Is this bank credit union-ing better than we are?

“We have to appreciate that as a bank we’re not a leisure activity and people come to us to do things. This could be to meet a new financial need or service a product the customer already holds. They are journeys which may be short or long. Our objective should always be to make them as effortless as possible.”

– Giles Richardson, Head of Analytics for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

In a recent article for, Giles Richardson, Head of Analytics for the Royal Bank of Scotland, sounded the rallying cry for every financial institution that will still be around in 10 years (and an obituary for those that won’t). “When we start thinking about people less as customers, who on balance like what we do, and more as guests in our brand we will probably be at the right level of obsessiveness. In a world where your brand is your customer’s last experience of you, nothing else will do.” It’s safe to say that Giles gets it.

He frames the topic of customer service with a single question: “What will it take to win this front-of-glass relationship?” It’s not a Facebook page with links to your share draft account. It’s not a mass email campaign for your Skip-A-Pay promotion for the upcoming holidays. So, what CAN win the war for attention? Richardson suggests “our touches must be relevant and value-adding, and our journeys must be effortless to the point where you wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”

For credit unions, building successful relationships will require a shift in mindset that goes beyond “This is what has always worked.” Most calls we receive from prospective clients cite a common challenge. “We need to do something new, but we don’t know what that is.” As we address that challenge, two words from Richardson’s article stand out to me:


Think about your ideal member. Now, instead of asking if your products are relevant, ask if your processes are relevant. It’s time to toss the Golden Rule out the window. It’s not about treating others the way you want to be treated. It’s about treating your members the way THEY want to be treated.


Product pushing isn’t value-adding. Even though they have more data than many other industries, credit unions routinely fail to use it. If you know where your members shop and you know where they have loans, why continue sending mass emails and product pushing? Instead, find out what your members need and design an experience around educating them on the solutions you can provide.

Integrate these two ideas into your 2018 marketing strategy, and you’ll begin creating an effortless experience that will have your members asking, “Why would I go anywhere else?”

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald is president of Your Marketing Co. A marketing firm that started serving credit unions nearly a decade ago, offering a wide range of services including web design, branding, ... Web: Details