Credit unions are consistently looking for new ways to improve their business development efforts. After all, adding new members is the lifeblood of a growing credit union. But how can credit unions improve their select employee group (SEG) efforts?
The following three steps will help make your SEG development initiatives much more effective:
- Provide Employee Development
- Help People Self-identify Their Goals
- Speak “Client”
Below is an explanation of each step:
Provide Employee Development
Businesses don’t know what a SEG is. They probably don’t even know the difference between a credit union and a bank. But that’s not what gets them up in the morning. Improving their business does. If you can help make their employees happier and more productive, then you will get their attention. That being said, please note that the next section – self-identification.
Note: Take a look at the Filene Research Institute paper on Financial Stress and Workplace Performance. You’ll also want to check out Gallup’s State of the American Workplace.
Help People Self-identify Their Goals
Employers can be an outstanding area of growth for credit unions. But you can’t just walk in the door and start selling employees your products. Actually, people are not open to receiving help unless they have self-identified that need (it’s an ego thing). So how do you make this happen? It’s simple. Just ask.
These are two questions that almost everyone in your organization should ask that will help you truly support your clients, including business partners:
- Financially, what is the one thing you are trying to improve right now?
- What can I do to help?
Note: A person’s business goals oftentimes look like “Work smarter, not harder.” Their personal financial goals look more like “take more vacations and save for retirement”.
Once your SEG or member has told you what they want to achieve, you have the answer. Now it is your job to help them achieve that goal. It is not your job to make that person as smart as you are when it comes to your products or services. There is an old saying that applies here: “Tell people what time it is; not how the watch works.”
Make it simple for people to engage you in their business and lives. Just ask them the two questions and keep tying what you do back to their goal. If they want to know more about how the watch works, they’ll ask.
In Summary: Link member services to SEG and business development.
Whether you are working with a SEG or a member, the key to improvement is self-identification. And the way to make this happen is to just ask these two questions:
- Financially, what is the one thing you are trying to improve right now?
- What can I do to help?
If you can integrate this into your business development model, then you will have a simple and repeatable system to financially support every employee in every business. This is how you can turn your SEG operation into a business development machine.
Joel Busboom is the founder of The Inspired Workplace. You can check out his website here: http://www.theinspiredworkplace.com/
Strategic planning sessions are fun (or at least they should be). You examine your successes and failures, brainstorm new initiatives to grow, put timelines together and wrap it all up with a pretty PowerPoint presentation. You strategize, you plan, you prioritize.
And sometimes, then you drift.
Strategic plans face many obstacles when it comes to success: external threats, unexpected economic downtowns, unfortunate staffing challenges, etc. There are several ways you can lose strategic momentum or fail to reach your goals. But one of the greatest traps you must avoid is the strategic plan drift.
As Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine and author of The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster says, “You see, we don’t fall off course, we drift off course. We don’t fall off our workout schedule, our diet, our resolutions, our goals—we drift.”
He goes on to say, “We drift ever so slightly and slowly without realizing it. Then a while down the road, we finally regain consciousness, only to realize we are completely off course.”
Once your plan is crafted, then the tasks of running your credit union or bank can easily dominate your daily routine. You don’t intend to drift, but somehow you fall off your desired path. So how do you avoid having your strategic initiatives drift? Here are four ways to not fall into that trap.
Focus your plan
Your strategic plan’s success starts with focus. If you have five or more strategic initiatives then you actually have too many, which results in a lack of focus. More does not always mean better. In fact, the more on your strategic “To Do” list the more overwhelming it is. If your plan feels like a tidal wave then it’s easy to start drifting.
Track your progress
It’s a cliché, but it’s true: what is not measured is not accomplished. Sure we look at our plans every three or six months to see how we are doing. But that’s not enough. You need to track your progress weekly and monthly. Break those strategies down into smaller bites and measure how you’re doing. Keep in mind that measurement is more than just numbers. You can’t measure your success just in ratios and spreadsheets. If your plan lacks tracking then it’s easy to start drifting.
