Posts Tagged Austin

>Awesome Austin

Posted by on Friday, 14 December, 2007

>Well it is more than a week since the YES Summit and I am still reveling in what a wonderful experience it was! As a first time moderator of this conference, I had a lot of fun getting to know many of you, listening to the diverse group of speakers, and seeing the results of the interactive sessions. Simply awesome!

I have been involved with many conferences throughout my years at CUNA, but I have to say that this conference was different. Not only were there amazing ideas tossed around, not only were we all invited to participate in a social community that is groundbreaking (in my eyes) but we had fun doing it! The conference was a great mix of information AND interaction. The passion that you have for credit unions is amazing. The enthusiasm that you have to reach young members is stunning. Thank you for your energy! (And I thought trainers were an excitable bunch… I hadn’t met the ‘marketers’ yet.)

As others before me have pointed out, the hard part is implementing what you learned. I have faith in you, in the credit union movement and in the YES community that awesome things will result from our 3 days together in Austin. Know that we are here for you- to help you along the way, to answer questions and just to facilitate discussion. You knocked our socks off last week with your innovative and insightful approaches to the challenges we gave you.
We can’t wait to see what you come up with in the coming year!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

>Execution is the Challenge

Posted by on Monday, 10 December, 2007

>Welcome Home YES Summit attendees! It was fun to spend time with you last week! I wish I could have met more of you personally.

Last week some of you were exposed to new concepts and ideas. Others had those concepts and ideas reinforced. We are now five days removed from the conference. According to my experience, much of the emotional high from participating in a conference with people from all over the country has now dissipated as we re-enter our business and personal lives.

What have you retained from the YES Summit? Have you begun to move your credit union to attract young professionals as members and employees? Have you begun to develop a plan that you may execute?

Of course you are saying, “Wait a minute Mr. RecruiterGuy! I just got back to my office. Besides we have the entire end of year and Holiday responsibilities going on!”

Every day past the end of the conference where you do not begin to plan and implement those ideas lessens the chance that you will. Other day to day priorities will take the place of the good intentions, just like our New Years’ Resolutions.

In our conversation, I mentioned “A Players”, “B Players”, and “C Players”. Which are you? Are you strategic like the “A Players”? Or are you more tactical like the “B Players” – or biding time like the “C Players”?

The credit unions that will survive as the credit unions of the future realize the importance of new members and new employees. You are either growing or you are dying. The good news – and the potential bad news – is that you do hold the future of your credit union in your hands. Which will it be?

It is one thing to embrace new concepts and ideas. It is quite another to execute a plan.

Good Luck!

RecruiterGuy is Bill Humbert, Principal of The Humbert Group, LLC and VP/President-elect of the Iowa Senior Human Resource Association. Check out his Web site at

>YES LIVE: Post-Game Show

Posted by on Friday, 7 December, 2007

>The YES Summit cast and crew are back in Madison. The whole team will be posting their thoughts on the Summit over the next week or so.

I still can not believe that on Wednesday, we were sitting outside in the beautiful Austin sun eating lunch and then upon returning home, I was shoveling piles of snow and ice. Talk about a rude return!

Anyway, my fingers have finally healed (half joking…) after days of furious live-blogging with my colleague Philip at the Summit. I think we were both a bit unprepared for how laborious it is to craft a coherent post immediately and to try to do it during the following session, which was distracting because they all were so interesting. But the response so far has been amazing. Thanks to all who have read and commented – our site stats have been off the charts.

The Summit was refreshing – I learned a ton and am always inspired after seeing a room of a hundred get energized about credit unions. Every attendee I met seemed to have a number of great ideas leaving the conference!

Also, most impressive has been the response to the YES CU Community, the social network built for the conference and to facilitate an ongoing discussion of better serving young adults. Since something like this has never been done before in the movement, I really had no benchmarks, but just in the last few days, I’ve seen the membership grow (far past the summit attendee roster number and growing every day), friending going on all over, profiles being customized (I didn’t even know that you could do that, so news to me!), commenting and commenting everywhere, group discussions, and some great forum threads.

I think this is just the beginning of something wonderful. Like I said in my presentation – the YES CU Community is the cooperative principle “cooperation among cooperatives” on a new scale…for a new generation.

Thank you to everyone who attended for your enthusiasm and passion for the future of the credit union movement. Onward!

>YES LIVE: Recruiting Young Adult Board Members to Attract Younger Members

Posted by on Wednesday, 5 December, 2007


On the heels of Bill Humbert’s presentation on recruiting and retaining young adult employees, Justin Ho stressed the importance of recruiting young adults at the board level to attract 18-to-30s. Justin is a 20-year-old board member at the USC Credit Union and also a Gen-Y/Marketing Consultant for Glatt Consulting, LLC.

