Posts Tagged financial education

Live From The 1: Using the Power of Social Networking to Build Your Credit Union

Posted by on Tuesday, 13 July, 2010

Everyone knows about social media, and talks about being hands-on and interactive. But what does this mean and how do you do it? Some people (& credit unions…) sensing a huge business potential throw money at new online opportunities. But speaker Tara Hunt says, “Money isn’t the capital of choice in online communities, it’s social capital, known as ‘whuffie,’ that drives these new engines.”

Tara, the author of The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business, says that in the social media space, market capital flows from having high social capital. Without high levels of “whuffie” (I can say that word all day BTW), you lose your connections to online communities, and any recommendations you make will be seen as spam.

The first part of her presentation echoed Brent Dixon’s yesterday. Viral social media content is mostly emotional, positive…awe-inspiring. People are sharing personal information and feelings like never before via social media (even their location – gasp!). The social web is growing and changing the way we interact with each other.

One particularly interesting finding she mentioned is that social networking affects the brain like falling in love – if a company or brand raises our oxytocin levels, we are more likely to connect with them.

Some great examples and videos Tara showed the group:

Tara’s final words – “This stuff is important. All you need is love. May the force be with you.”

Ode to My Credit Union: Becoming Your Members’ Go-To Resource

Posted by on Friday, 11 June, 2010

Tracy Anderson

From Tracy Anderson:

I have to admit that my personal finance skills have never been great.  Sure, my parents encouraged me to budget and tried to reinforce the importance of saving for a rainy day.   It wasn’t until I found myself buried with student loans and other “adult” expenses just like many other college grads that I finally cracked down on my spending, and created a personal budget.

I received plenty of help from my credit union to get my budget on track through categorized expense tracking, calculators, personal meetings and and tips on their Web site.  The small amount of personal attention made them my go-to resource for any questions or future financial assistance.

While it is great to have these resources now, I often wish I had been fully engaged with my finances from an earlier age.  I didn’t truly grasp the concept of how much life could cost until I was out on my own – thrown into the real world!

Younger generations are really struggling with money management skills much like older members, and the economy hasn’t made life easier for anyone.  This is evident by a recent article in Credit Union Magazine stating that bankruptcy filings in March of 2010 represented the highest monthly consumer filing, reaching 149,268!  American Bankruptcy Institute(ABI) Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano states, “The sustained economic pressures of unemployment coupled with high pre-existing debt burdens are a formula for consumer filings to surpass 1.5 million filings.”

Many members are feeling lost and unsure of what their next step should be, so now is the time for credit unions to sweep in and help.  While you can help your current members get back on their feet, you also have the ability to be known as the source of good personal finance habits for potential members and prevent the financial issues many people currently face.

What kinds of things are you doing to be the trusted, go-to resource for your current and future members?

Tracy Anderson is Marketing Communications Specialist for the Credit Union National Association.

VIDEO: A Passion for Youth Financial Literacy

Posted by on Thursday, 3 June, 2010

Hard working credit union staff and enthusiastic people behind-the-scenes here at CUNA are what drive successful efforts such as the National Youth Savings Challenge.

This year, the National Youth Savings Challenge set records for both the number of youth savers and the number of new youth savings accounts.  Across the U.S. 168,438 young members (up 21.6% from 2009) deposited $24,811,741 with 10,385 new youth savings accounts opened (up 4.4% from 2009).

What motivates CUNA staff to go the extra mile for youth financial literacy? Watch this video…

You can see how personal experiences and a passion for youth financial literacy motivate those who lead CUNA’s youth financial literacy efforts. It’s more than a “job” to Lin, Rena, and Philip… their role at CUNA is something much deeper than that. To these folks, their job is about making a difference and helping credit unions help their members.

What personal experiences and enthusiasm drive you in your career? What youth financial literacy efforts from your credit union are you proud of?

Growing Credit Unions

Posted by on Thursday, 13 May, 2010

Recently, CUNA CPD had the pleasure of having three guest panelists attend our department-wide staff meeting. The guests represented various aspects of the credit union system and included Jim Drogue, VP of Credit Union Development at the Wisconsin Credit Union League, Fritz Shunke, Director at Summit Credit Union and Mike Long, Executive VP at UW Credit Union.

Each of the panelists spent a few minutes talking about their role within the credit union system, and the challenges they face…the common concern for all three? Growing membership! It is a problem they face, and a problem that many of you likely face.

In 2009, when many credit unions were struggling to keep up with changes in regulations and the overarching challenges brought on by the recession, UWCU added 28,000 new members! Considering that their total membership is more than 145,000, this statistic is pretty impressive (that translates to nearly 20% growth).

