Want to Grow Your Credit Union Membership? Do This First.

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I recently facilitated a two-day planning session for a credit union, and before the meeting began, the CEO shared his primary goal with me. “If we don’t accomplish anything else in 2020,” he said, “we need to grow membership.” With this goal in mind, he was eager to discuss strategies that would bring in new members. However, as we reviewed the credit union’s most recent data, we noticed how many members they were losing and realized we needed to back up.

Depending on variables like marketing tactics and market size, the average cost of acquiring a new credit union member ranges from $400 to $700. To achieve their desired growth metrics, this credit union would need to add 750 members a month. But considering more than 350 accounts were closing each month, the CEO and I agreed that the credit union needed to improve member retention before spending money to attract new members.

Although it’s almost impossible to control factors like charge-offs and member deaths, we identified plenty of areas that could stop the bleeding. Finding ways to keep current members made more sense than figuring out how to replace them month after month. After all, if the credit union was planning to spend money to bring in new members, we wanted to make sure they’d stick around instead of leaving a few months after joining. We needed to shut the back door before opening the front door.

If member growth is a key metric your credit union is struggling with, spend some time answering these questions:

  1. How many members are you losing each month? If members are leaving in high numbers, your membership is likely aging or you’re not serving them well.
  2. Why are you losing these members? Have you surveyed those who are closing their accounts to see why they are leaving? When it comes to problem-solving, perspective is everything. You may not like the answers you receive, but you need to understand the problem before you try to find a solution.
  3. Can you save these members before they leave? Is your frontline asking questions and trying to address problems proactively? Dissatisfied members often have misconceptions about products and services. In many cases, your team can clarify these misunderstandings before they grow into larger issues.

If your core allows you to access data easily, you can look for a few warning signs that may indicate members at risk. These signs include:

  • Member is no longer logging into online banking
  • Payroll direct deposit is no longer evident
  • Credit card activity stops
  • Billpay activity declines by 25% or more

These may seem like basic metrics, but if you scoured the data to see how many members fit the above actions, how many would you find? And more importantly, do you have a proactive plan in place to reach out to those people? If not, the sooner you develop that plan, the sooner you’ll be able to solidify your member base.

As you create your strategic marketing plan for 2020, make your first goal to retain more of your existing members. If you notice members are leaving, find out why. When you uncover the reasons, use your available data to identify members who fit the same profile. Then create a proactive plan for reaching out to those members and finding ways to keep them from leaving. Once your retention plan is in place, then you can move on to inviting new members. When you can keep the members you have and attract the new members you want, you’ll set the stage for sustainable growth.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Bill Gates

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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

Copywriter

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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