After Justin joined the board of USC CU, he surveyed the other members to note how they thought the dynamics of the board changed. They replied that Justin offered more enthusiastic and honest opinions as well as fresh perspectives and unexpected questions.

According to Justin’s research, young adults can be segmented into three groups in regards to financial institutions:

  1. Rate/reward whores
  2. Relationship building/service oriented
  3. Oblivious to financial institutions

He emphasized the importance of using internet-based incentives to reach out to young adults.

Justin noted that the best place to target Gen-Y is in college. They use the internet more than any other generation, and online banking is the most popular finance web tool. Also relevant is that seven in every ten college students keep the banking provider they use in college. Some examples of how USC CU reaches out to students is to offer free money management classes on campus and leverage Facebook heavily.

The key take-aways from Justin’s presentation:

  1. Recruiting younger members starts at the board level
  2. Having younger board members can bring your credit union a long way
  3. Key to recruiting members of Gen-Y is to first understand them
  4. Online resources have made it extremely easy (and cheap!) to access members of this demographic if utilized correctly.

When asked earlier why serving 18-to-30s is so important for credit unions, Justin responded:

The credit union movement will come to an end within a few generations if credit unions to make themselves relevant to this demographic. The biggest wealth transfer in history is about to occur and credit unions need to position themselves to take advantage of it!

>YES LIVE: Shopping for Gen Y Employees

Posted by on Wednesday, 5 December, 2007

>As prospective and actual employees, 18-to-30s present a special challenge for your credit union

We’ve heard of how different Gen Y is from previous generations. We’ve heard how much they value their personal time. They tend to pick where they want to leave and look for a job there. They tend to favor the lifestyle side of the “work-life balance,” and they tend to want to make measurable contributions quickly.

Bill Humbert, a headhunter who has been a credit union member since before 18-to-30s were born, had plenty of advice for YES Summit attendees for finding those demanding and potentially valuable employees. Like any consumer, he explained, when you shop for workers, you should set goals according to a prospecting strategy, and evaluate candidates almost as you would comparison shop for a new car.

In recruiting, 18-to-30s present the biggest challenge from a marketing/advertising perspective. Gen Y uses a difference communication media, as everyone knows. YouTube, blogs, and social networks such as Facebook are more productive for prospecting for 18-to-30 employees than traditional newspaper ads.

As a bonus, social network prospecting gives employers a unique opportunity to assess the character of individual applicants. Because the members of Gen Y are so brazen about publicizing details of their private lives, employers often can toss out the applications of the poorest prospects, without wasting time interviewing them.

In retention, the biggest challenge Gen Y presents is in its expectation of immediate expectations. Humbert said, “In the old days, you started on the line. Then you might move up to line supervisor, then line manger. Today, because of technology, those steps don’t exist anymore. 18-to-30 employees need to create their own career paths.”

You can assist by “hiring them for their strengths and training to improve their weaknesses,” Humbert said. As an example, he cited General Electric as being a model for professional development. It offers employees six-month rotations throughout organization. At end of two years, based on their on-the-job experiences, you and those more-experienced employees are in a better position to find the best job for their talents.

Humbert also offered the following general recruiting tips

• Make sure that you project the right image as an employer. Your credit union is selling itself in the employment marketplace when it hires. Brand yourself as an employer. “If you don’t, the employment marketplace will brand you,” Humbert said.

• Train your managers to hire–Humbert estimates that 70% to 80% of them have never been taught how to interview or select. “A players—the top 10% of your workforce—are high-impact performers. B players, 60% of your employees, are not the most strategic thinkers. They’re good, solid performers and decent managers who get things done. C players, however, are the employees that you should have gotten rid of or never hired in the first place.

“A players tends to hire As, B players hire Bs, and C players hire Ds, Es, and Fs. But worst of all, As and Bs can also hire Cs, Ds, Es, and Fs if they haven’t been trained.”

• Don’t ask interview questions automatically. Listen and follow up (for example, “you say you’re looking for a position for the next 5 to 6 years, why did you leave your last job before that?)

• Communicate your passion for working at your credit union

• Let your hiring manager do reference checks. That person is a specialist in extracting the information you need to confirm applicant claims.

Humbert is enthusiastic about the value of 18-to-30s as employees. “The generation before mine went to the moon. My generation put a computer on every desk. Gen Y is bringing us immediate information, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll deliver next.

