RALEIGH, N.C. (11/1/11)--Emphasizing the credit union difference, with a twist, State Employees' Credit Union (SECU), Raleigh, N.C., is recommending that potential members don't come in to switch their accounts on Bank Transfer Day, Saturday. Rather, SECU is advising consumers to spend the day with their families--and go get ice cream.
SECU isn't spurning new members. It's emphasizing that making the switch to a new financial institution can't be accomplished in a single day. The process can take from 30 to 60 days, according to the credit union.
The credit union has fined-tuned the switch process during the past nine months. The 23 billion asset SECU initiated its own transfer program in January, well before Bank Transfer Day became a national phenomenon. A simplified switch kit, available online on the credit union's website, provides a checklist of steps to help guide members through the process.
Staffers are assigned to help new members establish a plan and to initiate phone calls to employers on payroll direct deposits, or to draft letters to insurance agents, utility companies and other businesses for automated clearinghouse items. Creating an individualized switch plan and timeline helps ease member anxiety about the switch process, and helps assure a smooth, "no-miss" transition, said SECU.
The "ice cream" approach is the best use of a member's time, said Jim Blaine, SECU president/CEO. "The last thing SECU wants is for members to start off on the wrong foot with their credit union experience," Blaine said. "I'm quite certain most SECU members' first choice for the weekend is not sitting in a branch office on a Saturday morning for an hour or so--especially when the switch process cannot be completed in one day."
Blaine estimates the credit union already is working with 25,000 consumers on switching their accounts.
On Saturday, SECU's contact center will be prepared to answer initial basic questions and advise members about the terms of SECU's products and services. Contact center staff also will mail switch kit information packets to interested potential members. "Branch staff will follow-up by meeting individually with members to formulate a well-reasoned plan and timeline for the switch," said Amy Waller, SECU vice president of support services and head of the credit union's Checking Switch initiative. "We're ready."