Consumers face financial peril at every turn, and credit unions’ status as “good guys” in the financial services industry is their best selling point, according to Chris Stengle, vice president of business development at Canvas Credit Union in Lone Tree, Colo.
That became especially apparent during the pandemic, says Stengle, who addressed the 2022 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference Thursday in Los Angeles.
He cites some of top financial landmines consumers face:
“Credit unions are on the different end, trying to do the right thing,” Stengle says.
“They’re targeting young men new to gambling,” he says.
“Banks regularly check credit reports, and if you’re late on your payments they can raise your credit card rate to 29.9%,” Stengle says.
These practices increase financial stress, which often leads to substance and food abuse, and higher anxiety.
Canvas’ response to this: Sharing with select employee groups (SEGs) that credit unions are the good guys, Stengle says.
“If they know we have their backs, you’re more likely to get through to your SEGs,” he says. “It builds credibility.”
This is the business development approach Canvas took during the pandemic. It educates SEGs’ human resource staffs about how financial stress leads to higher absences and lower job satisfaction, productivity, and operating income.
“When we educate their employee base, we raise their bottom line,” Stengle says. “When we do presentations, we want people to sign up as members and move their business to us. But our motives are pure. It’s good for them and the credit union."
When the pandemic began, Canvas called members to offer assistance, prepared for possible job losses among its membership, and created new products to ease members’ financial burden. "We let our SEGs know these are tools available to them,” he says.
“Credit unions haven’t been this important since the Great Depression."