On My Mind

Editor’s Notebook

Some take-aways from the CUNA Councils’ technology and operations conferences.

December 13, 2012

I recently returnedfrom the combined conferences of the CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council in Las Vegas.

This is becoming one of the stronger credit union conferences of the year—large crowds of attendees, a full exhibit hall with plenty of traffic, and a strong agenda from top to bottom. And if Vegas is any type of economic indicator, the recession is fading fast.

If you couldn’t attend, all is not lost. I sifted through a stack of notes, business cards, and exhibitor handouts, and pulled out these take-aways:

► Mobile banking: “It’s important to enroll your members and control your payment options in your mobile banking app, because the one who enrolls is the one who controls,” says Richard Crone, founder/CEO of Crone Consulting. “The state of mobile banking right now is essentially a race for enrollment,” Crone says. “Your credit union really needs a mobile app because it isn’t enrolling members if it has a mobile-optimized website.”

► Onboarding: “The first 90 days is crucial for making or breaking a new-member relationship,” says Kevin Roland, delivery channels director for FedChoice Federal Credit Union, Lanham, Md. Roland describes a 2-2-2-6-1 onboarding strategy where credit union employees make contact with new members at two days, two weeks, two months, six months, and one year.

► Tech gap: “The gap between your members’ technology behavior and your credit union’s technology behavior is getting wider and becoming more apparent,” says Brett King, founder and chairman of Movenbank, and author of the book “Bank 2.0.” King says the fact that the average age of credit union members isn’t coming down is indicative of this widening technology gap. Younger members define convenience in terms of the quality of smartphone apps, not branches.

► Social media: “If Facebook was a country, it would be the world’s third largest,” says George Balchev, online marketing manager at Alliant Credit Union in Chicago. “And 93% of marketers use social media for business purposes. These are convincing indications of just how large social media has become.”

Before embarking on a social media strategy, Balchev advises you get buy-in from your board and senior management team, establish clear ownership of the channel within your credit union, and involve various credit union departments: human resources, marketing, legal, compliance, and information technology.