The Credit Union Question That Deserves To Be On An Episode of Mythbusters: Convenience

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.-There are numerous tactics CUs can leverage to boost their bottom lines, but Eric Porter said one of the best places to start is to explode the myth that credit unions on not convenient.

"CO-OP believes that a credit union must be its members' primary financial institution, which will create organic growth," said Porter, EVP of business development and marketing for CO-OP Financial Services. "Credit unions need heightened marketing and awareness. They should highlight the convenient access to accounts credit unions offer members-anywhere, any time-through 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs, 9,000 of which are deposit taking, and 4,000 shared branch locations."

Porter said CO-OP sends out that message "all the time" in an attempt to educate the public that CU members have access to as many ATMs as customers of Chase or B of A.

"They need to tell people this because people don't know," he said. "We have a product called Ad Lab that provides customized marketing support to get the word out. It helps credit unions get the most from their debit card portfolio. Credit unions can encourage debit card usage with campaigns that enhance revenue, member loyalty and retention."

CUs should use member analytics to create targeted marketing, Porter continued. He said credit unions should know where their members are shopping and how often they are using their CU debit card when they're shopping.

An even bigger issue, according to Porter, is CU should ensure they have a 24/7 solution in place to capture every lending opportunity. If the credit union is closed over the weekend and the member wants to purchase an automobile, he pointed out, if the member can't get ahold of the credit union that is not good.

"CO-OP has a call center that provides total remote underwriting support for lending. That call center utilizes our current NGN switch that many of our credit unions are already on. Credit unions can increase their profitability by streamlining disparate technologies for efficiency. If they are already on the NGN switch, then can have home deposit, branch deposit, mobile deposit, kiosk services and ATM image services all on their current infrastructure."

CUs should encourage use of electronic channels, which are more cost-effective, he added. CO-OP's mobile program is approaching 100 new clients.


Additional Analytics

The bottom line is not just about revenue generation: real-time fraud analytics are saving credit unions hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraud losses, Porter said. "We have found significant savings instantly when credit unions implement real-time fraud alerts."

As if credit unions did not have enough to worry about, Porter cautioned they need to prepare now for the final rules from the Federal Reserve regarding interchange. He said credit unions should start working with their network partners immediately to make sure they maintain maximum interchange revenue.

"Another area where cost savings can be realized is by outsourcing ATM and ATM fleet management services. With ADA rules and all the enhancements to ATMs, it is difficult for credit unions to keep place, particularly the small ones."

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