Posts Tagged money

>Blogging 101

Posted by on Monday, 2 July, 2007


It’s Christopher here and I have a few announcements about the YES Summit blog:

  • There will be more updates - The 2007 YES Summit is drawing near and Gen Yers still need to be served by credit unions. We know the blog hasn’t been updated in two months and we are sorry.
  • Josh and I are now the main bloggers. And there will be special guests, so stay tuned!

To better serve Generation Y, you have to speak their language. A huge part of that is using (and understanding) emerging technology in your credit union to serve your members. I thought it might be useful then to start a series of posts to both introduce folks to “Web 2.0″ and maybe even deepen somebody’s understanding of it.

Today it’s blogs.

So your CEO says your credit union should have a blog – everyone else has one (89.5 million actually…). What now?

First, sit and think. Who’s going to post? Who’s going to monitor it? What are you going to write about? Don’t think you can just get away with posting your press releases – that’s not a blog and no one will read it. Blogging is a “conversation.” It’s:

“a fluid, dynamic medium, more akin to a “conversation” than to a library — which is how the Web has often been described in the past. With an increasing number of people reading, writing, and commenting on blogs, the way we use the Web is shifting in a fundamental way. Instead of primarily being passive consumers of information, more and more Internet users are becoming active participants. Weblogs allow everyone to have a voice. ( Read more blogging basics here @ Technorati, the recognized blog authority on the net…)

More blogging basics:

So then what? Here is a great article from ePhilanthropy on “Implementing a Successful Blog,” starting with setting it up. It’s easy. Words of wisdom – “The key to a successful debut is to connect with the target audience and engage them. The quickest way to connect is to hit a hot button or to give a peek behind the corporate curtain.”

What is your angle? Transparency is big now - Have employees post what it’s really like to work at your CU (Verity CU recently launched a good example of this – check it out here). Start capturing stories of helping members. Take videos of them too and post on YouTube to embed in your blog (by the way, just posting your commercials on YouTube isn’t going to win any members either). Here are more ways you can use blogs. Just remember, this isn’t about talking at your readers, it’s engaging them in conversation. As Brian Solis recently wrote in a very informative post at PR 2.0, blogs are:

“not effective when used as a corporate platform for marketing messages. And also, they’re not a channel for featuring ghostwritten posts for company executives. The best corporate blogs are genuine and designed to help people. Make sure to pay attention to the comments as well. Some of the best conversations take place in the comments section as people react to what you wrote as well as the feedback from their peers.”

And comment on other people’s or businesses’ blogs too. Very important. Both to bring people back to your blog and to enhance your net reputation. It’s also good practice.

And don’t forget – blogging (n)etiquette:

That’s it – One rule of thumb is your posts shouldn’t be loooooong. Also, you should update often (Again, we are sorry). If I forgot anything important, you can leave it in the comments section.

>What have YOU been doing since the 2006 YES Summit?

Posted by on Thursday, 22 February, 2007

>For those who attended the 2006 YES Summit, we want to know how your experience in San Diego has made an impact at your credit union.

As a result of attending the YES Summit, have you been able to enhance how your credit union attracts and serves the 18-to-30 demographic? What initiatives or programs are being planned for young adults? Have there been additions or improvements to your credit union’s Web site for Gen Y? What challenges and successes have you faced?

Please share your experiences by clicking on the comment link below! Your information will have a positive impact on how other credit unions can better serve the 18-to-30 demographic.

>Innovation by CU Serving Gen Y

Posted by on Tuesday, 6 February, 2007

>There was another interesting and relevant piece in CUNA News Now today:

Colorado State ECU helps young adult out of a jam

DENVER (2/6/07)–A credit union in Colorado is getting praise for responding to a man’s appeal on a blog for help in dealing with his problems at a car dealership.

Melissa Sexe of Colorado State Employees CU, based in Denver, will be featured on a future blog at, a personal finance blog for young adults, for volunteering to contact the man about his options.

The site is hosted by Ramit Sethi, a speaker from the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA’s) recent YES Summit on marketing to young adults.

A blogger, “John,” wrote that he decided he couldn’t afford a car he had just bought. He wanted to return it to the dealer because of a high annual percentage rate but ran into opposition from the dealer and some stonewalling while the dealer steered him to equally expensive options.

CUNA’s director of young adult services, Josh Jones, put out the word for help. As a result, Sexe sent Sethi an e-mail volunteering to chat with the blogger to go over his options.

“Can you imagine Wells Fargo taking note of this and volunteering to help?” wrote Sethi. “This is one of the reasons I love credit unions.”

More information can be found at Sethi’s blog posts about the story here.

>Gen Y Loyalty to Credit Unions

Posted by on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007

>Hi folks!

