Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How Credit Unions Should Market to the 20-somethings

Commonly referred to as Millennials, the 20-somethings of today really cannot be grouped into one simple category. Why? A quick look at this generation you will find some still living at home because they are perusing a master’s degree. Others are making payments on their first home while some are traveling Europe. So how can you market to a group that is so diverse in their lifestyles? To understand how you need to market to this group you need to understand their lifestyle. 

First, here are a few key points to know about the Millennial generation:
  • The Millennial group is Americans born between 1977 and 1995.
  • Currently age 19 to 37
  • Population is around 79.8 million
  • Most ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history
  • Getting married and having their first child later than any previous generation
  • Buying their first home later than previous generations
  • Greatest number of college graduates ever – twice as many degrees earned in 2009 as in 1970
  • Came of age with the internet, mobile devices and social media

Credit unions need to change how they market to this demographic because this group is so different than any other generation before them. It takes a lot to woo this demographic, so it’s important to know what Millennials are looking for in a credit union. A recent study by an industry trade group Independent Community Bankers of America uncovered exactly what Millennials want in their credit union. Here are some key points:
  • Millennials want local – 54% of Millennials prefer to work with a locally, owned, locally-operated community financial institute.
  • Millennials want mobile – 74% of Millennials surveyed said mobile banking was very important to them.
  • Millennials want a relations – 64% of Millennials believe that developing a relationship with their financial instate was important. They value high-tech and high touch with communication.
  • Millennials want to learn more – 70% of Millennials wished they had more knowledge and skill when it comes to financial matters.
Meeting Millennials’ Needs
How can credit unions meet the demand of Millennials? The first thing your credit union needs to do is understand how Millennials absorb information. This generation is highly visual as learners and communicators. Use graphics, pictures or short, fast-paced videos to engage them.

The second thing your credit union needs to do is to turn toward a digital format. Millennials like to see information visually. When creating communications, think in terms of pictures or graphs instead of a wall of text.

The last thing you credit union needs to be doing to reach Millennials is to treat them like a VIP. The study found that Millennials feel that financial institutes treat them like a number. Fortunately for the credit union industry the “people helping people” philosophy has put credit unions in a great position to treat Millennials like individuals, not numbers. Here are some ways to make a new Millennial feel important in your credit union’s branch:
  • Introduce them to three employees so they are familiar with the team that runs your credit union.
  • Ask them how they want to be contacted. They may prefer a text message or a traditional email or voicemail.
  • Invite them to exclusive events that they might otherwise not be able to attend – festivals, sporting events, fashion shows, and non-profit fundraisers.

Looking for ways to better reach the Millennial generation? CU Solutions Groups has what you need to reach this growing group. We can help you connect to the Millennial group better than you ever have before with technologies like: youth sites, social media campaigns, cutting edge graphic design, mobile sites and smartphone apps, and even video creation

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

5 Marketing Trends for Credit Unions in 2015

We are heading to the end of 2014 which can have many of you already looking forward to 2015. This can be the year your credit union can really capitalize on the new marketing trends that have emerged. Here are the top five marketing trends for 2015.
  1. Social Media: As the social media landscape changes, so should your credit union’s social media efforts. Facebook is slowly losing its Millennial demographic, however, recently it has seen a boost with the Baby Boomer generation. Instagram has seen high numbers in the Millennial category, but has yet to see an increase with Baby Boomers. Twitter still ranks as one of the most widely used social media platforms from all age groups. It’s important for your credit union to diversify your social media efforts to build your brand and make it easier for members to recognize and connect to you. Instagram and Pinterest can seem like unlikely social media outlets for your credit union to use, but it is consistently growing in users. Having an active profile on each can boost your credit union’s member base.
  2. Content: Content still remains king through 2015. With each Google algorithm update you can expect Google to favor content over most anything else. Having regularlyupdated content on your site establishes authority and helps your credit union gain member trust. The best ways for credit unions to use content is with its website, newsletters, videos and articles and or blog posts.
  3. Mobile: Mobile is quickly becoming an important tool for credit unions. If your credit union does not have a well-developed mobile app on every operating system, now is the time to focus your efforts. According to Forbes, 87% of connected devices are engaging in some form of banking. Mobile banking for your credit union needs to give the user a positive experience. Your mobile design should be in a format that is commonly referred to as responsive design. This means that your site provides an optimal viewing experience-easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling-across a wide range of devices.
  4. YouTube and other video platforms: If content is known as the king, videos can be considered the queen. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners. YouTube and other video platforms have made it easy for companies to create and share content with their members.
  5. Micro-targeting – when it comes to spending on marketing; you want to get the most bang for your buck. Many credit unions are turning to micro-targeting to increase their member base. Micro-targeting gives credit unions the ability to use consumer data and demographic reports to identify individuals or small groups of the like-minded individuals. By micro-targeting your audience you can increase your member base quickly without the large spend that comes in other forms of marketing. One simple product can be used for micro-targeting is Gas Station TV.
CU Solutions Group has the tools to help you make your marketing the best in the business. If your goal is to improve your website or launch a social media campaign, we have what you need to reach your members.  With our helpful website compliance review, content management system and website design and development products we can help you stand out for all the right reasons. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy International Credit Union Day

