Make Storyselling Part of Your Credit Union Marketing Plans

A prospective member enters to apply for a loan or even open a share certificate. To do so, you must help open a membership for them. When asked if they would like to open a checking account or move their direct deposit to the credit union, the new member responds with a very quick, “NO.”

Sound familiar? It probably happens every day, but think about why that might be. What have members told you that could indicate why they were unwilling or unable to move their relationship to us? They are here opening a loan, share certificate, or any other financial product so it would make sense for them to use our other services as well. This is where storyselling can become a part of credit union marketing plans – by listening to their story.

Be curious. Train your team to ask why they aren’t interested in moving more of their relationship to your credit union. They’ll likely inform you of where they have their account now and even how long they’ve had accounts at that other credit union or bank. Naturally, we tend to try and sell our credit union to make us seem like the better option, but before you do that, stop and ask a few more questions!

Instead of asking them why they aren’t interested, ask them why they are at your credit union in the first place! Ask, “That’s great you’ve been with your other bank for so long, but if you have a great relationship with them, what brought you into our credit union today?”

Open the door to find out why they are here and not at their current financial institution opening the same product they are requesting from you.

They have a reason for being here at your credit union and not ‘there’ at their other financial institution. It may be your great rates for loans or high-yield deposit products or something else entirely. We can definitely assume their other institution is not taking care of all their needs or providing the level of service they desire. If it were, your new member would be at that competitor right now.

Rather than selling them on your credit union, help them realize why they are at your credit union and not their other financial institution. For a member opening a loan or deposit account, you may hear, “You have a better rate.” Ask them why they continue to support the other bank or credit union when it’s clearly not supporting them. Let them know that although there is work involved with moving their relationship, the benefit is that it helps your not-for-profit, cooperative credit union provide the low loan rates and high dividend rates they desire! If their institution cared for them as much as your credit union cares for your members, wouldn’t they offer the best rates possible?

You may even hear this new member say that the other bank or credit union won’t approve them for a loan. Ask them why they want to keep their relationship there when your credit union is ready to help them on their financial journey; that another institution has demonstrated it will not be there for them. Why should they continue supporting a business that doesn’t support them? Your credit union will not only be there for that member but also their money on deposit will be lent out to other members who need credit and are having trouble getting it. They can help themselves and others just like them by making the move.

For your credit union to grow loans, you need that deposit growth, especially now, to keep providing more, affordable loan funding. Credit unions must balance higher APY products with our lower-paying deposit accounts, like savings and checking, to maintain liquidity and continue funding loans for members who might not be able to get a loan elsewhere and are worth a shot. Support for both sides of the balance sheet is why it’s critical for us to try to capture the full relationship the first time we help a member, because deposits are our primary funding for loans – and the least expensive to the institution.

It’s time for credit unions to be forward and help members who come to us for a single service or product to realize the importance of your credit union’s mission, the value of their full relationship with us, and the impact it will have on the entire community. Make storyselling part of your credit union marketing plans in 2023!

Tell Your Story!

Adam is a Relationship Development Leader at YMC with a diverse background in the financial industry. Having lead teams at several financial institutions, Adam got the opportunity to see how credit union marketing directly impacts the members it’s designed to serve. Got an idea you want to share with him? Contact him at

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