I wanted to share the following article from a previous edition of CUNA’s News Now that may be of interest….

Young consumers faithful to CUs–if they belong

MADISON, Wis. (6/22/06)–Consumers age 18 to 35 may not know much about credit unions, but those who do depend on them as their primary financial institutions (PFIs).

Twenty-two percent of consumers age 18 to 35 use credit unions as their PFIs, while 20% of those over 35 use them, according to a survey of 1,000 people by the Independent Community Bankers of America (American Banker June 21).

Studies by Credit Union National Association (CUNA) found that consumers in the 18-29 age group are least likely to be members, least familiar with credit union products and services, but most likely to say they’re eligible to join.

Only 38% of credit union members fall within the 25-49 age group, according to CUNA’s 2006-2007 Environmental Scan (E-Scan). “Young people are less likely to use us, but when they do, they use us a lot,” said Mike Schenk, vice president of economics and statistics.
The young adults who are members and use credit unions as PFIs bring more loan business, such as used-car loans, to their credit union.

The ICBA survey found that younger consumers gave equal weight to cost of fees, interest rates and convenience of service in choosing their PFIs.

Credit unions could very well “sell by cost” the advantages of membership. Including such pertinent information on their websites would help the 30% of this Internet-savvy generation that uses the Internet to research financial institutions.

Other ways to attract this group, according to the E-Scan:

  • No-fee or low-fee checking;
  • ATM/check cards;
  • Electronic bill pay;
  • 24/7 online account access;
  • Convenient ATM locations; and
  • Trust-worthy financial advice.

>YES Summit Takes a Trip Around the Blogosphere

Posted by on Thursday, 11 January, 2007

>Here are a few examples of what is being said about the YES Summit on other blogs:

Matt Dean of Trabian (also a featured speaker at the YES Summit) posted his take on the first day of the YES Summit on OpenSourceCU. Check out what he had to say.

Also, Terrell Meek of Verity Credit Union shares a portion of her YES Summit experience with readers of Verity’s blog. Here is what she had to say.

How about you? What did you take away from the YES Summit? Was there a memorable experience you would like to share? If so, click on the “comment” link below and offer your thoughts!

>Effect of Higher Minimum Wage on Student Workers

Posted by on Friday, 15 December, 2006

>I arrived home Saturday night from the YES Summit foggy after a long flight and still dumb-founded at the student loan debt burden that our future leaders of tomorrow are carrying with them as they begin their contribution to society. Then, to add to all this, I awoke the next day to see the following headline on the front page of our local newspaper the Toledo Blade, “College Kids in Ohio Face Pay Squeeze“.

You see, in November, Ohio voters passed a minimum wage increase intended to help raise the living standards for those in the lower paying jobs such as restaurants and other businesses. The affect on students was not considered. Michigan also passed a similar law.

Many universities and colleges are now scrambling to find funding in their budgets to cover the rising costs of the student workers due to this minimum wage increase. Many simply do not have it. Several anticipate lowering the number of hours the student works that will keep their costs the same or some will not re-hire for positions that will be soon vacated. A few feel they will be able to survive with the rising enrollment or find it elsewhere in their budgets.

Students employed outside the university will probably also be affected by less hours or less jobs available. Students working while attending school, build work ethic and experience that will advance them above others when seeking employment after graduation. With rising tuition costs, what is a student to do? Where can others help?

In Ohio, there is a proposed legislation to exempt the public universities from the minimum wage increase. However, this does not cover the dilemma that the private colleges are facing. Also, Ohio’s minimum wage will adjust annually for inflation. BUT, the US Budget’s funding from the Federal Work Study Program does not. This funding has remained flat despite tuition growing at a pace more than double inflation. This funding needs to be pegged to increase with inflation also or otherwise student work hours will continue to dwindle and students will be accumulating even more debt.

Credit unions and universities need to unite to petition Congress to increase the budget for work study and also petition our local governments as well. We also need to work with local businesses to hire students and be willing work around their schedules as part-time or full-time workers or interns.

What else can we do to help our future leaders? Any suggestions or comment are welcome. I was originally going to discuss dress code and societal changes in the definition of acceptable dress in the workplace but this topic seemed much more important.

>I hate seeing young people’s eyes glaze over

Posted by on Monday, 4 December, 2006

>I want to share some of what I’ve learned from talking to thousands of young people about personal finance. Some of it isn’t pretty, but there’s a huge amount that can be done to educate young people about personal finance.

My name is Ramit Sethi and I’ll be speaking at the YES Summit on Wednesday afternoon. I’m the founder of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, a blog on personal finance and personal entrepreneurship for college students, recent grads, and everyone else. I started it while I was a sophomore at Stanford and it’s grown to have over 100,000 readers/month.

