Leveraging The Numbers To Provide Beneficial Products And Service

Shawn Gilfedder shares 5 ways credit unions can compete with the advertising dollars of large banks by increasing awareness of the cooperative movement and highlighting its advantages.


In the United States, 92 million consumers have access or belong to a credit union. Shawn Gilfedder, president and CEO of McGraw-Hill ($285.9M, East Windsor, NJ) wants credit unions to work together to dominate the financial services industry. And those consumers can be reached through online and mobile applications, which will allow smaller institutions to compete.

“We have to leverage the advantages that we have as an industry, and that’s numbers,” says Gilfedder.

McGraw-Hill doesn’t just tout member service, it lives it by offering products and hiring employees that exemplify the cooperative philosophy. Gilfedder shares five ways McGraw-Hill and its fellow credit unions are different from big banks.

1. “Fees shouldn’t be punitive,” Gilfedder says. “They should be for service.” The credit union doesn’t penalize its members with hidden charges for managing their personal finances.

2. The credit union offers an S3 account – Save, Spend, Simplify. Taking away all the hurdles of opening an account, S3 earns 1% interest and refundable ATM surcharges, plus the minimum direct deposit requirement is only a penny. Since the “We Hear You” campaign began, the credit union has opened up 1,600 S3 accounts, raising about $25 million in deposits.

3. Financial literacy and education is top of mind. The credit union partners with the New Jersey Department of Education and the Coalition for Financial Education to offer courses for all age levels. Since April 2011, the coalition has delivered monthly financial literacy seminars to more than 750 consumers and educators. NerdeWallet.com, the nationally recognized website, selected McGraw-Hill’s financial literacy program as one of the top five in the nation. 

4. “We compete through the operational efficiency afforded through a smart phone or an iPad,” Gilfedder says. Using technology such as mobile surcharge-free ATM locators and remote deposit capturehas given McGraw-Hill an opportunity to compete. On a weekly basis, 30% of McGraw-Hill’s mobile app users deposit checks using Mobile My Deposit.

5. By refinancing from other institutions members have saved money with the credit union. Financial Service Consultants conduct “financial checkups.” One member was able to save about $200 a month in maintenance fees by switching from Bank of America checking account to the credit union’s account.

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