Top 3 Growth Areas For 2011

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-Credit unions have three big growth opportunities in 2011, according to PSCU Financial Services.

The first, pointed out EVP Chuck Fagan, is that CUs have to begin ramping up credit card programs because of the impact the new regs will have on debit interchange. "I think the income stream on debit being limited so much will certainly force credit unions to make adjustments, such as taking away debit rewards. From a marketing sense, credit unions will need to push credit cards as a product of choice for consumers," said Fagan, noting that debit will no longer continue to steal away credit business.

Home banking takes on greater importance, and credit unions will need to leverage the channel to drive deeper relationships. "No longer will it be good enough to just say you have home banking and put out a bland product," Fagan said. "You will have to make that channel as important as any branch because that's a touch point that not only needs to provide ease of access, but broaden relationships."

To do that, home banking channels have to feature banner ads for products and special offers, and be backed by analytics. "If the member is bringing financial data into the system so they have their entire financial picture in one place, credit unions must figure out how to use that data to cross sell credit cards or other loan products. Home banking must be like the branch-when that member is in front of the system it must function just as member service reps do, looking for ways to deepen the relationship."

Lastly, Fagan contends the window of opportunity to take business from banks is still open, and CUs must emphasize their own brand and the credit union difference.

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Growth strategies