Credit unions are expanding their focus on acquisitions, purchasing not only branches and assets but also employees and customers from struggling banks. Transitioning these acquired groups into the credit union fold requires clear communication throughout the entire acquisition.
Membership: Net worth permitting, if you want to obtain a large number of new members, acquisition is a prime strategy. But how do acquired customers become loyal, long-term members?
- Following a branch purchase from Stifel Bank and Trust, Anheuser-Busch Employees’ Credit Union gained close to 500 new members, says senior vice president of marketing Pier Alsup. These members represented roughly $19 million in new deposit relationships, according to American Banker.
- The CEOs of both institutions communicated with customers and members via a series of letters, one explaining the merger and a second highlighting what would change in relation to products, services, and branch experience.
- A PR campaign included ribbon cutting, an open house, and front-to-back office efforts to welcome new members “into the family.” Roughly 90% of those customers were happy to stay with ABECU as their new primary financial institution.
Personnel: Skilled branch employees may be included in acquisition deals. Their main concern will likely be the immediate safety of their jobs. Calm fears to avoid losing personnel, and know about the acquired institution to project what retraining efforts may be required.
- Look for acquisition opportunity among local institutions that have similar values to reduce retraining complications.
- “They [Stifel employees] were customer-centric, with only one location, so they understood the credit union viewpoint,” Alsup says.
- Utilize existing staff’s connection to the region. They may have industry experience or skills that extend beyond your own employee base.