How Online Rate-Matching Tool Is Helping Two CUs To Grab More Loans

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NAPANOCH, N.Y.-Eastern New York FCU here is grabbing about 15 loans per month from competitors thanks to a tool that instantly delivers free credit reports and potential rates savings to prospective members at the credit union website.

"We're giving away the credit report and score," explained Chris Langley, president and CEO at the $65-million CU. "But we also make the credit data actionable" by providing loan evaluation services in the form of RateMatch, offered by Syphr, a technology and marketing CUSO in Ferndale, N.Y.

In fewer than five minutes, a consumer can ask RateMatch's "RateHound" to compare the loans listed on his or her credit report with loan products at Eastern New York FCU (ENY FCU), showing the consumer how to save money by lowering the payments. RateMatch also delivers the consumer's information to the CU for follow-up.

RateMatch is converting about one out of every three loans it analyzes into a new loan for ENY FCU, said Langley, who is also Syphr's president. Each converted loan captures an average $65,000 loan balance and results in an average $235 monthly savings for the member, he added.

The tool fills a void at ENY FCU, acting as the CU's only means to generate loan leads that can be consistently tracked, Langley said.

ENY FCU launched RateMatch at its Facebook page this month, which expands the CU's competitive edge into the social networking realm, suggested Jason Green, president, CEO of Code Green, the Alexandria, Va.-based company that provides marketing technology solutions to CUs and that helped Syphr build RateMatch.

"RateMatch at Facebook will enable people to sell to each other and brag about how great their credit union is" through Facebook's "Like" buttons or "Wall" posts, Green said.

RateMatch on Facebook also delivers "value-add," Green continued. "When credit unions try social networking, they don't really know what to do. RateMatch gives Facebook users something enticing in the form of an animated 'RateHound' that sniffs out the best rates. There's less pressure for the credit union to come up with daily updates to content."

RateHound will become an "insider's secret" at Facebook, Langley suggested. "We want to encourage the notion that you're not cool unless you've got RateHound on your Facebook page. Part of the credit union experience is that you're not part of the establishment, and the same goes for Facebook."

RateMatch also may encourage members to get more involved at the CU website, rather than simply logging in to homebanking to check account balances, said Green.

Wayne Westland FCU of Wayne, Mich., hopes RateMatch will "bring more people who are looking for loans to our credit union," said Thelma Dasho, CEO. The $67-million CU launched RateMatch at its website two months ago. "RateMatch is also a dynamic tool for educating members on their finances and helping them make better decisions."

RateMatch supports Wayne Westland FCU's desire to improve consumers' financial well-being, Langley said. "If you look at the website, the CU has a host of resources designed around using credit wisely that pull into the brand experience Wayne Westland is trying to create."

Wayne Westland will feature RateMatch at its new Facebook page, which went live this month, Dasho said.

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