It's one of the most common — and most difficult — New Year's resolutions: saving money. Here's a look at how some credit unions aim to make that task a bit easier for members in the coming year.
TruChoice launches social media campaign
South Portland, Maine-based TruChoice Federal Credit Union is kicking off 2018 with its first-ever New Year’s Goals social media push. Rather than a full-fledged campaign, this project aims to add value to other initiatives the credit union is running in December and January, explained Maureen Duggan, marketing coordinator at the $121 million-asset credit union.
Credit union employees are writing down members’ goals for the new year – such as buying a new car or getting out of debt – on a digital image of a whiteboard, alongside stickers and links to various products the CU offers to help members reach those goals.
“So if it says, ‘Buy a new car,’ we’re going to say, remember you can finance your auto loan through TruChoice,” Duggan said.
The campaign will include five or six Facebook posts and is expected to run during January.
Navy Federal's young savers
To promote thrift among its membership, Navy Federal Credit Union recently began offering a five-month term share certificate at a 3 percent annual percentage yield. That product is offered in addition to the $83.7 billion-asset CU’s Special EasyStart Certificate, which carries a 3 percent APY.
In 2018, Navy FCU aims to attract new savers – especially millennials – and to help them build longer-term saving habits.
“We saw younger members and first-time certificate holders take advantage of this special, too,” said Joan Cox, SVP of savings products at Navy FCU. “Nearly half of the members who bought the certificate were making their first certificate purchase.”
Entering 2018, Navy FCU's current special is a 2.25 percent APY share certificate with a 15-month term.
Possible new products at Coastal CU
Joe Mecca, AVP-communication at the $2.9 billion Coastal Credit Union of Raleigh, N.C., said financial health is an important part of his CU’s 2018 plan, and not just from a marketing standpoint.
"We’ve done a couple of member surveys already and now have a pilot group that our member assistance and wealth management teams are working with on some financial counseling," he told Credit Union Journal. "That will help shape what our full financial health program ends up being and may result in new products."
Nusenda on the $martPath
For the new year, the $2 billion-asset Nusenda Credit Union of Albuquerque, N.M., entered into a one-year, pilot educational partnership with the University of Cincinnati Economics Center that will provide free teacher training and financial education of elementary students across New Mexico.
The free interactive online program is called "$martPath" and will help educators learn best practices for teaching financial literacy.
“We are dedicated to using financial literacy as a way to increase opportunities and economic health for New Mexicans," stated Nusenda president/CEO Terry Laudick. “Our current program, geared toward middle- and high-school students, is utilized in 70 schools statewide, but we recognized a need to start teaching children about money even sooner. $martPath is geared specifically to that purpose.”
Karen DeSalvo, chief marketing officer for Truliant
Karen DeSalvo, chief marketing officer at Truliant Federal Credit Union of Winston-Salem, N.C., said her credit union runs a debt-consolidation campaign at the beginning of each year.
“We work with our members to improve their finances by taking advantage of several different options to consolidate or refinance debt, including home equity lines of credit, credit cards and auto loans,” she said. “This campaign lets our members know that we are here to help them manage their finances effectively through both traditional and digital media channels.”
DeSalvo noted that even with a high income, members can benefit from visiting Truliant and using their “No Cost Credit Review” tool, which they use to help members review credit, and its “TruFinancial Checkup,” when a Truliant member service representative sits down with the member to review his or her full financial picture to find ways to save money.
“We have found that the beginning of the year is an appropriate time to raise awareness of the different options we offer to help consolidate debt and save money,” she added. “Coming out of the holidays, people are often looking for ways to lower debt. Many also are looking for strategies to pay off high-interest rate credit cards and other problem balances. We work with them on that strategy.”
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