UniWyo FCU Lures Student Members With Online Tools
When UniWyo Federal Credit Union learned that its members, many of whom are college students, liked to manage their money online using sites like Mint.com, the credit union took matters into its own hands.
Already a user of NetTeller, the Internet banking system from Symitar, a Jack Henry & Associates company focused on credit union core processing, the $215 million, Laramie, Wyo.-based CU became a CU adoptee of the vendor’s new personal online financial management solution.
Symitar’s OFM product is fully integrated with NetTeller, so members access the OFM tool without leaving their credit union’s online banking site. Member account information automatically filters into the OFM, and members can choose to import additional information from accounts they hold at other financial institutions, including checking, savings, credit card, mortgage, retirement and investment accounts.
“There was a member need for a budgeting and tracking system, and we learned some of the larger credit unions were using OFM, so we wanted to get ahead of that,” said Bill Froehlich, vice president of information technology for UniWyo FCU. “The account aggregation was huge for us. It automatically takes the accounts the member has, and you can also import your other accounts and the system will update automatically. So you have a central platform where you can access your complete financial picture.”
The software allows members to create a budget, categorizes spending, shows members how to work toward financial goals and sends out email alerts to keep members on top of their purchases.
“It’s internal within the credit union’s system, so for the member, it’s a connection to their financial institution and they feel confident when they use it,” said Karen Stigler, account executive for Symitar. “It helps the credit union tie that relationship closer.”
At the conclusion of UniWyo’s four-month OFM implementation process in June 2011, many of the CU’s staff members learned how to use the product themselves and relayed their enthusiasm about it to members. The CU also invited its online banking users to a luncheon where they were given initial access to OFM; the event drew between 60 and 70 attendees.
“Our frontline employees had to try it so they could know how exciting it was,” Froehlich said. “Then when people came in to open accounts, the staff was comfortable talking about it.”
UniWyo’s additional marketing of the product comprised advertising within its online banking system and on its website, an email blast and in-branch flyers and signage. As a result, 1,175 of the CU’s 5,500 online banking members have signed up for OFM–an adoption rate of around 21% in less than three months.
“We were very happy with the adoption rate,” Froehlich said. “We were hoping for an adoption rate of 10% within three to four months.”
Another benefit of Symitar’s OFM product is its targeted marketing functionality. The system is designed to analyze information about members’ assets, accounts, transactions, budgets, savings goals and spending activity and distributes marketing messages tailored to members’ specific needs. For example, if a member imports a loan from another financial institution, that member might receive a marketing message explaining the benefits of a loan product offered by the CU.
With a large portion of its membership attending college at the University of Wyoming, UniWyo FCU kept the needs of Gen Y in mind during its OFM implementation. Froehlich said OFM is of great value to Gen Y members being that many of them are learning how to manage their money for the first time.
“Gen Y is one of our demographics that can benefit the most from OFM,” he said. “The product helps them get a grasp on what’s happening with their money, and that can help put them a step ahead of previous generations.”
The OFM service is also free to members, which is appealing to younger folks who are accustomed to receiving free services such as smartphone apps, Froehlich added.
“It’s a huge benefit for Gen Y. They want things now and their way,” he said.
Symitar’s OFM use will soon spread to credit union members outside of UniWyo. Of the company’s 700 or so credit union clients, several more are currently in the process of implementing the product, Symitar Marketing Manager John San Filippo said.
“The product works for the member because it’s easier to use than a site like Mint.com,” San Filippo added. “And the benefit for the credit union is that it’s specifically built into our online banking system, so it’s one cohesive piece.”