news.cuna.org/articles/107247-new-opportunity-for-growth-with-online-member-acquisitions

New Opportunity for Growth with Online Member Acquisitions

More consumers are searching for mortgage information online.

August 18, 2015

The game of acquiring new members interested in mortgage products has changed significantly.

The methods current and prospective members use to educate themselves on financial services have shifted almost completely online.

According to the Google Finance research team, when it comes to financial products, 88% of consumers begin their search online.

Online is where you must reach your members, not only on your website but where they are searching for answers.

We are living in a quickly changing marketing environment where being successful means not only getting ahead of your competitors but being innovative and proactive, too.

The good news is that by using the increased sophistication of online financial rate comparison tables, credit unions are more capable than ever to reach their markets with targeted offers.

Members are increasingly using online channels to research their financial choices before reaching out to you by phone or in-branch.

Consumers have access to volumes of comparison data on these financial rate comparison tables. They use their computers or mobile phones to quickly assess how your institution’s offers measure up to their other loan options.

It is a battle for consumers’ eyes that is fought on rate tables and mobile apps, leaving little room for lengthy, in-branch discussions.

The hard truth is that to be successful in your mortgage origination efforts, you must have your offers listed where consumers search and shop.

 

Informa

Product rate comparisons on these online tables usually work favorably for credit unions. With a tendency to be able to offer lower lending rates, credit unions compare well with their competition.

“We want to be where consumers are, thus our decision to have a presence on online rate tables,” says Edwin Gonzalez, marketing director at $3.6 billion asset Kinecta Federal Credit Union in Manhattan Beach, Calif. “Our offering is pretty competitive and stacks up pretty well against other lenders, which made us feel confident in our decision.”

Direct comparisons aren’t without challenges. This sort of transparency requires that you carefully monitor your competition so your offers are just as appealing to the shopper as the rest of the competition.

“Consumers can easily see that’s the case,” Gonzalez says. “That’s why it’s important to be competitive and choose to feature your most competitive products.”

Another challenge is the perception that it can be difficult to become a credit union member. Using rate tables can help solve this dilemma.

Just making your products available for comparison with a convenient call to action goes a long way toward changing that perception.

Most online rate tables offer multiple contact methods (e.g., click, call, online forms), allowing the consumer to use whichever method they prefer.

Another advantage is the ability to target offerings that appear on these rate tables. Credit unions using online rate tables often find greater targeting capabilities than traditional advertising.

“Online rate tables allow for better tracking of leads generated and costs,” Gonzalez says about Kinecta Federal’s online advertising program. “They also allow for better targeting. For example, if we wanted to spend our funds only on Federal Housing Administration [FHA] clicks, we could target only consumers searching for FHA financing. Online rate tables provide that capability.”

Reaching consumers who are searching for your financial products online is an established trend, especially in the area of mortgage lending.

Consumers are accessing these tools daily, and the financial institutions using these systems to promote their products are benefiting in a major way.

Credit unions need to explore how this method of acquiring new members can work in their market, promote their products, and benefit their members.

DARIA AKIMENKO is a digital account executive for the Media Partnerships division at Informa Research Services Inc., a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.