What Can Your Credit Union Learn from a Recycling Company?

Green Earth with recycling arrows surrounding it

Innovation. It just might be today’s most popular buzz word. Some other buzz words we hear way too often these days? Automation. Data. Efficiency. Do you know what industry puts these words into action to achieve great things? No—sigh—it’s not the credit union industry that I LOVE. It’s the recycling industry, which—sigh—I love just as much as credit unions.

Recycling, single-stream recycling to be specific, is one of the coolest, most innovative industries out there. And just like credit unions, single-stream recyclers want to do good things.

The other day, as I was happily scrolling on LinkedIn, a video caught my eye. (Ahh, the irresistible appeal of conveyor belts with recyclables speeding by!) After watching the video, I read this corresponding blurb above it:

“We are testing small OCC recovery from the unders of a commercial OCC screen this morning with a client at our new test facility in Norwalk, CT. Ask us when we can set up a test with your material. Not sure what you want to recover? Our continuous loop system gives you the option to blend material back together or separate what you have recovered for further testing. We will try anything you can think of!”

I know most of the people reading this post won’t have any idea what the quote is referring to, but in addition to being mesmerizing to watch, the single-stream recycling video and accompanying blurb essentially summed up how I feel about data.

When I talk to CUs of all shapes, sizes, and demographics and I ask how they are using the data that’s available to them, they all say, “Well, we use it to target by age, balance, or product type.” Nothing surprising or unique or complicated. Do they see results? Of course. Maybe not HUGE or earth-shattering results, but with minimal effort put forth, something is better than nothing. And, in most CU scenarios, this is 100% OK. These are our safe targets.

But if you are a digger (aka – a pot stirrer, cage rattler, etc.) like me, the kind of person who routinely asks “What if” or “Why?” or “Can we?” or “What about those other members?” … then you need to do another pass through of your initial data and dig deeper into the “unders.” The “unders” can be defined as the members that might not make the initial screening. Maybe they are borderline on credit score, ratios, or age. But whatever the case may be, they slipped through your initial screening even though they might have potential value. In many cases, the value of the “unders” can be greater than the members that make the first cut. Whether “value” is viewed as member loyalty (because we are talking credit unions) or interest income (because we are talking balance scorecards), both will add to your credit union’s bottom line.

Like the video shows or the caption says (if you’re not the least bit interested the really cool video of innovation in action), you can reblend or separate the data further to find new targets you hadn’t considered. Then, you can tweak the offer to connect with these newly identified targets. Imagine how beautifully relevant your offer could be! Talk about WOWing your member and making them feel special!

Let’s look at a hypothetical example:

Your Credit Union is getting ready to roll out a new credit card. Maybe it features a cash back option or some other reward. You are extending this offer to members who have been with your credit union for at least six months, have B+ credit or higher, have X dollars in a share account, and have a checking account with direct deposit with NO negative behaviors.

You have 5,000 members over the age of 21 that you can market to. You have a 63% checking penetration, which amounts to 3,150 members. 22% of these members have a B+ or better credit score, so, you’ve narrowed the potential recipients to 693 members. If 10% have had some negative behavior, you’re down to 623. Of those 623, only 600 have been a member for longer than six months. (Hopefully your credit union has much better onboarding than my example—but that’s another conversation for another day.) Anyway, you’ve identified 600 members. Out of 5,000.

What happened to the other 2,550 members that fit the first criteria? These are your “unders.” Maybe you have an additional 600 members on the cusp of a B+ credit. If you give these members the same perk-filled credit card, perhaps they will appreciate the offer—and you for making it. Then, due to the goodwill you’ve created, your credit union’s card gets the coveted default payment spot at the top of your member’s digital wallet. With results like that, finding those “unders” is certainly worth a second look, isn’t it?

Now it’s time to ask yourself a few questions. Where are your “unders?” What do you want to recover in your data stream? Where’s your profit? Where’s your member value?

The answers are right there in your data. Sometimes you just have to look for them—one more time.

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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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