Over the last seventy-five years, credit unions have evolved from simple financial cooperatives into highly complex financial institutions. Interestingly, some of the most significant changes within credit unions are still taking place right now. Credit unions with solid financial footing are in a unique position to expand their presence and acquire new members in need of a stable, trustworthy financial institution.
In order to win new members and maintain existing ones, credit unions must offer services that add value and convenience, expanding self-service options including online account opening and funding. Self-service solutions will increase member loyalty as well as reach new members from a wider geographic area. The benefits of adding automated online account opening and funding to your credit union website include back office efficiency improvements, cost reductions, deposit growth, advanced cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and more active accounts per customer.
In a recent study, Javelin Strategy and Research reported that 45 percent of consumers have tried to open a checking account online. This number is expected to continue to trend upward at a rapid pace.
Online account opening and funding creates a win-win situation: Members who open accounts online are overwhelmingly satisfied by the added convenience. For credit unions, the money saved by reducing account-opening costs from more than $50 for a paper-based transaction to less than $20 for an electronic transaction adds up quickly. At this rate, every credit union should invest in marketing its account opening and funding solutions and make it a top priority! Beyond the online channel, usage of the application and funding program will streamline applications opened in the branch and call center, creating greater efficiencies for the credit union as a whole.
In light of this, credit unions that implement online account opening and funding must commit to a strategic marketing plan in order to maximize their opportunities. Here are a few suggestions to help you:
- To promote self-service solutions, begin by adding a clearly visible "call to action" on you own website. Include a bold "APPLY NOW" button on your homepage where it won't be missed.
- Like an "ADD TO BASKET" option when shopping online, place the "APPLY NOW" button beside individual product names and descriptions. Open more accounts by providing a way for new members get the information they need and apply instantly.
- For existing members, add the "APPLY" button inside the online banking where existing members may see product promotions and new offers. This will lead them to a quick, easy checkout experience with few clicks and minimal data entry.
It is also recommended that credit unions integrate a switch kit along with their account opening application. This will make it easy and hassle free to leave a previous financial institution and make credit union their primary financial institution. Switch kit options should include transfer of payroll direct deposit, automatic payments, closing of accounts at other financial institution and transfer of credit card and loan balances:
Every opportunity to educate the member that they now can do everything online - anytime, anywhere - should become part of all credit union marketing initiatives. Inside the branch, credit unions should leverage all points of sale to engage in appropriate sharing of information. ATMs can promote the service through an informational screen and printed promotional information on receipts. Other types of online communication, such as social networks, emails, instant messaging, paid ad placements, search placements, and live chat are also helpful to promote your products and fulfill orders online. These types of communication are efficient because they enable you to reach out instantaneously respond to a call to action.