How EZ RU to join?

As the famous ad goes, “membership has its privileges,” and millions of credit union members are proof of that very concept. However, in today’s fast-paced environment, are you doing everything you can to make becoming a member as quick and painless as possible?


A future member is wandering around in cyberspace one afternoon and stumbles across your credit union displaying a pretty darn good rate on a loan for a motorcycle he’s been eyeing. After all, your crack marketing team has done a good job of generating awareness and getting your credit union’s product offerings to show up when it matters.

After looking around at banks (ugh!), he decides to go with the nice “we-care-about-you” offering of your credit union. Not knowing much about credit unions, the first thing he stumbles into is … “What? You have to join? How do you do that? Print off this form and MAIL it in? You’ve got to be kidding me!”

  1. Suddenly, that loan rate looks a bit higher and that bank sounds easier to deal with.

Self Assessment: Do we make it easy to become a member?

The obvious question on the table -- if someone is interested, just how easy do you make it to join your credit union? Here are some quick questions that can help you self-assess your offering:

  1. Do you offer online enrollment? This one should be an easy question to answer because you already know that you have to be in the game to score. But, before you say yes, let’s dig a little bit deeper. First, if your enrollment forms are available online, that doesn’t count -- neither does a “fill-in-the-blank-and-send-an-email-to-the-credit-union” enrollment form. You have to have an ability for someone to stop by your virtual store and join from start to finish to declare that you offer online enrollment.
  2. Does the application collect information that makes sense? Online enrollment efforts are many times based on converting a paper application process into something that works on the Internet. A side-effect of this is that all too often there is simply too much information being collected for an application and it is done so by having the applicant fill out the information the same way you collect it on paper. The reality is that you would approve a paper application that does not have every last box filled in – so why do you ask for it online? Think about reducing your data collection to a few screens with a few pieces of data requested on each screen. You don’t want to give your new member the idea that you’re bureaucratic right out of the box, do you? (love this line!)
  3. Do you make other helpful offers? Cross selling is the name of the game – and it is a great idea to make additional offers to expand the services or products that form the relationship with your new member. So the question here really comes in two parts – first, do you make other offers? Second, and just as important, are the offers targeted (and helpful) to the applicant. When you’re answering the second question, be fair and put yourself in the member’s chair – not yours.
  4. Can they fund it now? Funding is the “commitment” stage of this new member relationship. If you let them apply but they don’t have to fund their new accounts at this point, you run a risk of that membership never getting funding. At the same time, there are many consumers who still don’t want to give out their payment information in an online setting. So you may lose some if you don’t offer a fund-it-later option. Your funding options should include a mix of both “fund-it-now” and “fund-it-later” solutions.
  5. Do you effectively communicate? There are at least three forms of communication occurring in an online enrollment process. First, information about the credit union and how it helps members succeed. Second, keeping the applicant informed about progress of the application (how much longer to go?). Third, how do you communicate a successful enrollment? Do you make a big deal out of it and present them with their newly minted member information? And how do you handle situations where the process hiccups along the way? Do you tell them that you’ll be in contact soon to help them with the issues that occurred?
  6. Is it fast? Consumers expect speed these days. Who knows if it is a function of society’s uncanny ability to be distracted or everyone is just so busy they don’t have time. Either way, the business requirement is still the same – you only have a few minutes to keep their attention.

If the average consumer can become a member at your credit union in less than 10 minutes – online at any time of the day or night, you are already doing a good job. If they can’t, maybe you should consider becoming EZ-er than UR.

Use of effective online enrollment tools – like fiVISION’s accountWORKScan help you make it EZ for an applicant to become a member. This will make you more accessible AND save you money at the same time. If you want to find out how online enrollment has made life easier for some of your peers – contact me and I’ll share some of their results with you. For more information call 317.612.3350 or visit us online at



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Aug. 27, 2007


  • Very timely and to the point! So many potential members exist and giving them the "we-care-about-you" feeling is only as good as the application process itself. If we suddenly turn into a machine after they''ve taken the step to join we''ve lost before we''ve begun!