Be a Fast Follower

Consider competitors’ plans when developing your service delivery strategies.

November 22, 2010

OnPoint Community Credit Union, Portland, Ore., bases its payment strategy on being a “fast follower” of trends with staying power, says CEO Rob Stuart.

The $2.8 billion asset credit union began offering mobile banking in 2009 because it quickly became an essential product in the West Coast market where JPMorgan Chase’s purchase of Washington Mutual in late 2008 intensified competition.

The credit union currently is exploring other mobile banking enhancements, including “tap and go” and deposit capabilities; online banking, including bill payment and presentment; and prepaid and reloadable cards.

“Everything is on the table at this point,” says Stuart, adding it’s important to consider members’ preferences and competitors’ strategies when developing delivery strategies.

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineOnPoint Community also is committed to its branch strategy. It plans to add six to eight branches a year for the foreseeable future to its 19-branch network. The new branches will vary in size and appearance, based on location and the needs of local members.

Stuart expects many branches built in the near future to have smaller footprints than older facilities.

The strategy, he says, emphasizes both access to services and sticky relationships, which led the credit union to launch its own credit card portfolio in 2008. The credit union had issued more than 40,000 cards by the beginning of fourth-quarter 2010.

“We see the credit card and debit relationship growing and becoming more important over time,” Stuart says. “As human behavior changes, access becomes more important. And both a debit and a credit relationship offer access.”

You can’t rent a car, reserve a hotel room, or buy an app for an iPhone without having a debit or credit card, he notes.

It’s quite possible, Stuart adds, that younger members will consider credit unions’ access points as important as their products.

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