With Fees in Focus, Share the CU Difference

CUs practice ‘real-time marketing’ as Bank Transfer Day approaches.

November 2, 2011

As Bank Transfer Day approaches, credit unions throughout the country are participating in “real-time marketing,” Jeff Rendel, president, Rising Above Enterprises, told a breakout session at CUNA’s Community Credit Union & Growth Conference last week in San Francisco.

By reacting to daily news in the business world—such as the national discussion on big bank fees and banks' recent reversal of some fees--credit unions can tell members and the community how they are different, Rendel says.

Conference attendees discussed marketing ideas and growth opportunities centering on the Bank Transfer Day movement to switch accounts from big banks to credit unions or community institutions, such as:

* Issuing pledges to uphold the credit union people-helping-people philosophy and to provide fairly priced products.

* Training front-line leaders on ways to maximize the potential for strong member relationships during any new-account opening process.

* Using prominent website locations to communicate free checking products.

* Educating member-ambassadors about the credit union difference via credit union websites.

* Sending “status quo” messages to tell members that “this is how we have always conducted business here.”

* Measuring your Customer Effort Score, a predictor of how easy you are to do business with. The easier you are to do business with the more business you’ll conduct with members. Consider services such as switch kits, online banking platforms, and branches.

* Working within legislative and regulatory frameworks so credit unions have tools to absorb deposit growth.

* Setting up member referral programs with incentives.

Your current members may be your greatest resource to tell your story, Rendel points out. “I believe credit unions are the last of the locally-owned institutions in the U.S. How many of your members live in your own backyard?” Remind them how long you’ve been there, he says, and that you want to take the steps to ensure your relationship with them is the best it can be.