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 info@cusolutionsgroup.com

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 studentchoice.org. Let CU Solutions Group help your credit union develop a student loan program that can make a difference and grow your member base!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

4 Helpful Products for Credit Union Brand Awareness


According to recent research from InsightExpress a majority of marketing professionals’ worldwide plan to increase their spending on brand awareness in the next 12 months. Your credit union should be preparing to do the same.
So why the sudden bump in spend on brand awareness? Think of some of your favorite brands or even some well-known brands. These brands that are world renowned and easily recognized have spent millions and millions of dollars to make sure that when you think of a running shoe or fast food you are thinking of them first and not their competitor.
But it’s likely that your spending ability does not include millions of dollars to focus on your branding efforts, and that’s okay! These four useful products can make it easy for your credit union to start a branding campaign if you don’t have one or boost your current efforts to the next level.
  • Gas Station TV – CU Solutions Group is innovative with approach to technology and we are always looking for new ways to get your messaging to your members and your potential members. Gas Station TV (GSTV) is just one of the new ways companies are reaching their audience. GSTV lets you advertise at pumps near your branches, giving you the more bang for your advertising buck. Not to mention an easy way to get your brand’s message out to the people.

  • Social Media – Social media is here today and it takes much more than just having a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Being active on social media is important and so is your messaging. Our social media experts can review your current efforts or even help develop a social media strategy you can easily follow. Our team can create and develop a branding strategy that can reach more of members than you ever thought possible.
  • Direct Mail – Getting the word out to your potential new members and staying connected to current members is easy with direct mail. While a lot can be accomplished with online marketing, direct mail can still have an impactful effect on your members when it comes to branding.
  • Email Marketing – Creating email communications that are impactful while conveying your brands image is simple and effective. CU Solutions Group has the tools to not only get your message across to your members but help your messaging stand out from the crowd.

Brand awareness is so important for you but also to your members. It gives your credit union personality and the ability to be a leader among the other credit unions. Creating cohesive messaging from your marketing materials to your website helps to develop your brand’s voice and help establish the effectiveness to your members.   

Not sure where to start? Let CU Solutions Group help your credit union develop an effective brand voice with these tools or contact us for more information. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Invest in America is Now Love My Credit Union Rewards



www.lovemycreditunion.org

We thrilled to announce that it’s official – Invest in America is now Love My Credit Union Rewards.

For credit unions, this rebrand brings two big changes. First, and brand new to the program, we’ve developed bundles to make it easier for credit unions to participate in the holistic program. We also have developed cohesive marketing requirements to simplify promotion implementation and management. Second, we streamlined marketing requirements across the individual programs.

So, what are bundles? We have grouped like-discounts into bundles – which facilitates enrollment and offers multi-partner marketing materials.

Bundles

Click on the bundle links to learn more or to enroll: 
  • All – This includes all Love My Credit Union Rewards partners and is the best option for both credit unions and members. It encompasses all of our exclusive partner discounts and our 1,500+ merchant cashback shopping experience, so members save on large purchases, as well as on the things they buy every day. Your credit union will receive all the benefits of the program – adding member value and member retention, increased usage of core products and generating non-interest income.
  • Auto – All auto-related discounts that help boost auto loans.
  • Home – Home-related discounts that can help drive mortgages and refinances.
  • Invest in America – Discounts on U.S.-based companies.
Many of the updated marketing materials are already available in our Partner Center; including GM, Sprint, Allied, ADT, Credit Union Auto Club and Love to Shop (formerly Shop America). And more are rolling out soon, including DIRECTV and our bundled materials.
 
We are very excited to launch our program with changes that benefit everyone. Saving your members money and accessing great tactics for loan growth, member retention and non-interest income just got easier!

For more information on any of these new, exciting changes, visit the Love My Credit Union Rewards Partner Center, reach out to your business consultant or email ClientSupport@cusolutionsgroup.com