Succeeding in Today’s Convenience Economy

By: Jenn Burkmier, CUNA Mutual Group.

The Convenience Economy

Consumer demand for convenience is driving unprecedented advances in technology. Innovation is everywhere, from new devices to start-up ventures. And, most of it aims at helping people manage the technology that keeps them always-on and on-the-go.

In this climate of convenience, businesses that simplify the customer experience are succeeding. For example, the explosion of cable TV providers and channels has made watching television overly complicated. Solutions like Netflix simplify the experience, allowing viewers to watch what they want when they want. It stands as an example of adapting in today’s convenience economy.

Meeting this ever-growing demand for simplicity is especially important for credit unions. As one industry executive said, “Our real competition is convenience.”

How to Succeed

Meeting your members’ demand for convenience is changing the entire dynamic of the credit union/member relationship. Face-to-face engagement is on the decline. Members increasingly prefer conducting business when and where it suits them, not around the credit union’s office hours or locations. Staff needs to be equipped to make the most of every interaction, in-person or online to effectively serve members and achieve your strategic goals.

As more transactions move to digital channels, successful credit unions will empower members to manage their finances as easily as possible. Three keys to success will be:

Three keys to success will be:

  • Delivering a streamlined, efficient end-to-end lending process to support credit union growth.
  • Using digital tools to engage employees and arm them to better meet evolving member expectations.
  • Understanding that data is a roadmap to tendencies and behaviors that focus on how you optimize member interaction.

Remember, convenience goes both ways. As easy as you make it for members to join and do business with you, they can just as easily leave.  Click here to watch our recent webinar to learn how your members are driving innovation and changing your world.

CMG logoCUNA Mutual Group is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for TruStage® Auto & Home and Life Insurance Products and Mortgage Payment Protection.
More information and educational materials are available at 

Understanding the Real Risk Associated with Uninsured Loan Collateral

By: Allied Solutions

Identifying, measuring, monitoring, and predicting risk in auto loan portfolios can be a serious challenge for financial institutions. Approaching this challenge while building borrower rapport can be a difficult balancing act. Therefore, having a risk-management program in place with a strong focus on avoiding financial losses, decreasing loan defaults, and improving the consumer experience is vital.

For lenders, it’s important to remember that no two borrowers are alike – and neither are their insurance or loan histories. A risk-management strategy should serve lenders and borrowers by accommodating a range of consumer lifestyles and preferences. Sophisticated analytical tools may help with this process by making it easier to forecast borrower insurance coverage and determine the likelihood that they will maintain outside insurance – ultimately providing you peace of mind and allowing you to channel your efforts accordingly!

An auto loan agreement isn’t just a shared understanding of loan requirements – it should establish a commitment between a lender and a borrower. Like with any successful relationship, effective communication is imperative. By implementing a risk-management strategy, like a Collateral Protection Insurance (CPI) program, you’re able to personalize interactions with your borrowers and position yourself as an invested stakeholder, willing to help protect both your interests and the interests of your borrower.

Risk Management Consultant at Allied Solutions, Cindy Bryant, suggests taking a conversational approach when communicating loan requirements to your borrowers in a way that terminology can be easily digested and understood. “Taking this approach may encourage your borrowers to maintain adequate insurance, thus preventing the need to add a CPI premium to the loan in the future.”

In her nearly 30 years of experience with CPI, Bryant has noticed a common theme for borrowers who become delinquent on their loans. “If a borrower’s vehicle incurs damages or is considered no longer drivable due to the damage, the borrower may lose motivation to continue paying for the vehicle and ignore payment notices.” Encouraging borrowers to maintain insurance that would cover the costs to repair damages would arguably reduce the likelihood of delinquency and promote a positive loan performance.

Using new technologies to help simplify this process is important to enhancing your member’s experience. Video marketing, for example, is a powerful way to provide personalized communication with your member and improve collaboration when it comes to verifying insurance. Bryant also recommends sending customized key messages to your borrowers early while insurance coverage is still top of mind.

There are many factors to consider when developing your risk-management strategies, and it is essential for your approach to keep your interests and the interests of your borrowers protected in order to improve borrower engagement and build long-lasting relationships.

To hear more about ‘Understanding the Real Risk Associated with Uninsured Loan Collateral’ listen to our two-part series podcast by Risk Management Consultant, Cindy Bryant.

‘Understanding the Real Risk Associated with Uninsured Loan Collateral. Part 1’

‘Understanding the Real Risk Associated with Uninsured Loan Collateral. Part 2’

Allied Solutions is the NAFCU Preferred Partner for Insurance—Bond, Creditor Placed (CPI), Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP), and Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP); and rateGenius. Learn more at

Cyber Risk: What Your Employees Need to Know

By: Ann Davidson, VP of Risk Consulting, Allied Solutions 

Today, credit unions are doing a better job across the board enhancing their cyber risk management strategies to include more advanced risk controls.

However, one of the key risk controls that continue to be overlooked is employee education.  With the increase of the potential exposure to cybercriminal attacks, credit unions NEED to make employee risk education a top priority, so staff members at all levels of the organization can help your credit union detect and prevent future fraud risk exposures.

