Let’s face it. Most of the products and services offered by your credit union are commodities. For example, a checking account is a checking account is a checking account. If you think you’re going to attract and retain members because you have a better checking account, you’re dreaming.
Of course, credit unions pride themselves on great service, but is that really enough? Probably not. I do some banking with Bank of America just to keep an eye on what the big guys are doing and I can tell you, they have great customer service. My United miles card is through Chase and they have great customer service, too. Credit unions may offer exceptional member service, but that may not be the differentiator you think it is.
So what can your credit union do differently?
More and more financial institutions are beginning to position themselves as providers of useful financial content. I’m not talking about PhD-level coursework in, say, mutual funds. I’m talking about brief, entertaining, quick-hit articles that offer financial information that consumers can use right now.
Back in 2017, Santander Bank won an award from the Content Marketing Institute for its implementation of this then-novel idea. Santander worked with Arnold Worldwide and Sapient Razorfish (which means it probably cost the bank a lot of money) to create its Prosper & Thrive microsite. You can read more about Prosper & Thrive and its award on The Financial Brand website, or you can see it live on the Santander site.
Alliant Credit Union has created something similar called The Money Mentor. Alliant’s financial portal uses a blog format to present its content. You can see it live on the Alliant website.
What can your credit union do if it doesn’t have the resources of a $1.6 trillion bank? Or even the resources of an $11 billion credit union?
One option is FinancialFeed, a product that my company created to put engaging financial content within reach of virtually any credit union. When we launched last year, I came up with some cockamamy asset-based pricing because, well, that’s how credit union technology is priced, right?
Not anymore. The cloud has made technology easier and cheaper to deploy, and I realized our pricing needed to reflect that. Now we have only two pricing tiers based on number of members: cheap and cheaper. Plus, we offer FinancialFeed as a monthly subscription with no long-term commitment. Best of all, we can get it set up on your website in 10 minutes. You can see it running live on the FinancialFeed website.
Is this shameless self-promotion on my part? I suppose so, but if that’s all you got out of this, you missed my point. Credit unions are hungry for ways to differentiate themselves from other financial providers. Consumers (especially millennials) are hungry for financial information that they can use today to stretch their dollars further. If your credit union offers actionable financial content – no matter where you get it from – you can satiate the needs of both your credit union and your members. In the olden days, we called that a win-win.