Looking for tried-and-true strategies that yield serious results? Look no further than CU Journal's Best Practices Awards featuring great ideas that have been tested in the real world with proven value.

Auto Loan Promo Has Mega ROI

During a 30-day automobile loan promotion last year, $418 million Abilene Teachers FCU spent $17,092 on an advertising campaign that generated more than 3,000% return on investment.

Related: Abilene Teachers' Lending Promo Generates 3,000% ROI


Mapping Out Growth

In addition to helping state-chartered Align Credit Union comply with the Community Reinvestment Act in Massachusetts, QuestSoft's Compliance RELIEF's geocoding and mapping tools allowed the $600 million CU to better analyze its service area as well as make strategic decisions about branch and ATM locations following acquisitions. Above is a sample geocoding map created by QuestSoft for Align CU.

Related: Lightening the Regulatory Load


More than a Branch: a Technology Playground

America First CU's new "Innovation Center" in Salt Lake City is designed to be an entirely new banking experience – part branch, part learning workshop and part technology playground. The $7.7 billion-asset CU reports that thousands of people have visited the center already and 74% of them are positive about the solutions they are testing there.

Related: Branching with Members in Mind


Saving Trees, Saving Money

After $635 million Clark County CU installed WebShare with eDelivery from Bluepoint Solutions and started providing e-statements to members, it saved about $10,000 a month in paper statement production and postage costs.

Related: Multi-Purpose Email Platform Saves CU $10,000 Monthly


Core Conversion Saves Desert Schools Time, Money

Desert Schools FCU's conversion to Corelation's KeyStone occurred over Labor Day weekend in 2015. So far the $4 billion CU Executive Vice President Ron Amstutz reports that the credit union's nightly processing time has decreased from eight hours to two and operations staffing costs have been reduced 8% year over year.

Related: How to Get the Most Out of Converting to a New Core Processor


Measuring Marketing ROI

Financial Center First CU's return on investment tracking program has evaluated 11 marketing campaigns that produced a combined ROI of $658,059, more than double the $513 million-asset institution's marketing spend of $300,359 on them. Above is creative from one of the successful campaigns it tracked.

Related: What Gets Measured: Tracking ROI for Marketing Campaigns


Getting the Word Out

Looking for a new way to best communicate and tell its story to members, $9.4 billion First Tech FCU created two videos to illustrate its annual report statistics and engage members who could not attend the actual meeting.

Related: Taking the Annual Report from Being a Snore to Give Me More


Authentication in a Flash

Members of the $1.7 billion Gesa CU can hold a hand over a biometric palm vein-authentication machine and then almost instantly start their banking business, reducing the time it takes to authenticate a member in the branch from 15 seconds down to just one.

Related: Biometrics Speed up In-Branch Authentication by Whopping 93%


Partnering for a Cause

First Tech FCU not only hit its stretch goal of raising more than $1 million for Credit Unions for Kids this year through its annual golf tournament – it beat it by raising $1.13 million, an 18% increase over 2015. The $9.4 billion CU leveraged industry and vendor partnerships; got members and employees involved in fundraising; and took a multi-channel approach to encourage donations and sponsorships.

Related: Philosophy in Action: How First Tech Increased its Give Back


We've Got to Start Meeting Like This

Royal CU's "Project Management Initiative" provides a practical framework, prioritizes projects and resources while keeping employees of the $1.9 billion credit union's informed. A before-and-after comparison of two large corporate projects found a 40% reduction in project meeting hours and associated labor costs.

Related: We've Got to Start Meeting Like This


Using Cost Cuts to Fund Bonuses

Instead of paying a consultant to come up with a cost-cutting plan at Sun Community, President and CEO Dale Johnson came up with a "Cost Savings Plan" of his own: Have managers propose individual plans for their departments and give each manager the first month's savings as a bonus.

Related: Cutting the Fat, Not Member Service


Revamped Site Sees Traffic Increase

Since Tech Credit Union unveiled its website redesign on March 9, the $2.2 billion CU reports a 13% increase in traffic as well as rise in the average amount of time spent on the site – up 17 seconds to 1.19 minutes.

Related: Revamped Site Boosts Consumer Loan Applications by 42%


Core Conversion Slashes Programming Time

Vibrant Credit Union took its time to convert its legacy core system to Fiserv's DNA, but it paid off for the $490 million institution. Once DNA was up and running, the East Moline, Ill.-based CU was able to update loan and savings rates in minutes instead of the up to 40 hours of programming it took in the past.

Related: Cross-Functional Approach to Core Conversion Helps Turn the Tide


From Days to Hours: Speeding up Reports

After Westerra CU started using Kaufman Hall's Axiom Financial Institutions Suite to manage its financial reporting, the $1.3 billion institution cut the time it took to produce its monthly financial reports by half, down to about four hours vs. a full workday.

Related: Going Beyond Spreadsheets Leads to Deeper Dive in Financial Reporting