I Think I Can, I Think...: Little CUSO Aims at Big Boys With Loan-Lead Generator
Langley is the president of $51 million Eastern New York FCU and of Syphr LLC, a CUSO whose latest product is RateMatch, a lead-generation tool that matches consumers seeking loans with participating credit unions after the consumers buy a credit report from one of two major services-www.creditreport.com and www.freecreditreport.com.
So far, eight credit unions in seven states, including his own institution in Ferndale, N.Y., are using Langley's brainchild.
It works like this: Through agreements with those two credit report providers, RateMatch gets a cyber-look at about 165,000 consumer-purchased reports a month and compares them with loans available from participating credit unions. If there's no credit union available, RateMatch does nothing. If there is, it sends that consumer's information to the relevant credit unions for follow up.
How well does it work? Langley said that so far in his market area, his analytics show that 35% of the time his credit union can create $50 a month in savings on that potential loan, and that that generates a 98% opt-in rate when presented to the consumer.
Right now, contact is made by phone call or e-mail, but Langley said work is under way to add live chat. He said the RateMatch service also is used by his credit union to generate loan offers for walk-in consumers.
The benefits of his service include the ability to get to motivated consumers first, early in the buy cycle when they are doing research online for rates. That, of course, is where much of that activity takes place nowadays, and it's where the big players, who can afford to buy high-dollar placement in search engines, have a distinct advantage over credit unions, Langley said.
"Words that associate themselves with financial products are the most expensive, and it's incredibly cost prohibitive for someone small like us," Langley said. "But these two services we're using are second and fourth in terms of total credit report sales, and they're now our universe, if you will."
The charge-per-lead-acquisition system Syphr uses for RateMatch costs about 10% of the acquisition cost for a new member using traditional marketing and advertising means, which by one estimate is about $475, Langley said.
It also allows credit unions like his to "collectively compete with the Lending Trees and Bankrates of the world."
"We're not lead brokers. We don't sell leads to whoever will buy them, and share personal information. We don't bait people with low rates they're not realistically going to get," Langley said. "We know and they know that they aren't going to get those zero-percent loans."
"We translate their info into something that's real and present it to them in terms of the savings they can realize by joining their credit union," he said.
"In my humble view, the current lead-generation model is fundamentally broken. Obviously, these companies were built to support the CitiFinancials of the world and the like. But now, with the flight to safety at credit unions, this is a real opportunity for us to get involved."
RateMatch is just the latest in a series of products Langley and his staff have produced at their two-year-old CUSO. Working with Fiserv's Galaxy unit, Syphr (www.massxvelocity.com) also developed the CreditMine, CreditMart, iSwitchKit and Member Relationship Plus solutions.
A demonstration of RateMatch is available at www.syphronline.com. Langley also invites queries from interested credit unions.
"We're throwing our analytics up against literally thousands of credit files at a time, and now we need a home for all these leads," he said.
"It's a good problem to have."