The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will create long-term changes in business development, particularly a greater focus on financial education, digital engagement with select employee groups (SEGs), and community impact.
“Business development and community engagement aren’t just joined at the hip. They’re the same,” says Amber Fielder, vice president of marketing at $1.2 billion asset USE Credit Union in San Diego. “We can’t have them be separate functions. They truly will be one.”
She and two other credit union leaders participated in a Business Development Exchange at the 2021 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Virtual Conference.
“Business development has evolved into what we call ‘community impact,’” says Michael Mattone, vice president of community impact for $1.3 billion asset Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union in Kingston, N.Y. “We grow business by doing good for our members and the community.”
Engaging with SEGs and other groups will continue to involve digital methods, says Kristin Llewelyn, affinity partnership manager for $27 billion asset BECU in Tukwila, Wash.
“We’ll see hybrid events,” she says. “We miss the in-person events, but we’ll continue to use digital. It lets us reach a larger audience, be more targeted, and have a bigger impact.”
When the pandemic began, the panelists expanded their financial education resources. USE Credit Union implemented “Wellness Wednesday” webinars featuring topics such as rebuilding after a crisis, preparing for the financial future, and investments.
The credit union also empowered frontline staff to give members up to $250 apiece for any pressing need. Many members used the funds for medical bills and even groceries—which the credit union offered to deliver to spare members embarrassment or inconvenience.
“We say, ‘Send us your grocery list and we will send the groceries to you,’” Fielder says. “We’ll continue to empower employees to help outside of what we normally do.
“We call ourselves the dream makers because we make members’ dreams come true.”
Author, podcaster, and speaker Antonio Neves moderated the session.
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