What Credit Unions Can Learn from Apple’s Special Event

Man walking outside Apple store

In the wake of Apple’s most recent Special Event, one thing is clear: there is no escaping our corporate overlords. Apple, the company that already lives in the pockets of just over 45% of Americans, is undoubtedly hoping to expand that reach to a seemingly infinite degree with this push into entertainment and finance. While I could spend time going over the many advantages and disadvantages of Apple creating space for itself in streaming, for the purposes of this blog, I’ll focus on the financial side of things and what credit unions can learn from Apple’s latest move toward world domination.

If Apple does one thing better than anyone else in their industry, it’s communicate complex ideas in their simplest forms. From their stark design—void of loud colors and unnecessary frills—to their totally boiled-down slogan, “Think Different”, Apple has been pushing the limits with less for decades. This everpresent oversight on overthought is clear in Apple’s 3 2 1 cash back model. Instead of creating a confusing rewards model with numbers that can only be handled on a calculator, Apple opted to bring us back to the basics with an immediately understandable 3 2 1 cash back system. While intuition may be that people always want what benefits them most in the long run, the reality is that people want what they can understand in the moment. It is paramount that you always keep simplicity at the core of whatever message you are trying to communicate to current and potential members alike.

No one likes feeling stupid or being taken advantage of. Apple is betting on people being fed up with stereotypical financial industry culture, and they are not wrong in doing so. The financial industry, as a whole, does not have a great track record when it comes to putting members first. Keep this in mind in all member interactions. Credit unions—being non-profit, member-owned, and community-centered—are being presented with the unique opportunity to follow the trail Apple forged far away from traditional banking culture. Financial institutions often put people off from the jump with unrecognizable acronyms like HELOC and AD&D insurance. When someone is totally out of their element, they are not going to feel comfortable putting themselves out there further to figure out all their options. Use simple language and keep everyone on the same page.

People like being in the loop and they will go wherever that line of communication between them and their account is most open. To address this issue, Apple elected to color code their weekly and monthly spending reports. This does a number of things outside of just making it easy to categorically check your spending. One of the most interesting being its ability to allow users to set abstract financial goals.

As an example, instead of telling yourself you’d like to spend $200 fewer dollars next month on dining out and entertainment, you can say to yourself, “I’d like to see a noticeable drop in my orange and pink spending throughout this next month”. While more lenient budgeting goals may not seem like the most efficient and useful applications of this feature initially, it provides consumers (consumers who may have traditionally never considered budgeting) another avenue to ease their way into more sustainable saving habits down the line. In short, it is important to make monitoring money as easy and as organized as can be to meet as many members as possible wherever they’re at financially. Setting money aside never comes without difficulty, but by simplifying the process you can lower that hurdle for a lot of people. Lower stress makes for a wider door. Give people the power to realize the impacts of budgeting on their own in a low-stakes environment and reap the benefits of a more stable membership for years to come.

There is a lot to be learned from Apple’s latest excursion into the financial realm. From easy to understand rewards to entirely new budgeting possibilities, the industry is changing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Those who fail to adapt will fall off the map, those who adjust and begin to “Think Different” just may survive.

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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