From members ranting about credit card fees to a first-time auto buyer driving towards a great rate, one increasingly popular Internet tool brings together the shared experiences of credit union members: the blog. Blogs, a type of Internet page that lets you post content and receive comments, are searchable by anyone online. Typing the phrase “credit union” on Technorati yields more than 34,000 blog postings. The number of posts mentioning credit unions has risen dramatically over the past year from just a few per day to an average of about 100. Since you don’t have time to read every post, here are three common types of postings and why we should take notice.
Hey Guys, Let’s Build a Credit Union!
Black Rock Federal Credit Union. Have you heard of it? Did you see its year-end results? No. That’s because it’s not a credit union…yet. But they do have a blog, http://www.blackrockfederal.com, where community members have a chance to see the steps in the development of the credit union. Another blogger in northern California mentions his progress towards creating East Palo Alto Credit Union. These two examples point to increasing potential for communities to band together and form collective financial cooperatives by combining blogging and the credit union charter.
Feelin’ the Love (and Hate)
Credit union members are also bloggers. One post discusses a family’s mortgage hunting process and mentions two credit unions whose rates the family is deciding between. They write about their excitement at the prospect of both financing choices. Another blog entry mentions that during a vacation when their car broke and they had to get a new one, the blogger could easily get full financing from their credit union. This availability was a life saver.
Of course, not every blogger loves their credit union. One laments over what they deem “offensive” advertising from their local credit union. Another blogger is upset about overdraft fees charged on a credit card and comments that the issue would be easier to resolve if they were dealing with a bank.
The lesson? It’s about the member. If they’re happy, their blog postings will reflect this, but if they have trouble with their credit union, the virtual world will hear about it. But we can learn from their messages and how others respond in their comments.
Credit Unions as the “Cool Kids”
A posting about an upcoming Battle of the Bands competition at the University of Iowa mentions the local credit union sponsor. Another post mentions free tickets to a college basketball game thanks to the local credit union. A third post about someone’s day mentions they stopped by the local credit union to sell Girl Scout cookies. You get the picture - credit unions are serving the community. If credit unions are associated with things community members enjoy doing, they automatically have a seat at the “cool kids” table as both the community’s trusted financial institution and community participant.
The growing prevalence of blog posts about credit unions as well as the examples mentioned above reflect the need to pay closer attention to what’s being said about credit unions online. Members and communities are paying attention to what credit unions are doing for them. Are we paying attention to what they are saying back?
To learn more about how credit unions have joined the conversation through blogging, watch our recent educational seminar on “Blogging Basics: A New Way to Approach the Member Experience”.