As the number of members using online banking continues to grow, credit unions are capitalizing on that trend by investing in solutions that have expanded opportunities to cross-sell products, increase brand awareness and enhance services.
Online banking adoption among members averages about 38% across credit unions, which is projected to increase to 48% this year, according to a Filene Research Institute report. Credit unions are also expected to increase their investment in online capabilities by nearly 6% in 2013.
The $803 million, 54,939-member USAlliance Credit Union is ramping up its investment in Micronotes, an emerging online application that conducts short, predefined question and answer interviews with members while they are on the credit union’s site to determine their interest in a product or service.
In February, the Rye, N.Y.-based USAlliance said it conducted test marketing campaigns using the online tool that was introduced to financial institutions in 2009 by Micronotes of Cambridge, Mass.
The Mirconotes icon is unobtrusive yet noticeable, parked on the left side of the screen so that it doesn’t interfere with members’ transactions, according to the credit union. To test members’ response to Micronotes, USAlliance identified 11,958 members who would likely sign up for mobile banking, online statements or apply for a car loan, mortgage or credit card.
Fifteen percent clicked on the Micronotes icon and participated in the interviews. Of those members interviewed, 50% or 1,098 members became qualified leads. Eight percent of those members applied for and received a loan product, according to USAlliance.
“The response rate was so astronomically different than traditional marketing campaigns,” said Kevin Randall, USAlliance vice president of electronic systems. “We have not experienced other media that can produce that type of (response rate) result.”
In downtown Tampa, Fla., the $1.8 billion, 156,451-member Grow Financial Federal Credit Union has caught the attention of many passers-by with its new branch because it features an interactive augmented reality technology that projects a virtual money machine on a six-screen HD video wall on the branch’s exterior wall.
Augmented reality is similar to an electronic billboard with touch screens and motion reactive video, or sophisticated gesture-based technology, which enables pedestrians to interact with what they are looking at such as graphics, images or video that appears on the HD wall.
Grow Financial said it is using the virtual money machine as a new digital marketing tool by enticing nonmembers and members to play a video game on it and open new accounts.
Consumers can choose to either play for $25 to open a checking account, $100 for a new auto loan, or $300 for a new mortgage. Once a selection is made, money floats from the sky and the consumer catches as much as he or she can. When the game is over, the money machine collects the consumer’s email address and prints out a voucher to open a checking account or to apply for an auto loan or mortgage.
Since the virtual money machine went live in late September 2012 it has collected nearly 4,000 email addresses as of early April. As a result, the credit union is following up on new business opportunities.
“We wanted the virtual money machine to bring awareness for our brand, and I think we definitely accomplished that,” said Adrienne Drew, a marketing communications specialist at Grow Financial.
The only problem is that many of the interactions with the virtual money machine occurred after business hours or during the weekend when the credit union was closed so the consumer was unable to retrieve its voucher immediately, Drew noted. Grow Financial is considering opening a branch with a virtual money machine in a local popular shopping mall where there is more consumer traffic during business hours.
Another piece of the marketing equation that many credit unions leverage is to promote their attention to delivering superior services to members.
The $5.8 billion San Diego County Credit Union said it strives to stay ahead of the customer service delivery curve by tapping technologies to create a distinguishing banking experience that will make a positive impression on members and non members. To support this goal, SDCCU launched a chat service for mobile banking members several months ago, which is similar to the credit union’s desktop chat service.
The live chat button, provided by vendor LivePerson Inc. in New York, appears on a SDCCU mobile site. When a consumer clicks on the icon, they are connected to an agent for a real-time conversation.
Heather Moshier, SDCCU executive vice president, said members and non-members love the new service.
“Generally, consumers visit sdccu.com to look for products, services or rates,” Moshier said. “They’re happily surprised that (they) can chat with a live representative without having to make a call.”
Moshier said though SDCCU is not using live chat for marketing, it is helping to enhance member service satisfaction because mobile users, who are generally on-the-go, can get quick answers through live chats, which makes it easier for them to do business with the credit union.