As far as Chris Blough is concerned, even a modest amount of noninterest income is welcome and there can be some additional spinoff benefits.
Blough is CEO of Wayne County Community Federal Credit Union in Smithville, Ohio. Nearly year ago, the cooperative began using the Segmint program from Sharetec Systems, a core processing provider in Lino Lakes, Minn.
Segmint allows a credit union to market products specifically targeted to the spending habits of each member. Part of that includes enlisting local businesses for advertising on the credit union’s website. Five months ago, WCCFCU rolled out Segmint’s advertising portion.
Let’s say a local auto dealer wants to boost its oil change business. The dealer can display on the credit union website a coupon offering a discount on that service. The coupon only appears to members who have an auto loan, so a member who doesn’t own a vehicle doesn’t see the offer.
The $30 million credit union receives a small payment for the ads, providing some noninterest income, according to Blough.
“It’s a way for us to advertise to our members when they’re on our website, based on their spending habits,” Blough explained. “For example, if someone is a golfer, we could show them a vacation loan or something like that. If they’re a homeowner we may offer them a home improvement loan.”
Blough said Segment basically derives information from the WCCFCU’s online banking program. It will show them advertisements based on what kind of transactions they’re doing, which was the first area tested. Last October, the credit union introduced an advertising platform that allows it to go out to local businesses and sell small spots in a column on WCCFCU’s home page in the Member Rewards section.
The ads are designed and placed on the website through Segmint. Blough said the credit union reaps benefits not only by helping local businesses and giving members a discount on products and services they want, but also generating non-interest income from the sale of the ads.
“At this point, it hasn’t been a lot of income, but as we increase the number of advertisers and the frequency of the ads, we could end up adding a little bit to the bottom line,” Blough said. “We’re getting some benefit, local businesses are getting some benefit, and members are getting some benefit.”
While advertisers were offered free space in November and December for joining during the rollout, the data is just coming in on how much the credit union is earning. Blough projects the income may not top $400 or $500 a month, but it’s welcome dollars generated without a lot of staff time or work. As far as Blough is concerned, every little bit helps.
The list of current advertisers includes a car dealership, kitchen and cooking specialty store, gift shop, and a local YMCA offering a free month of classes for buying one month. Blough indicated there has been a very good response from local businesses as they’ve seen members bring in coupons printed out from the WCCFCU website.
The businesses basically pay a certain amount according to the number of impressions they receive on the website. For perhaps $25, they’re guaranteed their ad will be seen 1,000 times. The actual identity of the members who see the ad remains confidential because it’s based on transaction codes that would, for example, be the same for any member making an auto payment.
“We’ve done it in a way that doesn’t make our website feel like just a bunch of ads,” Blough noted. “It’s actually in a small area that rotates ads. It’s even made our website a little more popular.”