Here are some of the key things I’ve learned that I’ll be covering in my talk.

The message matters. Personal finance can be fun. I made it my goal to make it interesting and engaging. That means I mock people, I point out mistakes (including my own), and I occasionally curse. But I also talk about things that matter to young people: How much do you save by cooking at home? What’s the difference in starting to invest at age 20 vs. 30? Why do I disagree with all the personal-finance pundits who recommend only buying used cars? And is being rich really all about money? (Absolutely not.)

The messenger matters, too. Young people think of personal finance as boring drudgery. And every time they hear about personal finance, it’s either (1) some hyped article telling them “The 10 Hottest Stocks!!!” or (2) someone coming to give them a boring lecture on bond laddering and other irrelevant issues. One of the reasons I started my site was getting frustrated by all the personal-finance education out there. It’s mostly written by old white men for old white men, and young people’s eyes glaze over. I’ll talk about how I avoid this.

Don’t forget about the product. Some banks have tried to slap new marketing on an old product. Young people see right through it. Instead, they’re flocking to banks like ING and Emigrant Direct (which I personally recommend on my site–in fact, I’ve personally referred hundreds of people to ING). Why? Part of it is word of mouth spread by the insanely high interest rates. Young people seize upon the 5% interest (“10x what I’m getting at Wells Fargo?!”) and jump ship. But there are more levers you can pull besides interest rates.

There’s nothing wrong with being a little flashy. I usually write very long essays for my site. But once in a while, I put up images like this:

It’s not as nuanced as a thousand-word essay, but it grabs the attention of certain people who respond to different messages. Could you use video to reach young people? Images? Podcasts?

I’ll go into all these topics (and more) at my talk on Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 12:40pm. If you have any specific questions you’d like me to think about beforehand, please email me. I’d love to hear what’s keeping you up at night.

You can also read some of my past articles on

>Three Videos You Must Watch

Posted by on Tuesday, 28 November, 2006

What a great way to start the conversation about credit unions and the 18-to-30 demographic before the YES Summit begins!

ABC News recently aired three reports just in time to kick-off this year’s YES Summit. These videos discuss the financial situation of the 18-to-30 demographic, and offer a glimpse into the lives of two young adults symbolic of an age group increasingly known as Generation Debt. The individuals interviewed offer different viewpoints on their situation. These different situations demonstrate the varying attitudes among young adults toward financial matters and the debt they incur.

The video clips are a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the situation facing young adults today. They are especially important for those of you about to attend the YES Summit.

So, grab some popcorn, click on the links below (which will point your browser to the videos courtesy of ABC News), and enjoy… after a 15 second commercial the report will begin.

After you watch the videos, let everyone know what you think by clicking on the comment link below! Do credit unions have a role in helping this generation? How can credit unions benefit from developing solutions for 18-to-30s with these problems?

>Reaching Young Adults before they are Young Adults

Posted by on Wednesday, 22 November, 2006

>I saw this article on high school branches in the local paper on Sunday, and it made me thing about what a great idea this is for credit unions to not only reach teenagers but an innovative way to reach the 18-to-30 market…before they reach 18.

The idea is to teach them financial literacy – buying cars, saving for retirement, banking, college funding, etc. As a former high school teacher myself, I can tell you that most schools don’t have the resources to teach financial education at all. And some are mandated to teach the subject! High school students have a hard time focusing on learning when they feel as if it’s not relevant to their lives. But almost every student is salivating to reach driving age and to get a car. College-bound students want to know how to get there and everyone wants to manage their money effectively. This a great opportunity for credit unions.

How do you open a high school branch? This article is a good place to start. But this 56-page how-to manual from the Michigan Credit Union League is better.

Opening up a high school branch would be the ideal situation, but what else can you do? One free and easy route is to partner with local schools and teach NEFE. Other resources are here.

Survey after survey shows that credit union members are more loyal than bank members. Thus, being there during a time when young adults are finding themselves is beneficial for both the “future member” and the credit union.

>Strapped & Generation Debt

Posted by on Wednesday, 8 November, 2006

>I would like to personally suggest a couple of books for your reading enjoyment…

The first would be Generation Debt, by Anya Kamenetz
This book discusses a series of issues that have hampered today’s young adults, and suggests how young adults can speak up, speak out, and take action to better their situation.

Another book I’d like to recommend is Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30- Somethings Can’t Get Ahead by Tamara Draut. Strapped also discusses the situation facing young adults today, and offers a slightly different view on the matter.

Both are rife with statistics and research providing an excellent resource for helping folks better understand the economic pressures young adults face. Take a gander, and let us know your thoughts! Do you agree with their assertions? Is the deck truly stacked against 18-to-30s?