Engage your staff
It doesn’t matter what is written on your planning document—it’s your staff that is going to determine its success (or failure). Make sure you talk with your staff about what you’re trying to accomplish as an organization. But engaging is more than just talking. It means seeking their input, making changes based on their feedback and involving them in as many aspects of strategic planning as possible. If your plan lacks staff engagement then it’s easy to start drifting.
Hold each other accountable
People are either afraid of or avoid accountability. But the reality is we all need accountability. Financial institutions and their strategic goals certainly need accountability. As executives, you are responsible for your credit union or bank’s goals. Don’t shy away from having hard conversations with each other about what is really going on in your organization. Loan numbers not what they should be—ask why. Branding efforts not connecting with consumers—ask why. If your plan lacks accountability, then it’s easy to start drifting.
You don’t want your strategic plan to be like a ship without a rudder. You don’t want your strategic plan to drift aimlessly among the waves. So avoid that drift by focusing your plan, tracking your progress, engaging your staff and holding each other accountable.
You’ve probably heard it said that mobile banking means consumers can interact with your financial institution far and wide. Banking anywhere. Banking everywhere. Banking on the go.
How about banking “while you go?”
According to a recent survey conducted by Feedzai:
- 46% of all mobile banking users have made transactions in the bedroom
- 30% of mobile all banking users have made transactions from the bathroom
- 13% of mobile baking users have made transactions while driving
These transaction types include withdrawals, deposits and checking balances (insert your own bathroom humor joke here).
For the Millennial Generation, the numbers are even higher:
- 60% of Millennial mobile bankers have conducted a mobile banking transaction in the bedroom
- 20% of Millennials have made a mobile banking transaction from a bar
As Feedzai CEO Nuno Sebastio said in BizReport, “People use their smartphones as a tool to shop and bank, even in the most liberal places.”
This recent data means consumers are conducting their banking just about anywhere—except the branch. If you are relying on your branches to market, then you are watching your bank or credit union become older and older.
As Randy Harrington, president of Extreme Arts and Science, once said, “what are you doing to reach consumers on the small screen?”
Consider the following action steps when it comes to your mobile strategy:
- Make enhancing the mobile experience one of your top strategic priorities (what does your mobile app actually do?)
- Use a brick and click strategy (combine your online and offline strategies)
- Turn your branches into sales machines (if your branches are only doing transactions and not selling, they are unprofitable)
- Take creative risks when marketing mobile products (consumers are using these devices in bedrooms, bathrooms and bars)
The move to smartphone and tablet banking is not a trend—it’s a sea shift change. But don’t just read about these statistics and trends. Act on them by improving the digital experience with your credit union or bank.
Both credit unions and banks have to reach younger consumers if they want to thrive in the future. While you might want to, you can’t write off Generation Y (those born between 1982 and 2003). However, the importance of this niche market goes beyond just the need to younger.
When it comes to the Millennial Generation they are going to have a huge impact on financial institutions. A recent article in The Dallas Morning News summarized their headline this way: “Make way for the millennials, America’s economic force of the future.”
The piece provided many insights about Millenials—especially ones that will have an economic impact on financial institutions. Below are a few highlights along with my take on what it means for credit unions and banks:
- “They’ll spend more money on new technology, they’ll start the next Google, and they’ll become the main breadwinners for their families.”
- What it means for financial institutions: Embrace your technology tools or die. Mobile banking, wearable technology and even biometric technology are not options; they are must-haves. Stop being a laggard when it comes to your banking technology.
- “Estimates of millennials’ purchasing power vary widely, but a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report put their annual spending at $200 billion — a fraction the size of the $1.2 trillion U.S. Hispanic consumer market.”
- What it means for financial institutions: This may sound contradictory, but you don’t HAVE to reach Gen. Y to be successful. You can target an even more powerful niche: U.S. Hispanics.
- “The average millennial earned $33,883 in 2013, compared with $40,352 for workers of all ages,according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.”