Regular risk training should be provided to employees in order to instill data security culture within the credit union. Employee risk education training should touch on:

  • Common cyber threats and security risks and the related vulnerabilities and threats to credit union operations, so employees understand the gravity of these potential breaches
  • Common warning signs for different types of fraud attempts so they know what to look out for and report
  • Workplace policies employees should follow to help prevent cybercrime, such as:
    • Internet & social media usage: Internet browsing should be limited ad social media usage should not be permitted while at work
    • Software usage: Employees should not install unlicensed software on any work device
    • Personal device usage: Employees should not use their personal computer, tablet, or mobile device while on your credit union’s network
    • Work device usage: Employees should not leave workplace devices unattended without securely locking them and should ensure virus protection software is kept current
    • Password usage: Employees should be required to use strong passwords that are unrelated to their personal information, and different for every secure account
    • Email usage: Employees should never respond to emails or open email links that look suspicious or are from unknown sources
  • The nature of data security and reminders that each employee is individually responsible for helping protect the credit union’s data
  • Legal and regulatory obligations to respect and protect the privacy of secure accountholder and credit union information
  • Procedure for incident reporting in the event a device being used on the credit union’s network becomes infected by a virus or is operating with unexplained errors, including the importance of common warning messages and alerts and who to report incidents to

Cybercrime is not going to go away anytime in the near future. That’s why it is critical that your credit union remain one step ahead of the cybercriminals by educating your employees about the part they need to play in protecting your credit union from these potential exposures.

Take a deeper look at cyber risk and send this informative webinar to your employees:  The Scary Truth About Cyber Risk and Fraud. This session will help your employees learn what they need to know to combat the growing risk of internal and external cyber risk that may impact your credit union and its members. The solutions presented in our webinar will help your financial institution get ahead of the curve and manage fraud risk in a strategic and proactive way.

Register here for Ann’s upcoming webinar on August 3 where she breaks down what the bad guys have been up to the first half of 2017, so you can see beyond the curtain and prepare for the latter half of the year. Fraud in 2017: What’s Hiding Behind the Curtain

Allied Solutions is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Insurance- Bond, Creditor Placed (CPI), Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP), and Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP). More educational resource

Gamification Strategy Best Practices to Engage Credit Union Employees

By Patrick McElhenie, Director of Product Management & Lender Development Program Support for CUNA Mutual Group.

Gamification is an innovative workplace strategy designed to engage employees through game-like scenarios in real-life settings. The strategy behind gamification is the usage of game mechanics (or the elements that make up games) like points, levels, rewards, and leaderboards, in an office setting.

How can credit unions use gamification?

Many credit unions already use gamification in their interactions with members. Strategies like loyalty programs, affiliate rewards, and coupons all use elements of gamification. So the question we’re really after is this: how to translate this gamification into a way to engage credit union employees?

One way is leaderboards. New gamification technologies allow for near real-time feedback on employee performance. This feedback is reported as a leaderboard – a way for employees to see where they stack up against their coworkers. As employees are working, they can see how they’re progressing, whether they’re trying to reach a certain sales goal or trying to attain another metric. Multiple leaderboards provide the opportunity to measure different benchmarks.

What are gamification best practices?

If you want to see if gamification is right for your credit union, you could start by first speeding up your feedback, especially positive feedback. Keep score of how your employees are doing, and do it publicly so they can see their progress. A leaderboard is one way you could accomplish this. A gamification partner can help you provide near real-time feedback to your employees.

In addition, allowing optional competitions between your employees can encourage friendly competition to hit their goals. Help your employees focus by giving them specific goals and objectives, and then give them a way to see their progress towards their goals and objectives.

Finally, take the time to celebrate successes. Make sure to recognize your top performers publicly and communicate “wins” to your team when they’ve done a good job. Don’t forget – if you’re implementing gamification correctly, it should provide near real-time feedback, keep your employees focused, and most importantly, it should be fun for your team.

For more information about gamification, including additional best practices and key research findings, listen to Real Time Engagement Drives Credit Unions’ Success, the second installment in a two-part series about gamification.

If you missed the first part of our two-part series, listen to How Much Are Disengaged Employees Costing Your Credit Union? during which we explained the elements of gamification in more depth and discussed common pitfalls in implementing gamification.

CMG logoCUNA Mutual Group is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for TruStage® Auto & Home and Life Insurance Products and Mortgage Payment Protection. More information and educational materials are available at



Your Credit Union’s Strategic Plan Success: 5 Best Practices 

By Peter Myers, MSC, PCC, Senior Vice President, DDJ Myers

DDJ Myers speaks to hundreds of credit unions every year. This helped inform us that with the ever-changing industry dynamics facing boards and executive teams, credit unions require a reinvigorated approach to formulating and executing their strategic plans. Board members and management are asking for the same progress in the dialogue during the strategic planning session. 

We have carefully listened to the challenges that face credit union leadership and boards and constructed five best practices to implement right away for a more successful strategic planning process. 

  1. Educate your board ahead of time 
  2. Understand the competitive landscape and the market holistically
  3. Outline your membership demographics and define your target membership
  4. Map out your credit union’s cultural variables by examining your executive team’s decision-making process and your staff’s strengths 
  5. Define your credit union’s capacity for change and risk tolerance 

It is critical to the health of your credit union to have more robust discussions that focus on the bigger picture, are less tactical, and more inclusionary with your board. These dialogues should also conclude with clearly defining measures of success. To produce meaningful change in the strategic planning process it is necessary to integrate a structured roadmap. This is a common missing element in the efforts of most credit unions.

For more information about the missing elements and best practices in strategic planning, specifically for credit unions, listen to Peter’s podcast series with Paul Timm, VP of Marketing for NAFCU Services. 

The Missing Elements in Strategic Planning – Part 1 

The Missing Elements in Strategic Planning – Part 2 

DDJ is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Leadership Training, Executive Search and Recruitment Services. More educational content and information is available at