A Direct Line - A Blog addressing issues and topics of interest for Montana credit union board members
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A Direct Line Blog

A blog addressing issues and topics of interest for Montana credit union board members. Read a new post every week.

Member Momentum

This month, CUNA kicked off their 100 Million Member campaign. They estimate that sometime in the next few weeks, the 100-millionth person will join a credit union in the United States! That is very exciting, but there is more work to be done. Your credit union should have a specific strategy to be increasing your membership. Consider this: the number of consumers who are "unbanked" (using no financial institution) or frequenting providers of high cost predatory products is large -- nearly 10 million according to a 2011 FDIC report. These are all potential credit union members.

Growing Awareness of Credit Unions

During the financial crisis, many consumers realized they needed to have a high level of trust with their financial institution. Bank Transfer Day was a campaign started by a frustrated consumer that was effective at bringing attention to credit unions. Membership growth has been steadily climbing ever since at credit unions.

Montana membership growth rates are lagging neighboring states and national trends as shown in the NCUA Map Review. Montana is in the 0-1.5% category, while Idaho is over 6%. What’s your plan to build awareness of your credit union?

Using Data to Target Your Message

As board members, you should always be looking toward ways to serve and reach more consumers. That includes analyzing who you currently serve and targeting those you want to serve with products, locations, and marketing efforts. For example, we hear a lot of board members say they want to serve young members, but what have you done to make your credit union relevant and accessible to them?

You may consider specifically targeting women as a recent report revealed that 41% of women were the primary financial decision-makers. Depending on what the data reveals about your community, you may also consider targeting minorities or those just starting their married life.

One tool for understanding where your current members reside is Project Zip Code. This online application is run against your member database to show what zip code your current members live in. Run it regularly to see trends in growth and find potential locations for ATM or branch locations.

Growing Your Membership

Whatever your plan for the future, make sure that your board recognizes and regularly discusses member growth. CUNA recently released the next E-scan which has many strategic ideas to consider. Making your community aware of your credit union and "in the door" is step one. Then work on expanding the number of services each member uses. Having members consider the credit union their primary financial services provider is a win-win for the credit union, the member, and the community.

Donya Parrish is the VP-Dues Supported Services for the Montana Credit Union Network. She would welcome any questions or comments on this material. You can email Donya or call her at 800-745-5546, ext. 122.

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