Author Archive

Smartphone Apps, Mobile Trends and Credit Unions

Posted by on Thursday, 31 May, 2012

Did you catch this infographic about smartphone app use on Mashable a couple of weeks ago? New research from Nielsen has revealed just how much app use has skyrocketed from 2011 to 2012. Among the findings:

  • The average number of apps per smartphone has increased from 32 to 41.
  • Time spent on apps vs. the Web has jumped from 73% to 81%.
  • The number of Android and iOS users has taken a huge leap, from 38 million to 84 million.

How do these findings affect the credit union industry? Some CU-specific research provides more insight into the increase in smartphone app and mobile use and the implications this has for credit unions.

According to the “Measuring Social Media Success in Credit Unions” report from the Filene Research Institute:

  • Overall, 15.5% of credit unions report that they have developed a smartphone app.
  • About 21.3% of credit unions that use social media use smartphone apps.
  • App use has increased throughout the year, with 13.9% of all credit unions developing apps.

And from CUNA’s 2012-2013 Credit Union Environmental Scan (E-Scan) Report:

  • More consumers will use mobile devices to obtain loans, particularly younger members. The average age of a credit union member is 47, but the average age of users of CUNA Mutual’s Smartphone Loan technology is 29. In addition, completion rates for CUNA Mutual’s mobile loan application are more than 50%, compared to 40% to 50% for all Internet loan applications.
  • In a survey of 450 credit union CEOs and senior executives, 48% listed mobile banking as one of their top tech projects for 2012. In addition, 39% prioritized mobile payments.
  • While mobile payment transactions already total $240 billion annually, the market is expected to double or triple in the next five years, according to Juniper Research. By 2013, one in five cellphones worldwide will use near field communication (NFC) technology; by 2014, Google estimates that 50% of cellphones will use NFC technology.

It’s clear that mobile technology is booming, and an increasing number of credit unions are diving into the world of smartphone applications, mobile lending and mobile payments. Is your credit union developing new mobile technology or experiencing success with mobile tools? Let us know in the comments!

Yes, You Can Use Pinterest for Your Credit Union

Posted by on Wednesday, 29 February, 2012

This post was originally published on

To pin or not to pin? As the popularity of Pinterest continues to grow, that is the question many credit union professionals are starting to ask.

If you’re not already familiar with the website, here’s a quick rundown: Pinterest is a social bookmarking website that allows you to collect—or “pin”—content from around the Web to personalized pinboards. The usefulness for credit unions might not be immediately apparent. After all, Pinterest is practically tailor-made for brands that specialize in fashion, cooking, housewares, and other visually oriented pursuits.

So do credit unions really have a place on Pinterest? I would argue that they do—if you give some deeper thought to your current and prospective members’ motivation before diving in.

But first, let’s talk about some statistics. In terms of numbers, it making more and more sense to have a presence on Pinterest because that’s where the Web users are. Check out these insights compiled by Monetate, a provider of digital marketing and optimization tools:

  • Estimated unique visitors to Pinterest increased by 329% from September to December 2011.
  • Pinterest is now driving more Web traffic than Google+.
  • The top five tips for using Pinterest include promoting a lifestyle, using it as a focus group, crowdsourcing, running contests, and inspiring your team.

So what are some specific ways that credit unions can start pinning? The key is to tap into the goals of members, and show them how your credit union can play a vital role in helping them achieve those goals.

Think about it like this: Users typically use their boards as future inspiration. They might pin images of new cars, dream kitchens, vacation destinations, or splurge-worthy shoes. Do you notice a pattern here? Your credit union can help members work toward all of these goals. You just have to position yourself on Pinterest as their biggest financial adviser and cheerleader. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Create a collaborative pinboard of potential savings goals, and invite other users to become contributors. Encourage them to pin content related to whatever they want to save money for, and offer advice and feedback through comments.
  • Lots of pinners use Pinterest to find creative ideas for kids. Try creating a pinboard that focuses on projects or activities that teach children about money. Or, for something more lighthearted, create a pinboard dedicated to something quirky, like unique piggy banks. A quick Web search should reveal lots of fun images worth pinning.
  • Use pins to direct members to specific areas of your website. But make sure you’re actually sharing content that will genuinely interest members. For instance, does your credit union maintain a blog or write articles for members? Pin attention-grabbing images or infographics that link back to your content.

