Strategists at Alabama Credit Union ($1.3B, Tuscaloosa, AL) figured they were on the money when the cooperative integrated a credit score app into its member-facing digital displays, and they were right.
The My Credit Score opt-in feature has sailed past its first-year adoption goal of 20% since its launch in October 2020. The feature should easily reach 40% to 50% penetration among digital bankers in its first 18 months, says Kelley Porter, ACU’s vice president of member experience.
Interest in credit scores is a large vein to mine. According to an annual Discover survey at year’s end 2020, 93% of millennials know their credit score. That’s a big jump from 57% in 2017. But, the survey also found just 43% of Gen Z and 46% of millennials are satisfied with their credit standings compared to 54% of Gen X and 81% of boomers.
That coterie of younger consumers is the sweet spot for most retail financial institutions. According to Porter, the credit union advises members not to obsess over a few points change here and there, but ACU is happy to provide a way to easily keep up.
Kelley Porter, VP of Member Experience, Alabama Credit Union
Here, Porter, who has been with ACU for 11 years and head of member experience since January 2019, shares more insight about My Credit Score.
Why did ACU launch My Credit Score?
Kelley Porter: Members were asking for something like this, and many were already using products such as Credit Karma. We want members to see we make enhancements that address their financial needs plus provide value.
As a credit union, our mission is to help our members live a better financial life. Many times, that starts with understanding their credit score, so our response was to adopt the service offered by Apiture, whose online and mobile banking platforms we already use. Adding this feature within online and mobile banking helps encourage engagement and product usage.
How do you market My Credit Score? How does it work from the member’s point of view?
KP: We market My Credit Score as an enhancement of our online/mobile banking product. The member logs into online or mobile banking. If they have not already registered for My Credit Score, they see an ad tile encouraging them to register. Three clicks later they see their current credit score information and can receive tips to improve their score, including a simulator and offers for ACU loan products they qualify for.
The registration process is simple. We’ve received virtually no calls with questions on the registration or how to use the product, which is simply amazing.
Please explain how My Credit Score integrates with ACU’s other lending products.
KP: The offers shown in My Credit Score link directly to our loan applications. From within our loan origination software, we can track which applications came from My Credit Score. That’s convenient for the member and allows us to see a direct calculation or ROI of the product.
When members use My Credit Score on their Alabama Credit Union mobile app, they can see their overall credit score as well as the individual accounts that comprise it — giving them the ability to identify areas of improvement or achievement. Click here to enlarge image.
What challenges, if any, did you encounter in deployment and how did you overcome them?
KP: The only challenge we had initially was that we were not using the same credit score model. We were using TransUnion and prior to launch we switched to VantageScore 3.0 to ensure the score we used for loan offers and what was showing within My Credit Score matched.
How does My Credit Score fit into your approach to member financial wellness?
KP: We want our members to feel confident making financial decisions. Giving them the ability to look at their credit score quickly, receive monthly updates related to their score, and use simulators to improve their score truly allows the member to “Feel good about your money,” which is our credit union’s tagline.
How much have members used My Credit Score? Has it had an impact on credit scores?
KP: As of July 23, less than a year since we launched the product, we had more than 18,400 members using the product. That’s 27% of our online banking users.
CU QUICK FACTS
ALABAMA CREDIT UNION
HQ: Tuscaloosa, AL
Data as of 06.30.21
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 21.1%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 21.7%
The product gives us great insight into some trends. In the past six months, we’ve seen 43% of users whose credit score was between 600 and 649 improve their scores and 22% of users whose credit score was between 650 and 699 improve their scores.
What advice do you have for credit unions considering this kind of service?
KP: My advice would be to implement today. The implementation was honestly the easiest product implementation we have done. Once you launch, tell everyone about it, especially those who don’t currently use your online or mobile banking products. We’ve found this a great selling feature for those who are hesitant to use these traditional products.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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