Tomorrow is International Credit Union Day. The celebration of credit unions has been on the third Thursday of October since 1948. The day is to reflect upon the history of the credit union movement and to promote the achievements the industry has made as a whole.

The credit union movement started in the beginning of the 19th century in England. It wasn’t until a few decades later in Germany when credit unions finally found their place. Organized by Herman Schulze-Delitzsch and Friedrich Raiffeisen they created credit unions that included a democratic governance, member-elected board of directors and the ability for each member to have one vote no matter the size of the member’s deposits. These ideals are still important to credit unions day.

By the start of the 20th century, the credit union concept crossed the Atlantic where it thrived in Quebec thanks in part to Alphonse Desjardins. A decade later after introducing Quebec to the credit union concept, Desjardins brought the credit union concept to Manchester, New Hampshire. The first credit union to open in the United State was St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association in 1909.   

By 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law, giving credit unions the ability to have national systems to charter and supervise the man federal credit unions across the nation. Through the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s the credit union movement grew steadily. By the 1970s credit unions had grown exceptionally with assets doubling in just one decade.

Through the 1980s and 1990s U.S. credit unions continued to expand as a group. However, the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) experienced financial stress as high interest rates and unemployment brought supervisory changes.

With the financial troubles around the housing market in 2008 and 2009 the NCUA worked with Congress and the U.S. Department of Treasury to help safeguard the U.S. credit union system.

Today, credit unions around the world are helping people save money in ways banks just can’t. While our industry is one that is consistently evolving and changing we are niche in the industry that will be helping people for years to come.

While the credit union industry keeps evolving so does the marketing that needs to be done. CU Solutions Group has the tools to help you make your marketing plan and help grow your credit union. With our helpful website compliance review, content management system and website design and development products just to name a few, our products can take your credit union to the next level. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How Credit Unions Can Market for International Credit Union Day

International Credit Union Day is October 16th and it’s not too late for your credit union to do something to celebrate. What is International Credit Union Day? It’s a time to celebrate the history and achievements of credit unions while promoting the cause of credit unions internationally. It is the perfect day to build relationships with members and discuss your credit union’s products and services. Here are some ideas for your credit union to help celebrate International Credit Union Day.
  • Celebrate the day or even the week – Start planning what you want to do that day for your members. Create flyers letting your members know that International Credit Union Day is coming and that they are invited to help celebrate the day. You can choose to celebrate the entry week or just for the day. Either way it is a perfect way to connect to your members.
  • Create hype online – Take to social media and to let your members know what you’re doing to celebrate. If you choose to celebrate all week long you can promote the daily events through each of your credit union’s social media platforms. Encourage members to share posts with their friends to help boost attendance at your credit union’s events. Use the hashtag: #ICUDay to make sure your posts are being seen by those participating in International Credit Union Day. To view last year’s activities check out 2013 ICU Day.
  • Guest day and fun promos for current members – “Guest days” lets your members bring in guests for refreshments and learn more about your credit union and the products you offer. This is sure to boost your member count and to show your current members how important they are to your credit union. Consider having prizes and drawings for your current members to enter for each guest they bring in.
  • Focus on the credit union difference – Many people don’t know the difference between a credit union and a bank. International Credit Union Day is the perfect time to create banners and flyers letting people know what the differences actually are.
  • Take a community approach – Create an event and coordinate a local beautification program in the city your credit union is in. This is a great opportunity to let people know the commitment your credit union has to the community. You can share your past plans and your future plans to help with the community.
  • Educate in new ways – Offer a series of lectures on basic finance during lunch hours or even in the early evening hours. This is the perfect occasion to showcase the different products you offer and encourage current members to refer friends. Another way to reach potential members is to set up a booth at a local shopping mall or community center. At these places you can offer personal finance information and highlight on what the credit union difference is all about. 
Are you considering a special event at your credit union to celebrate International Credit Union Day? CU Solutions Group can help you make this year’s International Credit Union Day the best one yet! CU Solutions Group has the tools your credit union needs to create the best possible event for your members. With our social media skills, print productions and website design and development products, we can make your International Credit Union Day celebration one the entire community will be talking about for years! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

