Deborah Larson, one of the finalists for this year's CO-OP THINK Prize, wants credit unions to offer prospective members a single, easy-to-use app which will help them switch from a bank to a credit union.
Larson, a branch manager at the $56 million, 3,600-member Dakota Plains Credit Union, in Enderlin, N.D said the idea came to she and her co-workers during the furor over Bank Transfer Day in late 2011.
Bank Transfer Day – Nov. 5, 2011 – was a day when activists tried to motivate consumers angered over bank bailouts and the Great Recession to move their accounts from national banks to credit unions or other local banks.
“It occurred to us that one of the biggest obstacles to people moving their accounts were all the direct debits that many have set up on their account,” Larson said. “It would really help if there were an easy application that would help member move those from one account to another.”
Larson said her credit union knew about her idea and supported her work on it, but that the idea belonged to her. She said she believed most people's direct debits could be moved “pretty easily” from an application with a database of different services and corporations in it and pointed out that similar databases exist in bill pay programs to help members more easily set up payments there.
If she doesn't win the $10,000 prize, Larson said she hopes she will be able to find a vendor or CUSO which might be interested in developing and licensing the application broadly. “I hope all credit unions would have access to this one day,” she said.
The winners will be announced at the THINK conference April 29-May 2 in Chicago.