Key Insights Credit Unions Need to Know about the Nation’s Underbanked

By: Bryan Clagett, CMO at Geezeo, and Adele Glenn, Emerging Channels Innovation Architect at San Antonio Federal Credit Union (SACU).

According to experts, one in four American households is considered unbanked or underbanked. That’s approximately 50 million individuals.* Credit unions are uniquely positioned to tackle the toughest issues facing these individuals and make a positive impact on their quality of life.

Two experts who have dedicated their careers to researching and creating tools to serve these segments: Bryan Clagett, CMO at Geezeo, and Adele Glenn, Emerging Channels Innovation Architect at San Antonio Federal Credit Union (SACU), shared some key insights with us.

What are the demographic and psychographic characteristics of the financially underserved?

Adele:

The behavioral data shows that whether these members are unbanked, underbanked, or financially struggling, they exist across all age groups and all demographic groups.
We refer to the unbanked as living in a “prepaid economy” because they are reliant on using prepaid cards with no traditional account structure. Psychographic data shows that those who are financially struggling have difficulty managing their finances from day to day. The inability to build a financial cushion leads to not having access to affordable credit; which ultimately inhibits them from building up the long-term savings necessary to achieving their aspirational goals.

Bryan: There are places in the United States where roughly 20% of residences have no bank accounts. Some examples of the regions are: Miami, Florida; Detroit, Michigan; the Bronx in New York, and several counties in Texas. It seems that urban areas and areas in the mid-south are the geographic regions with the highest percentage of unbanked.

Why are so many people in the United States outside of traditional banking channels in 2017?

Bryan: There are several reasons, but if we were to boil it down I’d start with:

  • Many immigrants, millennials, and others do not trust financial institutions, including credit unions.
  • Credit unions need to be more proactive when it comes to educating their members on financial literacy and actually show members the opportunities/options credit unions have available.
  • The typical underbanked consumer is working long hours with long commutes and often lives paycheck to paycheck.
  • They do not have the time or money to wait for checks to clear nor are they able to visit the brick-and-mortar branches.
  • The hard reality is that payday lenders exist because some financial institutions do not offer affordable products to consumers with limited resources.

For a more in-depth conversation, listen to the first podcast in this series with Bryan and Adele: “Key Issues Credit Unions Need to Know about the Nation’s Underbanked – Part 1 (Podcast)”

Geezeo A-Z LogoGeezeo is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Personal Financial Management (PFM). More educational resources and contact information are available at www.nafcu.org/Geezeo.

Image source: FDIC July 2014 The Financial Brand

The Internet of People

By: Bryan Clagett, CMO, Geezeo.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is defined as the proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.

It’s rapidly evolving and I’m a huge fan of my Wink, Nest, and Honeywell products, which give me control over my lights, security cams and thermostat at my vacation home.

How IoT will impact financial services is yet to be fully understood, but I’m confident great things lay ahead. Connectivity is a wonderful thing.

While we are waiting for IoT to shake out, why not consider an Internet of People (IoP) strategy?

I’m not just talking about a social media or digital strategy, but rather a substantive approach to this simple question; how do we leverage the internet to connect with members and our communities? I know this question is rather broad, but it’s one that I don’t think enough of you ask nor answer.

The concept of IoP started emerging in 2015, as wearables started hitting the market. Ironically, little is written about IoP because it has been a concept driven by the electronics industry as a means to connect people to devices and technology.

The real opportunity of IoP, is its ability to connect people with other people, and of course with brands.

I firmly believe that the heart and soul of the Internet is made of people reaching out to each other, connecting and communicating for a myriad of reasons. Our industry gets so wrapped up in talking about channel convenience and accessibility. We forget that individuals and organizations need to experience the Internet as a two-way communications platform. It cannot just be about product delivery or only serve as a broadcast medium serving up stale, homogenized content.

iopConnectivity to your audience improves transparency and helps you build trust.

Most importantly, it gives you and your brand an opportunity to emerge as a center of influence. If your goal is to be the “financial partner of choice” or “lifetime financial partner” of your members, you better have an approach that leverages an IoP strategy.

