Students of CUNA Management School flooded the CUNA campus Monday for the annual CUNA Expo night where the future credit union leaders collaborated to come up with the next big idea that will propel the credit union movement forward.
Upon arriving, the crowd of credit union professionals split into groups based upon topics each student selected previously. Each topic focused on ways to strengthen the credit union movement, spanning a vast spectrum of issues including:
- Taking Your Career to the Next Level
- Getting Social Media Right
- Raking in the Loans
- Making Mandatory Compliance Training Fun
- Attracting Gen Y
- Increasing Credit Union Awareness
- And more
The groups were challenged to come up with a BIG IDEA that addressed their topic and submit that idea to be judged by the entire room for its originality, practicality and overall inventiveness. Pride was not the only thing on the line. Each member of the winning group, as determined by a school-wide vote, would be entered for the chance to win $3,000 scholarship dollars towards their class scholarship fund.
Oh, and the entire event was being timed. Go!
You can imagine what happened next. Talking, discussing, listening, re-thinking, talking louder, debating, and eventually, innovation. After time was called, one team member from each group expressed their group’s idea visually on a piece of paper. Explaining your idea audibly was “illegal.” The CUNA cafeteria suddenly got much more colorful wallpaper.
Now for the vote. After all ideas were posted, each student was equipped with 3 “likes” that they could assign to 3 separate ideas. You could “like” your own idea, but only once, and you had to distribute all three of your “likes.” Here are a few of the most popular ideas, as explained by the students themselves:
- BIG IDEA: Loan it Forward Program This idea is based on the fact that the cheapest and most effective advertising is WORD OF MOUTH. When a member closes a loan, at time of the loan closing, they are given a $50 Loan it Forward coupon. They give this coupon to a friend, co-worker or family member. When the friend, co-worker or family member applies for a loan, the original member gets $50! Then at the time of their closing, the new member gets a Loan it Forward coupon to pass out and the cycle continues. With this promotion, the credit union’s loan volume will grow.
- BIG IGEA: Attract & Retain Young Members To keep pace with the large number of members, especially young members, converting to mobile banking, credit unions should develop financial applications to make it easier to access the financial resources they need on their smart phone. Some applications to develop include: Pay Merchant, Bill Pay, FaceTime with a credit union service representative, financial calculators, remote deposits, Pay Book and more. These resources will please existing members and attract new ones.
- And the winner! BIG IDEA: Member Created Ad Contest In order to increase credit union awareness, CUNA and state leagues will host a national advertising contest. Participants will be challenged to create their own ads praising the credit union difference and will submit their entries by uploading their advertisement onto YouTube. The winning advertisement, as determined by either votes or views, will be featured in their state league’s credit union campaign and receive $25,000 in prize money. Runners up will have the chance to win 1 of 500 iPads.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. After last night’s event I can confidently say that the credit union movement’s future could not be in better (or more enthusiastic) hands. Watch for more big idea posts soon.