Kevin Dawson and Jason Smith, founders of MoveCU.com, a credit union ranking website that debuted at the 2013 Conference of the Marketing Association of Credit Unions in Las Vegas, possess a natural-born affinity with Gen Y and a passion for promoting the benefits of credit unions.
At age 27, they have a finger firmly planted on the pulse of a coveted demographic for credit unions. Plus, they seem ready, willing and eager to educate the general public, especially their generation, about the benefits of belonging to credit unions.
That’s why Dawson and Smith created MoveCU.com, which ranks credit unions based on a 15-point matrix that focuses on price, quality and convenience factors, using a proprietary search engine it calls CU-Shopper that relies on 5300 Call Report data.
“Most people our age aren’t aware of the benefits of belonging to a credit union, but that’s something we plan to change,” said Dawson, who is also a web developer and Internet strategist with the Data Based Marketing, a credit union agency founded in 1985. “My family has been involved with the credit union industry from the inside out for more than 25 years, so I am very familiar with the benefits of credit unions, but I quickly learned that most people do not realize how credit unions work and the benefits of joining one.”
During the past few months, about 20 credit unions have subscribed to MoveCU, the company said. For a subscription fee of $199 a month, CUs can upload information such as their logo, description, branch information, membership information, services, current rates, online applications and email links to mortgage servicing rights. The site ranks credit unions whether or not they’re MoveCU customers, the company said.
Visitors can come to the site, locate the best rates in their market and apply for membership if they are looking for a checking account, a credit card or a auto or mortgage loan, Dawson said. “Considering that credit unions almost always have better prices than banks, this gives a pretty convincing sales message to the public of ‘find the best prices on financial services in minutes’.”
MoveCU recently connected with CreditJeeves.com, a credit building tool, and is in the process of finalizing a partnership with an organization that helps college students build credit, Dawson said
“We are featured CreditJeeves.com, which is live now and is designed to assist anyone who needs help with credit,” Smith said. “Through the partnership with CreditJeeves.com, credit unions in our system will be able to market direct to people who meet their lending criteria. We are really excited about the product and the synergies between our companies. Plus, we’ve got some other exciting partnerships in development, which we will be announcing soon.”
To launch MoveCU.com, Dawson and Smith partnered with family members to form Orien Investments LLC in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Dawson said the new venture has benefited from his previous experience working with credit unions.
“In my role with Data Based Marketing, I essentially consult with credit unions and provide best strategies on how to sell their products and services online,” he said. “One of the most important things about selling online is that it normally tackles a younger generation, which is a hot topic in the industry.”
During the past few years, Dawson, who has a bachelors degree in marketing from San Diego State University, said he has been a guest speaker at numerous events across the country. He spoke about mobile marketing and technologies at Northrop Grumman Federal Credit Union’s 2010 planning conference, and he tackled topics such as social media, search engine optimization and Gen Y communication at the 2012 Aerospace Conference in Boston, he said.
“All of those things helped me to prepare MACU, which was beneficial because I was a bit nervous about going to MACU because we have invested a lot of time and money to launch MoveCU,” Dawson said. “Fortunately, we got a lot of great feedback during MACU and things have really taken off since then. We keep trying to spread the word and it seems to be working.”
Smith, who received a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Oregon, also handles business development and operations for WestPac Companies, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based real estate development and management firm.
He said the mission of MoveCU is to expand the impact of credit unions.
“We wanted to start a platform that not only informs and empowers visitors, but allows them to take immediate action through our site to join a credit union, sort of like the Orbitz for the CU industry,” he said. “The sale of financial services online is huge. It is also a great way to increase membership and communicate to a younger demographic.”
Dawson and Smith said the data used by MoveCU has revealed some interesting facts.
For example, during its recent debut at the 2013 Conference of the Marketing Association of Credit Unions in Las Vegas, the site’s Top 5 highest rated CUs averaged $31 million in assets, with less than 1,900 members, including the $2.6 million, 180-member Employee Savings FISCU in Montgomery, Ala. and the $10 million, 700-member, LRFD FCU in Little Rock, Ark.
“MoveCU.com proves that CUs don’t have to be bigger to be better,” Dawson said. “Our proprietary search engine gives all CUs a chance to stand out on individual products or PFI leads.”