Every aspect of the web, particularly as mobile continues to flourish, represents an opportunity for you to connect and connect the dots. Relationship building, community building, and influence building should be competencies of your brand and none can be effective without an IoP strategy.

So many of you tell me your credit union is about “people helping people.” Well, increasingly people are on the web and it has emerged as the channel of choice. So I ask– what’s your IoP strategy?


Geezeo
 is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Personal Financial Management (PFM).

 

Embrace Your Inner Millennial

By: Hayley Haspeslagh, Product Marketing Manager, Geezeo

Some of you may have cringed at this title—after all, who wants to be associated with the Millennials? We know the stereotype of the generation born somewhere in the 80s and 90s who think they’re entitled to a specific way of life and want to change the world (Feel The Bern!), but let’s take a step back for a second and discuss what we know about Millennials and their relationship with financial institutions.

1. Millennials know little about credit unions.

I won’t lie, I’m a Millennial and had very little knowledge of what being a credit union member meant until I began working for Geezeo. Imagine the confusion of the rest of my peers when they hear they shouldn’t be banking with the Top 10. You won’t get our attention with an ad, but 30% of Millennials indicate they’d switch their banking relationship for one free year of banking, 21% for an enhanced digital experience, and 12% for free coffee (yes, please).

2. Millennials love technology.

We can’t live without it. We have most likely had our phones in our hand since our parents bought us our first around age 13. Your digital experience is key to obtain Millennial members and build lasting connections. In fact, 62% of Millennials link frustration with their bank with tech failure or the inability to carry out an online transaction.

3. Millennials are just like everyone else.

Millennials have expectations… and so do you! Banking can be a chore. When the mobile app is down, who wants to go to the branch? When you need cash, finding the right ATM can be a hassle. All members want a convenient experience using dependable technology to reduce friction. Aside from that? We want an advocate to help us save for each of our goals, pay down our debts and make of financial journey through life as smooth, and easy, as possible.

Millennials are not the only generation, nor do we want to be. A financial institution should build long-term connections with its members through its traditional and digital banking experience.
For a more comprehensive discussion, join Bryan Clagett, Geezeo’s CMO, at the NAFCU Annual Conference and Solutions Expo on Thursday, June 16 at 12:15pm for the session “Perhaps There’s a Millennial in All of Us.”

Geezeo is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Personal Financial Management (PFM).

5 Ways to Make SEO Count Today

By: Katharine Shindoll, Digital Marketing Coordinator, Geezeo

What is SEO and SEM?
If you are anything like I was five years ago, these ever-essential acronyms wouldn’t mean much, yet they are imperative in today’s digital market. In short, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are the most effective ways to educate internet algorithms on what your website contains.

When you search for a keyword or phrase on Google or Bing, each deploys their programming (crawlers and pinpoint algorithms) to search through massive databases. Depending on how rich your content is and how well it stacks up to similar content, ranking algorithms decide where to place your website among the search engine results. Having strategic site-wide SEO could be the difference between appearing on the first page of search engine results instead of the third.

Think search doesn’t matter?

Brightedge, an industry leader in search analytics, estimates that 51% of all web visits are generated by search engines and some companies claim 70% or more of their traffic comes from organic (non-paid) search.

Being found online is not as simple as posting content. Being found through search engines is equal parts art and science.

Got your attention?

Listen to our webinar for a “how to” session focused on the importance of search engines to your credit union’s marketing plans and how to speak the SEO language.

Here are five ways you can improve your search profile right now:

1. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly or responsive yet, you are ignoring half of the internet population and are at a massive disadvantage when it comes to SEO. In April 2015, Google launched an update that removed unresponsive sites from their search algorithms, which means if your site isn’t mobile friendly, chances are it’s not being shown on search results.

2. Optimize Your Images

Search engine algorithms recognize a wide array of digital assets, including images and graphics. Depending on what kind of content your page is displaying, optimizing your images can significantly increase your search profile. By adding a description, alt text and tags for each image on the page, your target keyword(s) will register as increasingly prominent and greatly increase the page’s SEO ranking.

