with a marketing solution tailored to your credit union, contact us today!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gotcha! April Fools Highlights the Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing

With the first week of April now in the books, it is a good time to reflect on the fun and innovative ways that we can rouse our membership base through social media. There were some great April fools pranks by a number of companies that utilized blogs and social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube among others.  Here were just a few:

Digital Advertising and Social Media

Social media advertising has a great reach and allows access to many dedicated users. Facebook alone boasts 1 billion registered users, and almost 700 million daily active users.  Twitter reports 500 million tweets sent per day, and YouTube, also with more than 1 billion users, has more than 300 hours of video uploaded every minute!

It’s no wonder that some marketers feel overwhelmed when stepping in the sphere of digital advertising and social media, but when done effectively and efficiently, the benefits are well documented. It is a cost effective method when measured against traditional marketing, offers a great deal of flexibility, can reach targeted audiences and is easily measurable in terms of ROI.

CU Solutions Group has been helping credit unions grow and develop for over a decade and can help during every step of your marketing campaign. Whether you need assistance with a content marketing concept, a digital method of execution or an easy and identifiable way to measure results, we are able to help through every step of the process. Contact us today.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Developing a Private Student Lending Program that Lasts at Your Credit Union


by Amy Dolk, Credit Union Student Choice

Over the past several years, hundreds of credit unions have entered the private student lending market. By focusing on several important pillars, these credit unions are delivering a valuable solution to borrowers while also returning positive results to their bottom line.
It may seem daunting to dip your toes into the student lending pool, but the basics are the same as most other lending initiatives. Focus on your members and their individual needs so you can point students and their families in the right direction toward paying for college. Here are the key pieces to focus on as you begin (or expand) your private student loan business.
  • Education: A college degree comes with significant benefits, but students and families need to understand how to responsibly pay for a college education. Prospective borrowers should be educated on the importance of finding “free money” (grants and scholarships) and low cost funding options before applying for private loans.Of course, it’s also important to show families why YOUR private student loan is a smart choice. Focus on the credit union philosophy of putting people before profits, and emphasize details like flexible repayment terms and payment options. It’s not about bad-mouthing “the other guy” – it’s about showing members they can trust you with their future.
  • Certification: School certification engages the college financial aid office for verification of enrollment and validation of the loan amount. This ensures the loan amount is not more than the cost of attendance and is disbursed directly to the school. It also allows financial aid officials to counsel the family on available options for reducing costs and utilizing lower-cost alternatives before relying on private student loans.
  • Underwriting: It is vital to use underwriting criteria that factors in credit score and history, encourages the use of a co-borrower, and takes into account the type of school. These items have a major impact on repayment. Data from several of the largest private student lenders in America show that private loans with a focus on these items perform better than federal programs, and result in fewer delinquencies and charge offs.
  • Repayment: Offering longer repayment periods and graduated repayment options helps support recent graduates who might be underemployed for a period of time. Young adults can easily be overwhelmed by entering the workforce and paying bills. If a student loan payment is unmanageable and borrowers don’t understand the consequences of default, it can be all too appealing for them to simply stop making payments.
  • Relationships: Lending to students and families within your existing footprint leads to a genuine opportunity for long-term relationships and a younger membership. You know your communities and their residents; listen to their needs. Remember word of mouth is always crucial to building business. When you are able to help members and their families through a major life change, you’re building a valued relationship that will be shared with those around them.
By focusing on these pillars, you can build a strong student loan program with a positive reputation. Learn more about how you can offer private student loan options to your membership!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dive in to Mobile at Your Credit Union


If your credit union is still dabbling or just tipping its metaphorical toes into the world of mobile, it’s time to dive in. With just a quick look at my Twitter newsfeed this morning I came across several articles and stats focused on the importance of mobile – mobile banking, mobile advertising and mobile data. Here’s a brief look:
  • Mobile Banking
    Digital security leader Gemalto released study results showing that (no surprise) young people love mobile banking. 77% of the young adults surveyed (ages 25-34) use online banking services with 42% using them five times or a month or more. And 27% never visit their branch in person anymore.
  • Mobile Advertising
    The number of smartphone and tablet users keeps increasing – and so does mobile advertising dollars. Net U.S. mobile advertising is expected to increase to $28.48 billion this year, according to eMarketer. Also, mobile search ads will be $12.85 billion by the end of the year, which is over 50% of the search market. Interestingly, Android users are more likely than iOS users to click on mobile app ads, according to a Kenshoo study.
  • Mobile Data
    A revealing way to gauge mobile usage is by reviewing data traffic. A Cisco Systems study found that mobile data traffic grew by 70% in 2014. Cisco projects that smart devise will increase their share of mobile connections by nearly 127% between 2014 and 2019.

