Online financial calculators: Not just another website widget

As Kevin O’Donnell described in a recent guest blog post on attracting and retaining ‘next generation’ members, the importance of having a dynamic website is key to satisfying the needs and wants of younger generation members and prospects. I would argue that this is true for all members, no matter their age.

Consumers age 10 to age 74 are all becoming more tech savvy. My grandma is on Facebook. My mother always has the latest updates on Droid apps. And my 10-year-old neighbor should hold the world record for texting speed. Even pets are getting in on the rise of technology – did you know there’s an iPad app to entertain your cat while you’re at work?!

It’s easy to see why – when you want to know how much home you can afford, do you immediately call your credit union and ask for a person in mortgages? No, you look online! (There’s a reason “Google” is now also a verb in Webster’s Dictionary). The Internet is the easiest way to find the quick answer you want. Your members do the same thing, whether they’re wondering how much to save for college, how long their retirement savings will last, or how long until they pay off that looming credit card bill. So, if your credit union doesn’t have the tools to answer these questions ONLINE, then you’re missing out on member leads.

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What do the Spanish Grandees and English Printers of the 1600s Have to Do With Credit Unions?

Dealing with disruptive change is an ongoing strategic challenge for credit union executives. What, for example, does the prospect of NFC transactions by cell phone and the potential entry of companies like Verizon and AT&T as gatekeepers in financial services mean to your business five years from now? Or ATM technology that allows a member to talk directly to a member service rep via videoconference to a branch-centric organization? Or peer-to-peer and micro-lending networks to your core business?

In the short run, a dominant paradigm for commerce can be defended against technological innovation. But in the long run, winners are those that embrace innovation and adapt their business models and their organizations. If it helps you feel any better, this is not the first time executives have struggled with these issues:

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How credit unions can attract and retain next generation members

Guest post by Kevin O’Donnell, Vice President, Discover Network

How well do you know your members? According to a recent Millward Brown study, the average age of a credit union’s members is about 46 years old. Fifty-one percent are women, and more than half earn between $25,000 and $75,000 per year. Nearly 60 percent are married, and about a third have children living at home.

But here’s something to chew on: Just 8 percent of credit union members are between 18 and 24 years old, the coveted Millennial demographic.

You could say that small statistic doesn’t matter much. After all, as the Millennials age, they’ll likely join credit unions in numbers to match their parents and grandparents — or not.

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Zen and the Art of Operational Excellence

The classic 1970s novel ‘Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ spends a couple of hundred pages exploring the question of how you define quality, among many other things, including motorcycle maintenance.  I don’t remember anything at all it said about spark plugs, but the discussion of what the term ‘quality’ means really stuck with me.

In a meeting last week someone made the observation that they thought their organization was ‘world-class’ when it came to operational excellence.  I’m not sure that I would agree, having experienced first-hand their service as a client. That reminded me of the book — how do you define operational excellence in the context of a credit union, without just falling back on the ambiguity of ‘I know it when I see it’?

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Five Questions to Ask About Your Credit Union’s Website

Does your credit union analyze its website traffic? Digging into your website analytics can give you a feel for the scope of your website as a communication vehicle, help you understand characteristics about your members and prospects, and uncover new marketing opportunities for your credit union. Designed for the busy executive, here are five questions to help jumpstart a conversation with your web and/or marketing team.

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