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Time to Grow: The Advantages of Partnering
Thursday, January 12, 2017 6:40 AM

Bob Rehm, CUDE, VP Sales and Service, Credit Union Resources

The old saying is: If you are not growing, you’re dying. No doubt that holds true for credit unions. In recent months, the staff at Credit Union Resources has had many conversations with credit unions concerning their need to grow loans, accounts, and non-interest income.

We can help. Following is an overview of some of the products and services we offer that could be part of the effort to help a credit union achieve its goals for growth.

First, Create a Plan
Growth begins with a well-thought-out plan. CU Resources planning consultants provide the credit union an opportunity to review its past and current growth strategies. A seasoned facilitator will create the forum to explore, quantitatively and qualitatively, the why, what, and how of creating the credit union’s growth plan for the future.

That growth plan might include an assessment of how easy it is to conduct business with the credit union. Good marketing may bring the prospect to the point of signing up, but do they abandon the process due to the difficulty of the procedure? One way to determine the ease of doing business with the credit union is through customer effort research. Cornerstone’s Research Department can show a credit union the rationale and methodology for conducting member effort research.

Make More Loans
CUNA Mutual Group’s Lender Development Program strategies have helped credit union staff strengthen members’ financial positions by uncovering and meeting more member financial needs. Based on the best practices of results-driven credit unions, this multi-disciplined program helps maximize the performance of the loan portfolios and the entire product line.

CUNA Mutual and Ser Technology Corporation have partnered to provide the most comprehensive and effective loan campaigns available to credit unions in the marketplace today. Over the last 10 years these direct marketing programs have generated more than $1.5 billion in new loans for credit unions across the country.

Another program that helps grow volume across the entire loan portfolio is Harland Clarke’s Loan Engine. Loan Engine markets to credit union members with a proactive approach that includes multi-product, recurring pre-screen campaigns.

Today, more than ever, credit unions find that growing a mortgage portfolio may require assistance. For more than 30 years, CU Members Mortgage has served the mortgage lending needs of credit unions and CUSOs across the nation. As a result, thousands of members have found the perfect home loan solution in the hands of the financial institution they trust—their credit union.

And don’t forget about student loans. Credit Union Student Choice is the foremost provider of higher education financing services to America’s credit unions. Comprehensive solutions help credit unions deliver fair-value private education loans and corresponding financial education to students and families. Since launching in 2008, the CUSO has grown to serve nearly 250 credit unions across the country, helping them originate more than $1 billion in loans through thousands of valuable lending relationships.

Increase Non-Interest Income
Here’s a win-win: protecting members while increasing non-interest income. Members can look to their credit union to help protect their financial futures through TruStage insurance, including life, health, accidental death and dismemberment, auto, and home coverages. TruStage increases income streams, covers more loans with payment protection and uncovers more cross-sell and referral opportunities.

A significant source of NII, overdraft privilege, has changed due to government rules, making most overdraft programs outdated and obsolete. JMFA has re-engineered its renowned program, complete with all new analytics, strategies, reporting, and tracking. This new program helps credit unions recover revenue lost as a result of regulatory changes.

Create More and Better Relationships
Oftentimes, small things make a big difference in how members see their credit union. CU Solutions Group helps make credit unions even more appealing. Award-winning national rewards programs with large corporate partners, such as Sprint, help credit unions build loyalty, increase credit/debit card usage, and generate non-interest income.

Similarly, Catalyst Corporate FCU offers Checking with Benefits, a rewards program that strengthens member engagement while generating fee income. Powered by BaZing, Checking with Benefits enhances a checking program with on-demand benefits delivered by a mobile app that may be customized with the credit union's own branding.

Enhance credit union membership by giving members the ability to conduct financial transactions (deposits, withdrawals, transfers, loan payments, and much more) where they live, work, or travel. Through CO-OP Shared Branching, members gain access to their accounts from thousands of locations nationwide. In fact, it’s the fourth largest branch network in the country.

Speaking of thousands of locations, the CO-OP ATM Network gives members the kind of financial convenience traditionally available only from big banks—nearly 30,000 ATMs, all of which are surcharge-free.

Some say that mobile banking has become table stakes in the battle to attract banking consumers. Strengthen current member relationships and attract the accounts of tech-savvy prospects by answering their demand for mobile banking and check capture through Catalyst Corporate and CO-OP, no matter what type of mobile device they own.

A key component in a growth plan will be a credit union’s branches. LEVEL5 exclusively serves financial institutions in developing and implementing growth strategies. Their team quantifies the business case for expansion (loans and deposits) through detailed analysis specific to the credit union’s markets and opportunities. An integrated service offering marries site selection with design-build to lower risk and maximize return on investment.

Make the Offer
Electronic marketing may be a significant component of a credit union’s growth strategy. When implemented correctly, the return on investment can far exceed that of traditional marketing strategies. Electronic services offered by CU Resources include website design and development, mobile website design, social media (both consulting and design), and email marketing campaigns.

CU Resources also offers traditional graphic design services, which can create custom marketing pieces, including billboards, brochures, direct mail/postcards, newsletters, posters/fliers, and statement inserts.

Okay, with these great ideas on how to develop new business, get out there and grow!