- What it means for financial institutions: Heavily market your credit cards. While their income is low, their spending is high. That means many of them have significant credit card debt. You could also take a “counter” approach and educate them about the disadvantages of high balance credit cards.
- “The average amount of student debt for college graduates in 2013 was $28,400, up 2 percent from 2012,according to the latest data from the Institute for College Access and Success.”
- What it means for financial institutions: Look for ways to help recent college graduates refinance those college loans. They have tons of collegiate debt. Consider creating a special refinance college loan debt product. Also consider how this high student loan debt is going to impact credit scores and loan applications.
- “For now, millennials’ employment, income and debt struggles have kept many of them from buying a home, a trend that echoes through the economy. Overall, low homeownership rates mean millennials are not building home equity and not benefiting from home price appreciation.”
- What it means for financial institutions: Nothing good from a long-term perspective. If you are relying on mortgages to grow your loan balances, don’t look to Gen. Y. Many simply cannot afford homes these days. Fight this trend by designing creative ways to help millenials get into their first home.
- “A recent survey by Principal Financial Group found that nearly two-thirds of workers who are 23 to 35 started saving for retirement before they were 25, but less than one-third save 10 percent of their salary through an employer-sponsored plan.”
- What it means for financial institutions: If they aren’t saving for retirement through their employer, they have to be doing it somewhere else. That “somewhere else” should be your credit union or bank. Heavily promote “do it yourself” financial planning through your financial institution.
The Millennial Generation is indeed going to have a heavy impact. Not just on society. Not just on the economy. But also on credit unions and banks.
This entry comes from Taylor W. Wells, Communications Director for On The Mark Strategies.
When I was about 14-years-old, a sharp and searing pain rocked through my lower abdomen early one morning at school. Before lunch that day, I was on the operating table having my nearly-ruptured appendix removed. It was a rough few days, especially for a teenager looking forward to the start of summer.
During my recovery, I came to find that the appendix is considered a virtually useless organ in the human body. But man, can it still cause pain (and in some cases, even death).
So it seems as if there is at least one organ the human body can do without. In fact, with that nasty thing removed and fear of a future rupture eliminated, I functioned better than I did before. We can say the same thing about certain processes and products within financial institutions. When you sit down and really think about it, what is the appendix (or appendices) at your financial institution? What could you do without? What would you be better off without? What can you shed and be a nimbler, more responsive and more dynamic entity?
This requires you to take a long, hard look at your financial institution. A great time to do this is during the strategic planning process. Typically during a strategic planning session, banks and credit unions do a great job of adding more to their plates. More projects, more committees, more busy work, etc. However, this is simply more likely to overload and burden and already-stressed staff and system.
With this in mind, doesn’t it make sense to look for things that you can eliminate from your bank or credit union? Think of it like a hot air balloon. In the past, some carried heavy sandbags when they flew. When the pilot wanted to go higher, he simply dropped a sandbag or two. Think of the heights your bank or credit union could attain if it was able to dump a few unneeded sandbags from its load.
Following are a few quick ideas to consider when looking for your shop’s appendix.
- Too many products and services. Are nine different checking accounts too many options? Do consumers really care that you offer discounted amusement park tickets? And does anybody still call the automated telephone teller to check their balances anymore?
- Too many fees. This one is talked about a lot, but still warrants discussion. Yes, fee income is important. But so is keeping consumers happy. Are your products and services fee-heavy?
- Too many branches. Yes, physical branches. As more and more consumers turn to mobile ways of interacting with their financial institution, fewer are coming into branches. Are these brick-and-mortar locations dragging you down? And is the money you spend on them keeping you from expanding your mobile and digital offerings?
A ruptured appendix is no fun. But once you recover and find out you’re better off without it, it’s not so bad. Similarly, looking at things in your bank or credit union that you can do without is also a potentially stressful process. But in the end, shedding those extra sandbags is good for both your bank or credit union and its consumers.