Consumers have been conditioned to have a “what’s next?” mentality when it comes to new product launches and technology improvements. They’re often not even aware they needed the latest gizmo, but it quickly moves to something they can’t live without. Credit unions must leverage technology to meet the needs of its members and capitalize on the opportunities to increase loan volume, attract younger members and differentiate from the competition. Personal finance management is one solution that continues to grow in popularity and has become a product that consumers now can’t live without.
PFM solutions offer members the ability to aggregate their transactions and balances, create budgets and manage their debt. There are many free PFM programs available to members, such as Mint, which has a cross-selling platform that advertises for your competitors. According to Mint’s website, “The fees that banks pay us for introducing new customers allow us to keep the service free for our users.” Instead of having your members use these free resources that can potentially dissolve your member relationships, you should actively consider offering your own PFM solution that will make your credit union the financial hub for your members.
The PFM’s that I’ve researched offer integration with online banking platforms and specialized data analytics tools. By hosting your own PFM solution, you’ll be able to analyze the competitors that your members use, cross-sell your products based on member demographics and increase your wallet share. Imagine having your members log into their accounts, and while they’re reviewing their credit card history for a card that’s not with your credit union, they get a targeted message informing them that your credit union can save them a few hundred dollars annually in interest by switching to your credit card. Instead of having a free-service, such as Mint, offer advertising for the competition, your credit union can be in charge of the marketing they receive for your products and services.
According to Bancography, a member who has one product with a credit union will stay with that credit union for 1.5 years, while a member with three or more products will stay for seven years. The more products a member uses, the greater the stickiness created with that financial institution. A PFM solution will increase product penetration to lower member attrition rates by offering valuable amenities to help members take control of their finances. A Filene study published earlier this year also attests to the fact that PFM users are not only staying longer, with deeper relationships, but they're bringing their friends along too. As consumers turn to credit unions for assistance with their finances, the budget and debt management tools help your membership move forward, plan, save and grow their money. Instead of providing a member with spreadsheets to manually track their expenses, the budgets are based on the member’s actual spending history, income, debts, and expenses.
What is your credit union doing in 2012 to be different than the competition? What new products are you offering to your members to satisfy the “what’s next?” mentality? The combination of a PFM solution and your credit union expertise will give members the technology to be in control, and the service to guide them every step of the way.
Dominic Sloma is chief information officer at Best Advantage Credit Union, Brillion, Wis.
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The Cooperative Trust is a grassroots organization composed of several hundred young credit union professionals. Its activities include meetings, mentorships online collaboration and development projects. Opinions expressed are the personal views of the author.