>YES LIVE: Create your own Young Adult

Posted by on Tuesday, 4 December, 2007


What kind of services (credit, investment, insurance, etc) would you offer for an individual with the following characteristics?:

  • Male, 27
  • $50,000 yr income
  • Single parent of 2 children, ages 1 and 3
  • Rents apartment
  • $5,000 in mutual funds
  • $250 in savings
  • $8,000 in individual stocks
  • $5,000 in credit card debt
  • $110,000 student loans
  • Would like to purchase new car $20,000 – 25,000 in 6 months
  • Wants to pay off debt in 5 yrs

The afternoon’s activities revolve around money management with each table creating three, unique young adult profiles using a mix of cards by random that contained (such as the one above). Then, the groups brainstorm and identify the financial products and services most appropriate for that unique individual.

This exercise is interesting because it’s easy to generalize young adults as needing the same types of products and services, but each individual’s needs are unique. Some young adults may have similar characteristics but have very different needs or financial situations.

The groups proved to be very creative in their responses. And what recommendations did the group come up with for the above example?:

  • Auto bill-pay
  • Credit card consolidation (unsecured)
  • Auto buying
  • Checking/direct deposit
  • Financial advisor
  • Budgeting
  • College savings

Before the group adjourned for the day, Jeff Farver of San Antonio FCU walked away with a brand new Ipod Shuffle. He was the first to answer the trivia question – what was the 1st CU founded in the U.S. and where? Answer: St. Mary’s Bank in Manchester, NH.

A big thanks goes out to Gilbert Niimi of Silver State Schools Credit Union for graciously donating the Ipod.

>YES LIVE: Pocketful of Credit Union

Posted by on Tuesday, 4 December, 2007

>Bumper sticker of the future: Stop texting your *&^$%!# financial institution and drive!

Golden 1 Credit Union (Sacramento, Calif.) is in the forefront of the technological wave of the future—mobile banking. Paul Sidhu, Golden 1’s manager of electronic commerce, shared his credit union’s experience with connecting its members to their accounts via their cell phones.

Golden 1 has offered text-messaging access since 2000 and wireless banking since 2002. Both options are free and allow members to:
• View account balances and transaction history
• Transfer funds between accounts
• Pay bills
Users also can look up share and loan rates and branch and ATM locations, and send emails to credit union staff.

According to Sidhu, the credit union provides security by not allowing high-risk transactions and features. For example, “there’s no way you can save your password on the phone,” he said.

Golden 1 has 680,000 members, 180,000 of whom are active users of online banking. Without advertising its wireless access option, the credit union has drawn 10,000 mobile banking users. Of the 1,600 using text messaging, 7% use bill pay and 40% are under the age of 30. Of the 8,500 wireless users, 60% use bill pay and 31% are under the age of 30.

In 2001, Wells Fargo pulled the plug on its wireless program which was limited to Sprint or Palm Pilot users. Learning from this mistake, Golden 1 chose to:
• Use a format that works on all cell phones
• Allow any carrier
• Design a simple format that is east to maintain
• Include a text-messaging option

Although mobile banking is still in its infancy, it is only a matter of time before it becomes widespread. In the U.S. 73% population owns a cell phone; among 18-to30s, the percentage rises to 90%. More surprisingly, 84% of cell phones have Internet ability, with an average life expectancy of 18 months.

And in some parts of the world with very limited computer networking infrastructure, such as Kenya, cell phones promise to leapfrog computer networks entirely to provide low-cost wireless transactions. In that regard, Verizon One’s recent announcement that it will eventually allow its customers to use its wireless network with other companies’ devices, software, and applications is a big step toward the inevitability of universal mobile access.

>YES LIVE: Payday Loans & Young Adults – Opportunities for Credit Unions

Posted by on Tuesday, 4 December, 2007


Speaking was Lois Kitsch, National Program Manager of Real Solutions at the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF). More info:

(Full disclosure: In my previous job at NCUF, I worked with Lois and she is an amazing person – one of the most passionate and dedicated professionals in the credit union movement today.)

Lois discussed products and services that are used by unbanked consumers including millions by young adults. Attendees also heard how predatory lending products (such as payday loans) are used by Gen Y borrowers and how credit unions can offer products that not only beat the competition but help these young members move onto a more financially secure future.

Did you know?

Credit unions should think about the following when deciding to offer payday loans:

  • Target market
  • Product mix: Delivery system
  • Educator/mentor
  • Finding Gen Y Employees
  • Resources

Before the summit, I asked Lois about the importance of credit unions serving young adults and she emphasized the following:

Remember that not all of Gen Y are college students. In this country today, only about 70% of high school seniors actually graduate from high school (7,000 students per day drop out). This dramatically decreases their earning power over the life times. Credit unions must be ready to offer low-cost financial products for this very diverse market niche.

