Low Penetration Reveals Hidden ROI
When Jan. 1 comes around, the willpower, commitment and determination of the American consumer always ratchets up a few notches. This goes well beyond that resolution to get in shape or tackle a new project.
Financial health is front and center as people begin to think about commitments to save more money for retirement, pay off debts, start an educational fund for their kids, or begin an investment portfolio.
All credit unions have the opportunity to use this time of year to educate members about their complete range of investment and retirement services. Done well, it can jump start the development of a fuller member relationship over the months to come.
According to the white paper, “The Opportunity for Credit Unions in Investment and Life Insurance Services” conducted by Kehrer-Saltzman and Associates in 2013, only one in four credit union households have purchased investments or life insurance at a credit union. Households with a credit union member keep only 20% of their financial assets at a credit union.
This presents an enormous opportunity for credit unions to focus on capturing the investment and retirement business of their members. To date, most of our peers in the industry have barely tapped this potential. How do we have those conversations, make those connections and become a trusted partner for our members in the realm of investment services? Let me share some first-hand experiences.
Late last year, The Summit Federal Credit Union rebranded its MEMBERS Financial Services Program to The Summit Retirement & Investment Services. The concept, which was quite simple in theory, but required resources to execute, helped the credit union connect with a broader audience and eliminate ambiguity.
Even before the rebranding, the retirement and investment services representatives at The Summit had always been accessible, approachable and invested in helping members achieve their definition of financial success. But being successful requires more than just the right intent. It requires the right exposure and marketing.
Like real estate, location matters. Representatives are strategically placed in high traffic branches. But instead of relying on inbound traffic, they also go where prospects are spending their time such as offering a wide range of educational sessions at member companies, libraries, and community centers.
Conducting popular sessions on such topic as investment basics, retirement basics, women and investing, Roth IRA conversion and Social Security are sure-fire draws. Employing other credit union communication vehicles such as social media, newsletters, and branch signage to educate members on investment and retirement services creates opportunity to cross-sell other products and services.
Don’t overlook investing in your own people to up the ante even further. The Summit is proud of its robust employee training and recognition programs. Using a member loyalty model, our employees attend training sessions on products and participate in role play scenarios to make referrals. The result has been an almost 30% increase in investment service appointments over the past year.
By focusing on educational training, employee recognition and strategic marketing, a credit union can position themselves as a primary financial service provider for investment and retirement products. Establishing this investment relationship has proven to increase member loyalty, which is something every credit union strives for.
Laurie Baker is SVP and COO of The Summit Federal Credit Union. She can be reached at 800-836-7328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.