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CUs buck trend of social 'meh'-dia

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MADISON, Wis. (3/25/14)--Advocacy and crisis communications are two areas where credit unions use social media to their advantage--a strong contrast to the "annoying, boring or unhelpful" messages perceived by many consumers.
According to a recent survey by Carlisle and Gallagher Consulting Group, 87% of consumers said banks' use of social media was "annoying, boring or unhelpful," and more than half said it was ineffective.
Credit unions, however, have seen great success with the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" and #DontTaxTuesday campaign which generated more than 1.3 million messages and garnered a Grassroots Innovation Award from the Public Affairs Council.
In the April issue of Credit Union Magazine , credit unions share (pun intended) their stories of how their Facebook pages keep members informed during emergencies and how social media improves member service.
Service is a key indicator of social media. One-third of the respondents to the Carlisle and Gallagher survey said they would use social media to complain about service, and their platform of choice is Facebook.
Credit unions need to monitor all social media channels 24/7. "If we respond immediately--whether it's positive, negative or neutral--we're creating a positive member experience," digital marketing specialist Andrea Finn, Royal CU, Eau Claire, Wis., told Credit Union Magazine.
"In today's world of instant gratification, customer demands will continue to increase, and it is the financial institution's responsibility to anticipate and plan for the demand," said Carlisle and Gallagher's Patricia Sahm. Social media enables intimate yet public conversations between consumers and their financial institutions, she added.

CU System briefs (03/25/2014)

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  • LIVONIA, Mich. (3/25/14)-- Credit union tax status and international wire transfers were two of the topics discussed during a visit by U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) to LAFCU , Lansing, Mich. Walberg, left, spoke with employees of the $560 million-asset credit union and representatives of the Michigan Credit Union League. According to the league's March 24 Monitor , Walberg noted that his daughter, who is a missionary in Uganda, depends on wire transfers. The increased regulatory burden on wire transfers has prompted some credit unions to stop providing the service to their members. The group also thanked Walberg for his support of the federal credit union tax exemption. (Michigan Credit Union League photo) ...
  • BELFAIR, Wash. (3/25/14)-- U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Port Angeles ) was a key proponent of getting prize-linked savings program legislation passed into law while a Washington state representative. On March 31, Kilmer will be at the Belfair branch of Peninsula Community FCU, $147 million in assets, when it launches its "Save to Win" program. The Shelton, Wash.-based credit union is the seventh in the state to offer prize-linked savings, where members receive chances to win prizes for making deposits in their savings accounts ...
  • APPLETON, Wis. (3/25/14)-- Two Wisconsin credit unions--Capital CU, $469 million, Kimberly, and Pioneer CU, $609 million, Green Bay, will merge in July. Operating under the name Capital CU, the credit union serve nearly 90,000 members in Wisconsin. None of its 360 employees will be laid off, and no branches will be closed ( Post-Crescent March 23). Together, the new credit union will have 24 branches in the Fox Cities and Green Bay markets. According to Tom Young, president, Pioneer CU, the credit unions will install a new data-processing system. "We're probably saving $2 million because we're buying one system vs. each of us buying our own," he noted ...
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/25/14)-- Grace F. Meighen, founding member of Washington (Pa.) Area Teachers FCU, died March 18 ( Life is a Highway March 21). She was 94. Meighen was a longtime manager and board member of the $60 million-asset credit union. Washington Area Teachers FCU was chartered in 1959 by a group of 10 school employees with $5.25 each ...

Consumers have fewer reasons to visit branches, says Bankrate

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MADISON, Wis. (3/25/14)--The traditional branch may not be endangered, but it appears to be in a stage of transition as mobile applications and online banking become more pervasive, according to a survey.
Half of all credit union members and bank customers had visited their local branch within the past 30 days for reasons other than using an ATM, according to the Bankrate survey, which was part of its March Financial Security Index. About one-fifth of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 visited brick-and-mortar branch within a week of the survey. Around 30% of people over age 30 visited a branch in that time frame.
But financial institutions have reported a reduction in foot traffic as new technologies wedge themselves between the consumer and the corner branch, according to Michael Goodson, head of management consulting with Accenture's North America banking practice. That development occurred faster than expected, Goodson said.
Consumers simply have fewer reasons to visit branches with the development of new technologies to fulfill their banking needs, said Ajay Nagarkatte, managing director of research at BAI.
"The number and location of bank branches, as well as their functionality, will continue to evolve, but clearly they're not going away," said Greg McBride,'s chief financial analyst.
Three in 10 Americans haven't visited a credit union or bank branch in at least six months, according to the survey. And while there was some variation among different age groups, it was not as wide as expected. Among those under age 30, 42% have been to a branch within the last 30 days compared to 52% of those over age 50.
One in five retirees has not visited a branch in over a year. Fifty-three percent have done so in the past 30 days, slightly more than the 50% figure for the overall population.

New members find PCUA's 'iBelong' on Pandora, mobile

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/25/14)--The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) expanded its "iBelong" campaign to include Pandora advertising and mobile web design.
"In reviewing upcoming traffic for, we saw the site was being accessed by mobile devices 44% of the time," said Michael Wishnow, PCUA senior vice president ( Life is a Highway March 18).
"Given the variety of devices accessing the site, a responsive web design was critical to helping consumers find a credit union using the locator," he added.
The redesign detects the type of device that a consumer is using and renders a page that is easily read across smartphones, tablets and computer monitors.
This month, PCUA also launched a four-month pilot advertising program on Pandora Internet radio, which has 70% mobile usage. The ads use the campaign's radio spots and banner ads to lead listeners to and its online credit union locator.

