E-Services Alone Are Not E-Nough

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LINDEN, N.J. — Budget constraints dictate that CU expansion will shift toward online channels as opposed to branches, but one person is emphasizing CUs must also budget for marketing and training resources in order for those electronic services to pack a real punch.

John Levy, EVP at Integrated Media Management, said that e-channels have to be as convenient as possible-with 24/7 access and e-signature-but just as important is the CU's commitment to let members know about the services. "We've seen online growth strategies be much more effective when the credit union really lets members know about the services-and that does not always happen," Levy explained. "For example, we've seen credit unions spend money on bill pay and home banking, yet get only a 5% to 6% adoption rate. That is an issue. If you have these channels you have to aggressively promote them, and train call centers, loan centers, and branch personnel to have these channels top of mind-and to talk to members about them.

"So when a member, for instance, contacts the call center to discuss moving forward on a pre-approved loan, a representative tells the person they can receive loan documents next-day air, or go online and get the process started immediately."

Electronic services simply must become a bigger part of the entire credit union, stressed Levy. "That happens only when support comes from the very top down. You get much more buy-in throughout the credit union if upper management openly supports online channels."

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