8 Things Your Credit Union Needs to Have on its Website

Website design can be a tricky business. Having a well thought out website is essential for a good user experience. If your credit union is considering a website rebuild, here are the top things you should have on your website.
  • Security – With weekly news reports of a data breach with another large retailer, security with personal information is at the forefront of every member’s mind. It’s important to let your credit union’s members know that your site is secure and that when they login they can be assured that their personal information will be safe.
  • Good visual design – After establishing the security for your credit union’s website, the next big thing to look at is its design. Designing a visually pleasing website that is clean and simple in will ensure that your members come back time and time again. If the website lacks in visual design or elements of the site are hard to find, members will not use it.
  • Search bar – Every great website has an easy-to-find search bar that allows the member to search the site quickly for exactly what they are looking for. For most users, the search bar is a faster way to find what they need.
  • Social media links – If your credit union has social media profiles, make sure those links are on your website. Social media users tend to “like” or “follow” the organizations they frequent on social media – giving them easy access to information they post.
  • Easy to find contact information – Most of the members coming to your site will be looking to check their balances or find a way to contact your credit union directly. Contact information that includes phone numbers, addresses and email addresses should be in a location that members can get to in one to two clicks. 
  • Education – Financial information can get very technical, especially when it comes to the terminology. An education resource center that provides information about the products and services your credit union offers can help you and your members in many ways.
  • Links – Your credit union website should include links throughout the site to other pages that are relevant to the content on the page. Not only should your site have links to other pages on your site but it should also include links to outside sources that are creditable and help your members have a better understanding for what they are looking for. 
  • News section – Providing your members with the most up-to-date financial information will let your members know that you are in tune with the latest news.  The most important thing to remember is to update the section often with the correct financial news that will help your members.
If you are considering a website rebuild, let CU Solutions help. CU Solutions has the tools to help you make the best possible credit union website for your members. With our helpful website compliance review, content management system and website design and development products, we can take your credit union website for ordinary to extraordinary! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

How One Device Can Help Grow Your Credit Union’s Auto Loan Volume

As a credit union, you know that auto loan volume can be a bit like a rollercoaster with plenty of ups and downs. Right now, according to Experian, auto loans are on an upswing at $371 billion, which is a 64% increase since 2009. Hand-in-hand with this increase is a boost in subprime auto loans which have a more sizable growth of 93% since 2009. Subprime loans now account for 20% to 30% of all auto loans since 2000.

The good news is that auto loan volume is up – which is always welcome news. Unfortunately, there’s a flipside to these figures, delinquencies. Naturally, when auto loan volume rises, so do delinquencies. According to Standard & Poor’s, over 3% of loans are at least 60 days in arrears. That’s a 1% increase from 2011. While credit unions may not play a large part in the subprime financing, there are still many good opportunities in near or non-prime loans.

This leaves credit unions with a challenge – how do you manage this auto loan volume increase, especially non- and subprime loans, without increasing your loan risk or collections efforts? A GPS-based device from Spireon called LoanPlus CMS holds the answer.

How it Works 

With LoanPlus CMS, your credit union will be able to have a small electronic device called a Remote Collateral Management Unit installed on each vehicle. To recover a vehicle, the system not only lets a credit union locate a vehicle but an additional option allows you to remotely disable the vehicle as well.  However, LoanPlus CMS is not just a repossession tool, it allows credit unions to help more members.   By providing more loans in this area, credit unions can truly help members with damaged credit histories to restore their credit rating and securing better interest rates in the future.

