South Carolina FCU Doesn't Wait For Small Business Saturday

The Palmetto State cooperative encourages small businesses to think big with banking, management, and consulting services.

 
 

Top-Level Takeaways

  • South Carolina Federal Credit Union launched a small business marketing campaign on Oct. 1, 2018.
  • The credit union identified certain businesses as a growth opportunity and implemented specialized training to help key branch personnel and business services officers better assist business members.

When South Carolina Federal Credit Union ($1.7B, North Charleston, SC) launched its DOMOTO — or Doing More Together — marketing campaign for business services at the beginning of October, it wanted business owners in the Columbia area to know it applies the same approach to small businesses as it does to its natural person members. That means offering a full array of services. 

“We want to set ourselves apart,” says John Stanford, the credit union’s vice president of lending. “We’re more than just another financial institution.”

 

 

 

More Than Marketing

The DOMOTO marketing campaign is just one part of South Carolina FCU’s strategy. Internally, the credit union began focusing on potential opportunities and working together through cross-functional teams last May. Using some serious number crunching, the marketing team identified small businesses in the capital city area that represented opportunities for growth. 

“Our niche is small businesses with $500,000 to $1.5 million in revenue,” Stanford says. “Larger businesses can go into any financial institution and command attention. These smaller companies tend to be a forgotten group.”

South Carolina FCU didn’t want to enter the Columbia, SC, market via a “cookie cutter” campaign. So, it launched DOMOTO to showcase the range of business services it offers. 

South Carolina FCU offers the loans, checking, savings, merchant services, insurance, and investment resources businesses of all sizes need. But, the Charleston-based cooperative takes business banking a step further by also offering services such as employee benefits — through its benefit solutions CUSO — as well as strategic consulting services. The credit union’s chief strategy officer and consultant, Troy Hall, provides those services, which range from the basics of business management to leadership development and succession planning. 

“Several credit unions offer investment solutions as a stand-alone product, but seldom do you find a solution that encompasses a full array of services for members’ personal and business needs,” Stanford says. “The same is true with leadership consulting services. We want to offer a solution for whatever the business owner might need at that point in time.”

The Palmetto State cooperative offers the loans, checking, savings, merchant services, insurance, and investment resources as well as employee benefits and strategic consulting.

A Skilled Team

The credit union’s business services officers don’t just open accounts, they introduce small business members to a portfolio of available services, including remote deposit capture, ACH, and employee retirement plans. 

CU QUICK FACTS

South Carolina FCU
DATA AS OF 9.30.18

HQ: North Charleston, SC
ASSETS: $1.7B
MEMBERS: 155,905
BRANCHES: 21
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 3.1%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 9.0%
ROA: 0.81%

In the Columbia area, the credit union identified several high-performing retail staff members and provided a two-and-a-half week, in-depth training program to prepare them to handle business member requests and identify opportunities. These hybrid employees are now familiar with the credit union’s internal policies and procedures and know how to read financial statements to uncover business needs and suggest the best credit union solutions.

The credit union has hired a business services officer for the Columbia area. The other three staffers focus on specific metropolitan statistical areas within the credit union’s geographic footprint. It’s all about providing the right amount of support at the right time.

“Our business members can use our call center or speak with trained staff at several of our branches, but our business services officers handle more of their in-depth needs,” Stanford says. “They can meet here at the credit union or go to the business location, whatever’s most convenient for the member.”

No Cookie Cutter Solutions

Although it’s too soon to measure results from the DOMOTO campaign, which will run through the end of 2018, it’s not too soon for Stanford to offer some advice to credit unions entering a new market. At the top of the list, avoid offering cookie cutter solutions. 

“We’re not very well known in Columbia,” the lending vice president says. “We could have taken a traditional stance and promoted our auto loan rates, but that wasn’t where we could make the biggest difference in this market. Key in on where you can make a real difference and go from there.”

Tired Of Reinventing The Wheel?

Callahan’s Policy & Procedures library can help your credit union get rolling on important initiatives, like helping out local small business owning members. Access documents, policies, and templates donated by other leading credit unions with just a few clicks and tailor them to meet your needs. Get started today.

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Nov. 16, 2018


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