Look to fin. lit. programs to benefit employees

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MADISON, Wis. (3/25/14)--With their history of serving select employee groups, credit unions have long understood the correlation among financial literacy, employee productivity and a business' bottom line. WalletHub addressed that relationship in a recent article.
"When people know what to do with their money and wind up with a bit of money to save each month instead of an ever-larger balance, the prism through which they view their compensation is decidedly more positive," the March 24 article stated.
WalletHub asked university and industry experts in the fields of management, marketing, human resources and finance for tips on how to establish a personal finance employee training program.
"The most relevant economic literacy is not a training course, but an ongoing transparency of financial, marketing, and performance information shared with employees so they know how their personal choices impact business results," said Dave Ulrich, professor of management, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a partner with the RBL Group.
Financial literacy can also be offered as lunch-and-learn program with interactive question-and-answer formats, suggested Wayne F. Cascio, Robert H. Reynolds Chair in Global Leadership, University of Colorado, Boulder.
"There's an entire financial services industry that is always looking for new clients," said Julian K. Saint Clair, professor of marketing,  Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. "I'd bet good money that they would give seminars and provide educational materials free of cost in hopes of earning new business."
Community CU, Rockledge, Fla., offers 12 at-work financial literacy classes that can be presented during employees of local business during lunchtime.
Local Government FCU, Raleigh, N.C., provides free, on-site financial wellness seminars to any North Carolina local government unit.
Brandon Michaels, president/CEO at $490 million-asset Mazuma CU, Kansas City, Mo., also recently wrote an article about the link between corporate social responsibility and personal finance.
"Employees who are knowledgeable about their own finances feel more in control and are, therefore, less stressed, better able to work, and happier in general," Michaels wrote. "This boosts the bottom line for the employer."
To read Michaels' article in its entirety, use the link.

R.I. CUs score with high school hoops sponsorship

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (3/25/14)--For most sports fans March is all about basketball, and for the past 20 years Rhode Island credit unions have been synonymous with high school hoops in the Ocean State. The credit unions of Rhode Island are the lead sponsor of the boys' and girls' Credit Union High School Basketball Championships, a tournament that determines which boys' and girls' high school basketball teams can call themselves state champions.
For the past 20 years, credit unions of Rhode Island have been the lead sponsor of the Credit Union High School Basketball Championships, a tournament that determines which boys' and girls' high school basketball teams can call themselves state champions. From left, Gary Furtado, president/CEO, Navigant CU, Smithfield; Ken Poyton, president/CEO, Postal Government Employees FCU, Providence; Ellen Ford, president/CEO, People's CU, Middletown; and Sukhi Bahal, senior business consultant, Alloya Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill. (Credit Union Association of Rhode Island photo)
Through the generosity of the state's credit unions, student-athletes have the opportunity to play what is often the game of their lifetimes at a tournament quality venue: the Ryan Center at the University of Rhode Island ( Daily CU Scan March 24).
This year the event took place with games at the Ryan Center March 21 and 22.
Alloya Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill., plays a central role in organizing the event from fundraising to volunteer coordination and event logistics. The credit unions of Rhode Island and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island also provide volunteer and monetary support.
The support of the tournament is a reflection of the importance that the credit unions of Rhode Island place on supporting state youth.
The Rhode Island Interscholastic League, which is the governing body for high school student athletics, recognizes the support that it receives from Rhode Island credit union community, the league said. During the tournament, visitors to the Ryan Center see banners and signs recognizing the credit union sponsorship of the event.
Also, radio and TV announcers credit unions with announcement throughout the game broadcasts and credit union leaders help distribute trophies to the participants during the post-game ceremonies.

Eat cupcakes in your jeans, raise money for fin. ed.

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MADISON, Wis. (3/25/14)--The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is inviting credit union organizations to kick off  National Financial Literacy Month April 2 with "Financial Fitness Day" fundraiser.
The initiative will raise funds for NCUF and state credit union foundations in support of their financial education initiatives.
"Americans spend months getting their physical health into shape as part of their New Year's resolutions," said Danielle Brown, NCUF director of development and donor relations. "Kicking off National Financial Literacy Month in April, Financial Fitness Day is dedicated to helping members get their financial health in shape. Credit unions are perfectly suited to do so and we hope your organization will hold a fundraiser such as a casual day on April 2 to support these efforts."
To participate, credit union organizations can hold one or more of the following fundraisers on April 2:
  • Jeans or casual day for staff;
  • Bake sale--cookies, cupcakes, banana bread, you name it--for staff and/or members;
  • Deduct or donate a buck--Ask staff and/or members to consider a voluntary contribution of $1 or more either in cash as they complete their transaction and/or deducting from their checking or saving account as often as they choose.
The campaign website where donations can be made includes campaign resources such as additional fundraising ideas, sample newsletter articles, sign-up sheets, stickers, flyers, statement stuffers, wall pin-up templates, sample tweets and web buttons.

Donations made as part of the initiative will be split evenly between NCUF and the state credit union foundation, in which the donation was made.