Taking the Leap: New Site Positions CUs as 'Green'

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MADISON, Wis.-A new website that positions a credit union as eco-friendly is helping members put a little green back in their wallets and in the CU's pockets too.

The Leap, a website launched in January by the Filene Research Institute's i3 group and available to natural-person CUs, measures how "green" members are, and in turn offers suggestions on how they can improve their efforts to save money and the environment-including using the credit union's electronic services.

Members take The Leap by answering a series of 13 simple, yes-and-no questions and receiving immediate feedback. Based on responses, the site explains how much money is saved, or lost, in a year.

Questions eventually shift from general energy savings to financial, such as "Do you use e-statements?" A final summary page shows answers to each question, savings and potential savings for each response, and total, overall savings.

The Leap's final page displays icons for debit cards, direct deposit, e-statements, online banking, e-alerts, and bill pay, and encourages members to click on them to "see how your credit union helps you save time, money, and the environment."

"In a very simple, and quick way The Leap shows members how well they are already doing at being energy efficient and environmentally conscious-and saving money in the process," said Chief Innovation Officer Denise Gabel. "It also shows them if they did a few extra things how much more they can save."

Gable said the credit union benefits by promoting e-services in a "friendly way" and positions the CU as being green.

A one-time $600 set-up fee (for Filene members) is charged and there is no cost afterward. The site is customized and can be linked to the CU's website. Currently 15 credit unions are using The Leap; 75 more are in the pipeline, according to Gabel.

"The Leap helps members save money and preserve natural resources and the credit union gets to draw attention to its own products," shared Gable.

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