Wondering what these statistics mean for your credit union? 

  • That your members don’t just want access to mobile banking – they require it.
  • That if you’re not using your mobile app or site to cross-sell your credit union’s products and services, you’re missing a vital and growing opportunity.
  • That mobile usage is only going up and now is the time to jump in with both feet before it’s too late!

CU Solutions Group can help your credit union with its mobile needs. Whether it’s a mobile app, mobile site or a comprehensive mobile banking app that offers cross-selling opportunities, we have what you need. Contact us today.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Take a Closer Look at Your Credit Union's Job Descriptions

by Joyce Marsh, SPHR, Sr. HR Consultant

Job descriptions. They’re something every credit union human resource person and manager know are important, but keeping them current and pertinent can sometimes slip through the cracks.

Having the most accurate job descriptions for your employees not only ensures everyone is on the same page on duties and responsibilities, but they can help protect your credit union from facing disability discrimination claims.

Six Steps to Assist

If your credit union has at least 15 employees, you need to ensure that your job descriptions correctly identify what all the essential job functions are of each position – and list any specific tools or resources needed. Here are six steps to  help ensure that all of your current and potential employees have the most comprehensive job descriptions:
  1. Collect Information and Analyze
    Why not start at the source? Interview your employees and managers about the various positions. Use questionnaires. You might even want to take some time to casually observe your employees in their positions to confirm that your descriptions are correct.
  2. Use Visual Aids
    If an employee needs specific resources or equipment for their job, include a photo of what they are. Or, depending on the position, you could videotape the individual performing their job.
  3. Identify Hazards
    Include any hazardous exposure disclosures that safety laws require.
  4. Describe the Environment
    Is the position indoors or outdoors? Is there easy access from one floor to the next (stairs and/or elevator)?
  5. Mental and Physical
    Be sure the job description includes employer expectations outlining mental and physical requirements, education and training plus any attendance or schedule requirements.
  6. Making Distinctions
    As with anything, there’s a difference between what’s required and what would be “nice to have.” There’s no place in a job description for the latter. Only include what an employee needs to get the job done.

Writing Those Descriptions

When it comes to sitting down and actually writing the job descriptions, you’ll want to: use simple and concise language with active verbs; try not to include any industry jargon that outsiders may not comprehend; use a consistent format throughout all your job descriptions; and have supervisors and employees verify the information. Combine these and the six steps above and you’ll have comprehensive job descriptions to keep everyone on the same page at your credit union and the Americans with Disabilities Act satisfied.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spreading the Word about Your Mobile Banking App - Part 2

By Amy Neale

This is the second half of a two-part blog.

The best approach to take when promoting your credit union’s mobilebanking app? A holistic one. It needs to fire on all channels of member engagement for the greatest impact:

  • Website It’s not enough to just mention you offer mobile banking, create a whole page on your website stating that you have it, how to get it and how to use it.
  • Social mediaWhatever social media platforms your credit union uses, post a reminder about once a week that you have mobile banking with links to the app stores. Most people check their Facebook status, etc. on their smartphones, so it’s a natural place to tell them about your app.
  • Email and direct mailDon’t just email your members about your mobile banking, use a descriptive postcard to get the word out.
  • In-branch – From lobby posters and frontline staff to your branch ATMs, these are all valuable channels to let members know about your app and how easy it is to use.
  • Video What better way to walk your members through how to get and use your mobile app than a straightforward video tutorial?

The key to successfully promoting a mobile banking app is to take a comprehensive approach and not stop once it’s launched. 

If you need assistance at any step of the way, CU Solutions Group can help the credit union develop its own mobile banking app as well as a marketing plan to spread the word.