October 21, 2011

BTD, aka Bank Transfer Day, is a call to people to re-invest in their local communities by transferring their funds from their current big bank to a local credit union on November 5, 2011. Need a refresh on the difference between banks and credit unions? Done and done. And done again.

So the thought is that while both financial institutions can offer you basic banking services, choosing to deal with a credit union will have a positive impact on the consumer & their local community. And if everyone makes the move to a credit union on the same day, the big banks will get the message that conscious consumers will not support companies with unethical business practices. Not sure where the “unethical business practices” part came from? Read up on how the movement started in the United States and has since been buzzed about north of the 49th parallel too.

If you decide to jump onboard then you can start by RSVPing to the BTD movement, mark your calendar, and then: 

  • Research your local credit union options
  • Open an account with the one that best suits your needs
  • Cancel all automatic withdrawals & deposits & transfer your funds to the new account
  • Follow your bank’s procedures to close your account on or before November 5th

If you decide to make the move to a credit union, let us know what it was that influenced your decision to make the switch. And if you already bank with a credit union, what is it that keeps you a member?


Why bother blogging?

December 5, 2010

Some people have differing opinions on the advantages to a brand of blogging. For the time that is invested in setting up the blog, defining policies and objectives, posting regular content, and administering to monitoring comments, some find it hard to see a direct benefit. But here are a few recommendations to help you leverage the power of blogging for your brand. Do this and then they know where to go for tips and advice.

1. Be relevant. No one is going to read a blog from a financial institution in hopes of coming across a great recipe, so be sure that your content is relevant both to what your field of expertise is, and to your readers. Regularly post useful insight into the industry, and be sure that you’re not just spouting off market numbers and interest rates, but break down that information and demonstrate how it will actually help the reader make a smart financial decision. Doing this will help build confidence in your members that you are a reliable brand that is capapble on delivering.

2. Change it up a little. You may think this is a contradiction to the above, but you can change-up your content and still be relevant. The industry is financial services, but members also appreciate a credit unions involvement in the community and commitment to developing youth. In between offering that expert financial insight, be sure to change it up a little and include information on community partnerships, sponsorships and events. You want your membership to feel proud of the credit union (that is, your brand) they belong to.

3. Be present. At all times. It is very important to ensure that resources are allocated such that the blog is monitored  regularly and responses to comments and questions can be posted in a short turnaround time. If you want your members to come to rely on your blog for timely financial insight, and to be kept up to speed on what’s going on in the community, you need to demonstrate to them that the blog is a priority for you. If it’s taking days for you to respond to people they are going to stop talking to you, and they aren’t going to trust you to provide timely information either. Better to prove to them that your brand is one worth being invested in, with both their time and their money.  

There you have it. Three recommendations to ensure that you are maximizing the returns on your blog. Do you have any additional tried, tested, and true recommendations?

Facebook Fan?

November 25, 2010

Seems like everyone is on Facebook these days, and many companies have started up their own Facebook Fan pages in an attempt to get in the game. Looking at some of these is a good place to start when assessing what does and doesn’t work if you’re considering starting a Fan page of your own.

Looking at the Facebook fan pages for credit unions, Commonwealth Credit Union has one of the most popular ones with 3,176 people who have liked the page. They are very diligent with their updating, posting status updates daily. They utilize variety to keep their members engaged, including posting photos and video, providing information on their community involvement, and initiating a couple of discussion forums. To encourage their followers to check in often, they run a number of contests encouraging members to “like” the page, write on the wall, or suggest a friend “like” them. These efforts have resulted in a large base of followers, as well as active member participation on the page.

There are few steps Commonwealth could take to improve the page to ensure ongoing success. First, they should change the logo that is used when posting to a reversed logo so that it displays more prominently on the page. In addition, they should consider adding a customized landing page, similar to what Coast Capital Savings has done. This would add another interesting dimension to the page and allow them to tell a visitor something about their brand on a first encounter, rather than a visitor’s first impression being whatever is up on their wall that day. Finally, there was an instance where negative feedback was left on the wall and it went unaddressed. This was a missed opportunity to possibly prevent a lost member, and it makes it look like they are ignoring the feedback because they did not acknowledge it.

What Facebook Fan pages do you belong to? Who, in your opinion, does the best job on their Facebook page, and why?