Move Over, Walmart: MCCU Has Its Own Greeter

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MARION, Ohio — Visit the website at Marion Community CU here during any of several holidays, and a friendly employee will pop up on video to greet you.

That's not something you'll see at many credit union or bank sites. "Everyone's got free checking and shared branching, so we have to be a little different," suggested Glenn Coble, business development specialist at the $53-million Marion CCU. "We have to find a niche that people pay attention to."

That niche is created by video overlay, a technology that integrates a video on top of the CU's existing website display. Users can easily pause or exit the video window, and the video doesn't interfere with other website content.

An actress, representing a Marion CCU employee, delivers a 20-second holiday greeting. She conveys how proud the CU is to help people, particularly during tough times.

"The video feels more personal than text," said Coble. "The temperature of the video is nice, warm blue, whereas text is cool, steely white."

Establishing a personal relationship is critical because many other financial institutions are focused on selling products, he continued. "I'm trying to sell caring, not products. Most people understand that credit unions are more sincere than banks in their interest to communicate with their members."

'A Face Made For Radio, So...'

The video overlay technology is offered by CU-VO, a Madison, Wis.-based Internet video overlay company powered by SEMPartners, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.

Although CU-VO allows credit unions to customize videos with messages delivered by their own executives, Marion CCU chose to use CU-VO's contracted actress instead. "I'm not confident that any of our executives would do very well on video. I myself have a face made for radio."

Marion CCU also is able to choose how frequently messages are delivered. The CU debuts the video three weeks before a scheduled holiday but then only delivers the video once per week to any given computer, explained Coble. "We don't want to irritate people by constantly bombarding them with the message."

About 5,000 people saw the overlay each week before the Thanksgiving holiday, he said. "About a half-dozen people have said they liked our 'pop-up girl.' We haven't had any complaints, so we probably didn't offend too many people."

The CU doesn't worry if a member's computer is set to block the videos, Coble added.

"The videos won't come up if the member doesn't permit certain types of pop-ups. That's fine. People should be allowed to implement whatever security they want."

Marion CCU paid $600 for a package of six pre-recorded holiday campaigns, including campaigns for International Credit Union Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and the December holidays, Coble said.

Financial Tips Package

A "Financial Tips" package and custom campaigns with "calls to action" are also available from CU-VO. Pricing is based on asset size.

CU-VO provided the programming code that runs the video overlay, said Scott Biggs, owner, Riding Tigers Communication in Columbus, Ohio, which designed and now manages the CU's website.

"We dropped a few lines of code into the HTML for Marion's website. We had it up in about five minutes. It couldn't have been easier. It's not an administrative burden."

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