Originally posted on CUInsight.com
Three simple questions:
- Do you want your website to actively drive revenue growth, or to simply be an easy place for Members to read about your solutions, check balances, pay bills and find branches?
- Does your website engage members and generate revenue by using cutting edge web strategies like Amazon.com and Overstock.com do?
- If not, why not?
The first generation of business websites were what we like to euphemistically (and somewhat derisively) call ‘brochureware’ – companies spent a fortune on very talented graphic designers to put up web versions of their static brochures. Even though they sometimes built in animation or videos, the level of interactivity available to a visitor was pretty much the same as the level found when watching TV.
With interaction at best minimal, you still had to call or visit in person to actually buy something. Part of this represented technology limitations in the browser platform, but some of it was a lack of vision and established business models to point the way.
It’s nearly football season, which gives me license to use whatever football metaphor I choose – at this stage of the pre-season they aren’t stale yet!
A football metaphor is also appropriate because of what you are likely to see when you’re watching a game on TV – commercials, and lots of them. Among them you’ve probably noticed ads from State Farm – but how many of you noticed a very important change in their positioning, one that has tremendous implications for credit unions?
If you look closely, the ads stress three things – Insurance, Mutual Funds and ‘State Farm Bank.’ We certainly count on State Farm to be selling insurance. But full-fledged banking solutions (mortgages, car loans, home equity loans) are not something most consumers expect from an insurance provider.
Remember when H&R Block made a strategic move into banking a few years ago to capture a larger share of client refund dollars? Now they offer checking and savings accounts, IRAs, CDs, lines of credits, and even their own debit and credit cards.
Just as this move from H&R Block threatened credit unions by providing competition, so too does this change in positioning from State Farm. Just like paying taxes, buying insurance is another thing that your members do each year. In fact, you bring insurance agents in town direct business by making insurance a prerequisite for receiving a car or home loan (and they thank you for it, believe me!). The entry of a firm like State Farm into the business brings scale and national brand equity to the table, which means that you’re now facing a well-funded and formidable competitor in the banking landscape that wants a larger share of your member dollars.
I like to say that one of a visionary leader’s most important functions is seeing over the horizon and recognizing opportunities and threats before anyone else does, and then shaping the strategy and tactics of the organization accordingly.
So for our year-end blog post I asked our Preferred Partners to tell us what they see coming over the horizon, from their perspective, that credit union executives need to be focused on and/or prepared for as we head into 2012. Here is what a few of them said — Read more
Category: Growth & Retention
, Management & Operations
, NAFCU Services
Tags: Allied Solutions
, Deluxe Financial Services
, Genworth Financial
, Pentegra Retirement Services
, Securian Financial Group
Innovation can be hard to define, but you can think of it as “the successful application of new ideas.” ‘Application’ is the key word there – new ideas are the easy part – figuring out which are the good ones, and then applying them successfully, is more difficult.
So innovation is more than just an academic exercise or a tally of patents. The application of a new idea in the real world leads to new products, services, processes, systems, or attitudes that improve something or add value. With all of the changes that are occurring in financial services generally, and in the credit union business model specifically, being (and staying) innovative is more important than ever.
Every year at the NAFCU Annual Conference we recognize the very best innovations among our Preferred Partners that help credit unions thrive in an increasingly crowded financial services marketplace with the 2011 NAFCU Services Preferred Partner Innovation Awards. No surprise this year, two of the three winners focus on opportunities for credit unions to generate revenue, while the third represents a quantum leap in productivity, leading to significantly lower costs. Read more
Guest post by Jeff Chesky, President & CEO, Insuritas
Strategies for selling insurance to credit union members are undergoing a radical transformation. Regulatory reforms are limiting or eliminating traditional sources of fee income, and that’s placing additional pressure on income sources like insurance sales to fill the gap and help with recapitalization efforts. Some credit unions are taking a hard look at insurance as a critical fee-income generator, reengineering their processes for selling insurance to members. Credit union executives won’t be able to avoid comprehensive insurance product sales much longer.
Today, a credit union’s insurance programs are often treated as a redheaded stepchild to its core businesses of deposit gathering, loan-making and investment advisory services. A credit union may have an AD&D mail campaign, GAP insurance, even term life. Some credit unions think the best strategy for generating more income from insurance is to squeeze better margins out of their current partners. Although adding a little to the bottom line, that strategy is short sighted. The nation’s leading credit unions are drastically expanding the insurance products they offer to members — creating a one-stop shopping experience for all of their members’ insurance needs.
With current sources of fee income increasingly constrained, pressure on net interest margins proving relentless and competitive incursions into your membership a daily challenge, it’s no longer a matter of if your credit union will provide a comprehensive insurance agency solution for your members but when. Read more