One of my favorite leaders in this area that Lois mentioned is Prospera CU’s GoodMoney Program – GoodMoney is an innovative collaboration with Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin and Financial Information Service Center which placed credit union services in a Goodwill retail store. Here is a short video on GoodMoney:

>YES LIVE: “When you say ‘bank’ to a Hispanic person…”

Posted by on Tuesday, 4 December, 2007

>Credit unions will not succeed with working-poor Hispanics, especially the 18-to-30s, unless they engage with them culturally, according to Ed Gomez, executive director of, in Austin. That means understanding the essential psychology that drives their everyday behaviors.

As Gomez put it, “Most second, third, fourth generation middle-class Hispanics don’t even speak Spanish. They’re not the Hispanic market, they’re flag-waving Americans,” which he pegged as 8% to 10% of the Latin American immigrant population. “The most common 18-to-30 Hispanics are young couples who have been in the United States three to 20 years,” Gomez added.

Serving these people requires understanding the “culture of poverty,” the alien background that prevents people from understanding the “hidden rules of engagement.”

Mainstream Americans intuitively know what’s expected of them in different social setting, for example, what a business casual dress code means. Unless your staff is “culturally competent,” they won’t be able to overcome the mistrust that recent Hispanic immigrants have of institutions.

The model of a culturally competent financial institution? “When you say ‘bank’ to a Hispanic person,” Gomez said, “they say ‘Wells Fargo.’”

The California-based Wells Fargo succeeds with young Hispanics because it hired Hispanic staff, including management, and engaged the market by participating in local community events. It made its presence felt on the personal basis and used the relationships it built with community leaders to design products specifically suited to people who operate outside the majority economy.

Gomez explained, “Hispanics function on a cash basis. People in most Latin American countries don’t trust the government because of a history of monetary devaluations. They fear that financial institutions are going to steal their money.” The cash culture combined with the culture of poverty create the seemingly incongruous but common sight of day laborers flashing large-denomination bills.

“If you have a $100 bill, it shows authority, that you are somebody because you have something,” Gomez said.

Here’s his advice for serving 18-to-30 Hispanics:

• Work through community insiders. As with many immigrant groups, Hispanics form enclaves to preserve their cultural identity. Credit union staff must not only speak Spanish, but also understand the hidden rules of the Hispanic culture. Only by exhibiting real knowledge can your credit union become a household name and a brand that Hispanics trust.

• Build personal relationships. Know children’s names, and the lineage of extended families.

• Design products for people that believe that money is meant to be spent. To working poor Hispanics, Gomez said, the future is the next day you get paid.

• Finally, devise a clear strategic plan to engage with the culture. Take part in local Hispanic events, be a presence on the street and in the churches. The Hispanic community has a strong spiritual base that must be respected if your credit union is going to be accepted.

>YES LIVE: Holographic Financial Experts and other Ideas

Posted by on Tuesday, 4 December, 2007


Using the information gathered during this morning’s young adult interviews, attendees worked together to develop a unique product or service for a fictitious credit union to help young adult asset building.

The groups then reported back to the room on their solutions. A theme emerged – Use technology to facilitate in the budgeting/spending process with real-time account updates.

Many of the groups had variations on that idea: the young adult has certain limits preset on their checking account for their budget. Eating out too much? When you get close to your eating out limit, you get an alert (one group even used behavioral modification and had the card shock the user if they make a frivolous purchase!). For those that stayed within their limits, incentives in the form of better savings rates, iTunes cards, or just plain cash was awarded. The tracking could be embedded on the debit/credit card or cell phone (text message or email).

Other interesting ideas:

  • A new wedding product for newlyweds with preset packages to choose from in their new lives (MatriMoney anyone?).
  • Give incentives for promoting a CU product in different ways on Facebook.
  • Give incentives for reading text messages or podcasts from the credit union on a variety of topics relating to asset building.

My favorite “out-of-the box” idea:

MyVab (Virtual Asset Builder) – Guided by a holographic financial expert (either Kramer or Susie), the young adult will be assisted in meeting their financial goals and expenses. They can have a conversation with their advisor at any time (weekly, daily, etc). The group described how a 3-D version of either Kramer or Susie could pop-up at the point of sale to talk (or argue!) about the purchase and it’s affects on the young adult’s goals. Should be ready by the year 2030.