Consistency is Crucial in Member Interactions

It’s not members’ responsibility to know what your CU offers.

February 14, 2012

To reach potential borrowers, you must recognize a simple fact: It’s not your members’ responsibility to know what your credit union offers, says Greg Baker, vice president, sales and marketing, at $415 million asset University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union in Lexington.

“It’s your responsibility to educate them, whether they need the product now or in the future,” Baker says.

The credit union’s lending success is rooted in its strategy and decision making around gaining market share, building member awareness, and implementing branding consistency through its lending channels.

Consistency is crucial, Baker says, if you want to reach members via their preferred channel to share information about your credit union’s products and services.

One of University of Kentucky Federal’s goals was to convince members the institution is a trusted partner they can rely on in tough times to give them great deals on loans, as well as consistent service and financial advice.

The result has been steady member growth, increasing 8.1% in 2009 to 38,717 members; 12.3% in 2010 to 43,486 members; and 9.8% as of November 2011 to 47,032 members.

Excellence in lending

University of Kentucky Federal's keys to success:

  • Redefined its lending strategies, focusing on members’ need for a trusted partner and improving awareness of all its products;
  • Focused lending awareness on indirect lending and home equity products;
  • Rebranded itself as the value leader with flexible terms, low rates, and expert service;
  • Automated its loan decisioning. Nearly half (46%) of its loans are system-approved and don’t go to underwriters; and
  • Developed an “e-branch” for electronic media users only. This branch typically opens 75 to 100 new accounts and 80 to 90 new loans each month

A comprehensive program of mailings, billboards, Facebook and print advertising, and e-mails promoted loans and positioned the credit union as members’ trusted financial institution.

A committee of college students between the ages of 18 and 28 helps the credit union connect with young members. The student committee helped the credit union launch a student-loan program in 2010.

University of Kentucky Federal also reached out to indirect lending partners with efforts including a golf outing to inform participating dealers about rates and terms. And creating an indirect mortgage group strengthened ties with local real estate brokers to offer home equity loans for real estate purchases.

A stronger indirect lending platform helped handle the increase from $29 million in indirect loan originations in 2009 to more than $51 million in 2010. Automated decision engines for indirect and online applications streamlined loan reviews.

Nearly half (46%) of the loans were approved through the automated channel in 2011.

University of Kentucky Federal received an Excellence in Lending Award from the CUNA Lending Council and CUNA Mutual Group for its efforts.