As with any form of social media, getting started with Pinterest might be a trial-and-error process at first—and that’s perfectly okay. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches and strategies to find what works best for your followers.

Have you started using Pinterest for your credit union? Share your experience with a comment!

New Facebook Marketing Guide for Your Credit Union’s Toolkit

Posted by on Friday, 6 May, 2011

Whether you’re an old pro at the Facebook game or still learning the difference between a Page and a Place, a new resource from the social-media giant can help you step up your credit union’s Facebook marketing efforts.

At the end of April, Facebook released a free Best Practice Guide for Marketing on Facebook. The 14-page guide packs a powerful punch, with step-by-step instructions for using the site’s many tools to reach specific objectives. The guide also highlights successful strategies used by real companies, as well as a comprehensive glossary of Facebook resources that’s practically tailor-made to hang up in your office–it’s a great cheat sheet!

Facebook bases the strategies contained in this resource on five guiding principles:

  1. Build a strategy that is social by design. Integrate Facebook into broader marketing efforts.
  2. Create an authentic brand voice. Provide straightforward information about your business.
  3. Make it interactive. Always engage in two-way conversations.
  4. Nurture your relationships. Understand that building relationships requires a long-term investment.
  5. Keep learning. Take advantage of the ability to get feedback from people in real time.

That’s a solid foundation for any social-media strategy.

For more great advice on Facebook marketing, download the Best Practice Guide. And if you’re tweeting for your credit union, check out our recent post on Five Twitter Accounts Your Credit Union Should Follow.

Five Twitter Accounts Your Credit Union Should Follow

Posted by on Wednesday, 13 April, 2011

By now, you’ve probably heard about the importance of engaging credit union members through social-media platforms like Twitter. Hopefully you’re already putting that advice into practice!

Getting active on Twitter is a great way to spark conversation with members and potential members, but that’s not the only benefit. Just as you want members to find value in following your tweets, you can find value for your credit union by following other relevant users.

To get you started, here are five Twitter accounts your credit union should follow to keep up with current financial issues, find useful marketing and creative tips, and ramp up social media efforts:

1. @mashable

Follow Mashable for the latest news in social media and technology. The online resource puts the spotlight on new social-media tools, best practices for online and social-media marketing, and analysis of technology usage and trends. You’re sure to find a tip (or ten!) to help your credit union navigate the digital landscape.

2. @nytimeseconomix

Tweets from the popular New York Times economics blog cover big-picture financial issues, from college enrollment trends to unemployment statistics. Following this account is an easy way to stay on top of new facts and figures that could help direct your credit union’s product offerings and strategy.

3. @CFPB

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau uses Twitter to share updates on policy and consumer issues. Follow the CFPB’s tweets to learn more about the Bureau’s evolving role, new rules and regulations, and important consumer insights. The CFPB also tweets links to consumer research and surveys, which can help your credit union understand some of the financial challenges  members may be facing.

4. @copyblogger

Want to learn how to whip up engaging content for your credit union’s website or blog? Brian Clark, CEO of Copyblogger Media, tweets helpful copywriting strategies from and around the Web. You’re sure to find some interesting, fun-to-read suggestions for effectively reaching members online.

5. @TweetSmarter

Why not round out this list with an account that can actually help you better position your credit union on Twitter? TweetSmarter offers hints for getting started on Twitter, troubleshooting, using third-party apps, and much more. Another cool perk: TweetSmarter also responds to specific questions from users.

Finally, make sure you follow CUNAverse (@CUNAverse) on Twitter to keep up with new content and other fun things we have going on. And check out all of CUNA’s social-media pages to stay connected with what’s happening in the credit union world.

Happy tweeting!