How it Helps

LoanPlus CMS is a turnkey collateral management solution that combines global positioning system (GPS), Mobile Resource Management (MRM) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology to help your credit union:

  • Improve Payment Behavior and Decrease Delinquencies – A good strong closing and the installation of the GPS unit will provide members an extra incentive to make their payments on a timely basis. If that’s not enough, the credit union can have a reminder buzzer sound every time the car is started and the payment is past due. And, yes, with the GPS units you can also easily locate a vehicle if it comes to repossession. This is a great advantage for the credit union but it also provides tools and incentives for the member to improve their payment behavior and credit rating. 
  • Attract and Retain More Members – We know you have members that have been with your credit union for years because when they needed an auto loan, your credit union was the only place that would help. LoanPlus CMS is a great platform to build on that history. Maybe it allows you to buy a little deeper and serve more new or existing members. Maybe it’s a key component of a “First Time Car Buyer Program” for members with little or no credit history. Or maybe it allows you to finance a few more loans from your local dealers and expand your relationships there.
  • Significant Member Savings – Credit unions are more likely to offer rates far better than other providers, saving thousands on interest and avoiding other costly fees associated with subprime lenders. Plus, if the vehicle is stolen, the credit union will be able to work with the police to locate and recover it.
  •  Maximize Your Resources – You can integrate LoanPlus CMS with your current portfolio management system and use its customizable reporting to improve efficiencies and productivity. 

Positive Results

The National Alliance of Buy Here, Pay Here Dealers (NABD) conducted a survey of collateral management system (CMS) users in 2011 and found that collection departments saved $300 to $750 per repossession when using a CMS. Dealers who used a CMS were also able to reduce delinquency rates by 10%. Using a CMS also prompted borrowers to interact more often with the lender with inbound calls growing from 400-500 per day to 500-700 per day. The CMS users also revealed that having the ability to change their borrower’s behavior was the greatest benefit of using the product. 

To learn more or sign up for a free webinar click here, call 800.262.6285 or email

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How Credit Unions Can Help Students with Mounting Costs

For the average student attending a four-year public university, they can expect to spend around $33,000 a year, this is according to new research from the College Board. What exactly makes up this number and how can today’s students afford it?  Here is the break-down of college expenses and a solution for handling the cost of a higher education.

Average Education Costs

Tuition – for students attending school at a public college average around $8,893, for private colleges $30,094, and for out-of-state residents attending a public university tuition costs can be expected at $22,203.

Housing and means – Room and board depends on a lot of different things. Will the college student choose a food plan, live in apartment, live in a dorm or commute. The average cost of room and board range from $9,500 at a four-year public school to $10,830 at a private school. Of course the student who chooses to live at home saves for this college expense.

Books and supplies – The College Board reports that the average cost for books and supplies for students in the 2014 school year should be about $1,207 at a public college and $1,253 at a private college.

The Student Loan Solution
While there are several forms of loan programs for college students to utilize, many are hard to apply for or have restrictions on the loan that many students just cannot qualify for. Credit Union Student Choice is a private student lending program that gives your credit union the ability to reach those college students who cannot qualify for traditional student loans. Founded in 2008 by the nation’s leading credit unions, Credit Union Student Choice makes it easy for credit unions to provide students with lending solutions they need.

The best part for credit unions is you control the program. You get to oversee:
  •  Rates and fee
  •  Index
  • Margins
  • Credit tiers

While you get control over all of that….Credit Union Student Choice manages all of your key operational challenges including:
  • Origination
  • School-certification
  • Call center support
  • Loan servicing
  • Guidance on establishing a proper loan policy

Building Members for Life

Credit Union Student Choice gives the ability for undergraduate and graduate students to apply once, which saves not only the college student time but your credit union as well! And the loan accounts are flexible thanks to the program’s innovative line-of-credit structure and standard closed-ended loans. Your costs are minimal to offer these flexible loans. Offering college students these types of necessary loans enables your credit union to build a relationship with its members which can turn into lifelong relations with these young adults.

For more information on Credit Union Student Choice, please visit our products page or visit Credit Union Student Choice’s website at Let CU Solutions Group help your credit union develop a student loan program that can make a difference and grow your member base!