Mobile App Boosts Annuity Sales
Technology has had a positive impact on the way financial advisers do business with credit union members.
Mike Albert, a CUNA Brokerage Services financial adviser at the $738 million Collins Community Credit Union in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said he has been using CUNA Mutual Group’s ZONE annuity app to help members get a better grasp of features associated with the retirement product.
As a result, annuity sales have led to a 50% increase in its program’s production in 2013 over 2012 at Collins Community CU, he said.
“Technology is changing, the way we communicate and educate the member is changing, and I feel that using an iPad to illustrate the features and benefits of this annuity engages the member into the experience,” Albert said.
The ZONE app allows advisers and members to customize a zone of risk and reward aligned with their investment goals using the MEMBERS Zone Annuity product. A member designs a personal zone of risk and reward, and then uses it to evaluate how the annuity might perform over time using hypothetical investment returns and market scenarios, according to CUNA Mutual.
Albert predicted mobile app use may spark more FaceTiming with members.
“Imagine you have a client that winters down south. We will soon FaceTime with them while they are wintering away to stay in touch with them and keep them aware of their financial situation,” said Albert. “Whereas now we do that but it’s via the telephone.”
And it’s not just young clients that are embracing the changes.
At the $995 million Goldenwest Credit Union in Ogden, Utah, a high percentage of pre-retirees and retirees have become comfortable using the ZONE app to access information, said Tyler Holbrook, a CBSI financial adviser at the credit union.
“Adapting to these new avenues of working with members is a must,” Holbrook emphasized. “These tools are speeding up the way we relay information to the public and that translates directly into more time to serve our members.”
Holbrook said annuity sales picked up significantly in the second half of 2013 as the ZONE app was made available at Goldenwest last August.
The MEMBERS Zone Annuity product reached $22 million in the first month after launch and first year sales exceeded a $30 million target set last year by $60 million, according to Bob Buckingham, annuity product vice president for CUNA Mutual.
Since its debut, mobile application usage among licensed advisers increased more than 400% in the last quarter of 2013, and the bounce rate was reduced by more than 50% from existing apps, according to CUNA Mutual.