By Donya Parrish
Basketball fans know that March means hours of watching basketball, and, well… busted brackets. March Madness is always exciting and having two western teams heading to the Final Four makes it seem a little more personal. Anyone have Gonzaga or Oregon to take it all?
Living in the north, I think the end of March also signals a big sigh of relief that winter is over and any storms or weather now will be short-lived. This was a winter I think we are all happy to say goodbye to! If you have been at a home improvement store lately, you can see the excitement and buzz of new projects. Seems there are contractor vehicles in nearly every neighborhood I drive through. The big question is, is your credit union involved in helping members finance their new deck, expanded landscaping, or remodel project? Do they know about the products your credit union offers to help them?
Chances are, a lot of that activity is going on over weekends or in the evening when your credit union is closed. Borrowers are savvy and doing online research on nearly every product or decision they make. A recent CUNA Mutual Group article As Car Shopping Gets More Convenient, Lending Gets More Difficult summarized it well by stating “Borrowers want to easily access the information they need to make a decision – from researching rates and terms, through the application process, to approval and ultimately the closing. If your lending process isn’t convenient, borrowers will simply find a better option, meaning your credit union lost a potential loan with little to no interaction with the borrower.”
While the article was specific to car buying, I think it is relevant to home improvement too. As directors, your role needs to be to support advances in technology, products, and relationships that allow your staff to take the evenings and weekends off, but also give your member a credit union choice that is as easy and convenient as possible. If you haven’t shopped lately, there is no question that financing is the first thing on the minds of most sales persons. They care that your members love their credit union, but they value their bottom line and incentive programs more. If you haven’t experienced the process, it is hard to understand how difficult they make it to say no.
So, as spring emerges in the coming weeks, I wish you a successful Final Four. An understanding of barriers your credit union may be unexpectedly placing in front of borrowers is also on my list for you. Let me know what you find out. But, don’t blame me if you come home with a home improvement store credit card or shiny new car. After all, it is just so easy to do!