How did UWCU do it? And in 2009 nonetheless? They did it by being who they say they are: People Helping People. 

They let current events do the talking. In the past two years, banks, in general, have gotten a bad rap. Of course, bad news for banks= good news for credit unions. News outlets such as the Today Show, CBSNews, MSNMoney, CNN, and Newsweek encouraged consumers who were dismayed by the “big bank bailouts” to entrust their money with credit unions. Movements such as Move Your Money popped up… inviting the general public to do just that. (Check out comments posted by “movers” on the Testimonials page. Your credit union might even be one mentioned!)

My Favorite Bumper Sticker

They send the right messages to existing and future members. For UWCU, this includes member surveys and other correspondence that say:  “Our members’ interest always comes first.”  Billboards around town are simple, yet honest: “We are always looking out for members.” Simple, yet powerful.

They show the credit union difference.  UWCU cares about their members. This means they want to provide members with good value, built on a foundation of service excellence. How do they do this? Through conversations and caring.

UWCU empowers its employees to find out what challenges individual members are facing and how the credit union might help them with those challenges. They encourage staff to cultivate meaningful relationships with members and tailor their service to fit the members’ needs, circumstances and financial goals.

 This involves:

  • Offering an array of reasonably priced and well-designed products and services;
  • Delivering technology systems that provide members a high level of convenience and control; and
  • Providing people with the information and understanding they need to make good financial decisions.


They attract “Members for Life.” This is actually the name of their internal training program and it is a name that fits. The goal of the program is to provide a service experience for members that exceeds their expectations, provides value and unbiased advice, and is consistent across the company. How do they fare? According to Rob Van Nevel, Assistant Vice President of Member Services, “more than 98% of our members say we meet or exceed their expectations.” I am one of those members.

I became a member of UWCU when I was still in high school. (Luckily, my mother steered me in the right direction at a very early age…thanks Mom!) More than fifteen years later, I can honestly say that I LOVE MY CREDIT UNION.

My first auto loan in 2003...for this Nissan Altima!

I love Cory Poole, who helped me with my first car loan. Not only did Cory explain the loan process carefully and answer all of my questions, once the deal was sealed he walked me out to the parking lot to check out my “new” used Altima. It took just a few minutes out of his day but with that one act, Cory made me a Member for Life. He was the first person I called when my husband and I began “condo shopping” and he made the mortgage loan process a lot less scary.

I love Beth Grosskopf, who helped me lock in an amazing rate on my most recent car loan. As if that weren’t enough, she helped my husband and I consolidate some other loans so we could pay them off faster, and at a special rate.  

In addition to the people, I LOVE UW Web Branch—in fact, I might have a problem. I am on Web Branch every day, managing my money and watching my savings grow. I love the new incorporation of Money Management Tools and I secretly hope that it was the suggestion I submitted in 2009, that brought this amazing tool to life. Why? Because I know UWCU actually listens to their members. For that, and so many other reasons, I LOVE MY CREDIT UNION! And I’ve never heard anyone say that about their bank. 

What about you? What is your credit union doing to grow membership and retain members for life?

>What is a "Checking Account?"

Posted by on Monday, 18 February, 2008

>In the age of plastic and electronic bill pay…who writes checks?

Is the term “checking account” itself a stumbling block to engaging young adults? Yeah, “free checking” is all well and good to advertise, but many online and card wielding folks might think, well, I don’t write checks so who cares?

Seriously, long term strategy: at what point is the term “checking account” rendered meaningless? I write probably 1 or 2 checks every few months – there is going to come a time when a rebranding is in order.

What does that look like and how can CUs own it?

>Let’s Hear It for Some Old White Men

Posted by on Friday, 5 October, 2007

>Last year’s YES Summit keynoter, young entrepreneur and author Ramit Sethi, has some great personal finance advice for his peers in the online version of U.S. News & World Report. In an interview titled Financial Tips for 20-Somethings, Sethi boils his message down to three recommendations: start investing early, spend strategically, and ignore investment hype.

Ramit, first on his popular web site I Will Teach You to Be Rich, and now in print (most recently he co-wrote “Recruit or Die: How Any Business Can Beat the Big Guys in the War for Young Talent”), has made a name for himself by cutting through conventional wisdom.

In his U.S. News interview with Kimberley Palmer, Ramit rightfully deplores the over-reliance on tired latte-bashing platitudes “taught by old white men for old white men for way too long.”

I had to laugh, then, when Ramit cited one of his investment heroes— Warren Buffett. Looks like old white men still have something sensible to say.