3. Connect to Social Media

Social media isn’t going anywhere and if you want your company to stand out, a strong social media presence is a must. By adding social media outlets, customers are able to connect with your business and share articles or pages that add value or entertainment. However, don’t just share images and status updates. To truly impact the strength of your online presence, your social media shares should link back to likable and shareable content hosted on your primary website.

4. Include Both Inner and Outer Links

Including links to social media is imperative from both a customer service standpoint and an SEO standpoint but including links in general can help search rankings. By default, search engine algorithms are programmed to favor content with: social media links, links to other articles and links to other pages on your own website. Including just one additional link to relevant content on your web page creates richer, SEO-friendly content.

5. Utilize Schema

Schema, or structured data, is one of those terms that people hear and pass over because the explanation is a bit long-winded. In short, schema is additional data about a website or webpage that makes a search engine’s job easier. Schema not only allows content to be screened faster, but it allows search engines to pull relevant data to enhance search results.

Final Thoughts

These five ways to implement SEO are certainly not the only ways to improve your search rankings, but they are a great start. For an in-depth look at how search rankings are determined and how to improve your rankings, listen to the full webinar here.


Geezeo
 is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Personal Financial Management (PFM)

Adding LIFE To Your Credit Union

By Bryan Clagett, Chief Marketing Officer, Geezeo

Your members’ expectations evolve as they become more acclimated to technology, more financially stressed, and overburdened with life’s pace and demands. In case you have not noticed, the world is changing. Newly emerging competition is developing new bank-like products, and the definition of banking is evolving right before our eyes.

It’s time we step back and reevaluate how credit unions can provide more value.

Declaring you’re the financial partner for life is just not compelling, unless you have strong actions to back it up. Too often we forget that credit unions are enablers, and in fact have the ability to enable members to get the things they want and do the things they want to do.

With all the advances in technology, some things have not changed—like the basic needs of a household to address fundamental financial requirements, milestones, challenges and obligations. Life and money are inextricably linked whether we like it or not (or are willing to admit).

Importance of an Emotional Connection

The key for the credit union is to remain remarkably relevant throughout the “member” journey and to be there with logical products and services when members (or their households) could use them the most. Credit unions are missing very logical point-of-purchase opportunities, while not associating their products with the specific needs of a member at a specific, relevant time.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that people have an emotional connection to money and, perhaps more importantly, things and events. Emotion is a primary differentiator between transactions and a true relational connection, which (in my opinion) is the foundation of an engagement banking strategy.

How can you help a family prepare for a child’s education? How can you help a young couple get their first home? Can we help a couple plan a wedding? What’s the best way for me to get a car for my son? How do we help a family with a medical emergency? Can a bank resolve a small business’s cash crunch? In all of these examples, there are financial considerations and ramifications—and all present opportunities to credit unions.

Engagement Opportunities for Credit Unions

We need to put some LIFE into banking. LIFE is my acronym for “life infused financial experiences.” Milestones, like the examples above, represent obvious opportunities for credit unions to engage members and offer very relevant solutions while building deeper relationships and new levels of trust.

Life_weddingapp_geezeoWe have the data, the systems, the channels, and the people; we simply need to make sure we have the right solutions and services in place that will build systems and triggers that bring credit unions and their solutions to the forefront at the ideal time of need.

Now let’s try to put some ROI or business rationale around this. Bain and Company reports that members who are “emotionally connected” purchase 47% more than those who are simply “satisfied.” Members with a strong, committed relationship are 49% more likely to remain a member and twice as likely to recommend a retailer to friends and family. Bain also found companies that are loyalty leaders, grow revenue twice as fast as their competition and at a lower cost.

We should not fear disruption in the banking industry. However, we should recognize that life is disruptive, so we should find ways to reduce members’ financial pains. Credit unions have the chance to reduce friction while forming deeper emotional connections with members through recognizing and cultivating life infused financial experiences. This is a real opportunity for financial institutions and one that most industry disruptors don’t have the infrastructure or understanding to leverage.

Geezeo-A-Z-LogoGeezeo is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Personal Financial Management (PFM). For more More educational resources and contact information are available at www.nafcu.org/geezeo