Be Careful When Wooing Angry Bank Customers

Bank Transfer Day offers extraordinary chance for growth.

November 3, 2011

A new white paper encourages credit unions to seek out frustrated bank customers—but offers certain warnings about doing so.

“This extraordinary chance at growth cannot be squandered,” say co-authors TJ Riha, CEO of debit consulting firm PayFusion, and Andrea Stritzke, vice president of regulatory compliance at PolicyWorks, referring to the opportunity created by consumer movements such as Bank Transfer Day and Occupy Wall Street. “That said, leadership at the nation’s credit unions must proceed with caution when courting these angry bank customers.”

In “Use Caution When Wooing Angry Bank Customers,” Riha and Stritzke offer several warnings, including:

  • Regulatory concerns with use of the word “free” in advertising;
  • The need for a thorough competitive analysis of financial products; and
  • Possible repercussions of courting risky customers.

Hostility against that nation’s large banks and financial-service mammoths has bubbled under the surface for a long while and it is near erupting. Today’s consumers are ready to hear from the credit unions in their neighborhoods, Riha and Stritzke say.

Credit unions that craft a strategy to bring new members into the fold, how they’ll win them over, and how to earn their trust and loyalty over time have the best chance at success.

The paper offers four steps credit unions should implement before marketing to frustrated bank customers:

  1. Complete a competitive analysis of products and services likely to be of highest value to members in the target market.
  2. Identify qualification standards to better understand exactly the type of member the credit union hopes to attract.
  3. Define messages for attracting new members and outline a multimedia communications strategy.
  4. Train personnel accordingly to be prepared for an influx of volume and to help new members make the switch.

“It may be tempting to strike while the iron is hot. But doing the homework and preparing for today’s new kind of customer will be worth the effort,” the white paper states. “After all, there’s usually only one chance to make the right first impression.”