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6 posts categorized "July 2009"

July 30, 2009

Caught by the Fan!

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by Ron Daly 

Not too long ago we were all high-fiving over the passage of the Credit Card Act of 2009 and the screws it was going to put to the banking vultures taking advantage of our members & potential members (Click here for a summary of the bill). We were standing behind the fan as the credit card mess hit it and got all over the bankers. Guess what, folks? It was an oscillating fan, and has swung back around and gotten all over our beloved Credit Union Industry. 

Continue reading "Caught by the Fan!" »

July 21, 2009

A Love Song with the Name Wrong

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by Ron Daly 

I had a good laugh today over a news story entitled "Blogger loves her 'bank,' but oops, it's a CU". It stems from this blog post entitled "I think I'm in love with my bank!"

...Wait, what?

Yes, it's that same old elephant that's been sitting in our room for ages now - the bank/CU confusion. 

What was really stunning to me was the reason this woman (her blogger name is Jess D. Facts) loved her CU. As related by CUNA NewsNow

In 2004, the blogger was laid off and couldn't pay her car loan, which was almost paid off. She didn't call and explain the situation "because I didn't have any money." During the period, she lost her house, but "I kept driving that car. The bank [credit union] never tried to contact me about that loan." Two years later, when she was rehired to her old position, she went to the credit union, embarrassed that it had been so long since she had made a car payment. "The woman in charge of loans listened to my apology and smiled. 'We knew you'd be back,' she said. She helped me set up the payments to come out of my check like it had been before." The blogger noted the car loan problem never made it into her credit report. "I love my bank," she said.

Wow. Quite the story. Some things that strike me as strange about it - 

1) Where were we in 2004 that we could let a loan payment slide for a year and a half? Maybe she was just very consistent in previous payments other than that, and they were happy to work with her? It just seems strange, but hey, it's admirable. 

2) "Technically it's a credit union but I don’t hold that against them." and "I had to pay a tiny fee to be a member, but I'm cool with that too" 

These sentences are mindblowing. You don't hold that against them? IT'S THE ONLY REASON THEY WORKED WITH YOU! Take that song and dance to one of the country's larger banks and see how long you'd get to keep your car...OR how quickly you'd get your money back when you pay your bills twice on accident. 

And for what might be as little as $5, you get that kind of service? Five bucks at a fast-food place barely gets you lunch.

3)  Some of the choice quotes:  

"I think you should have a baby just so you can name it after that bank! Everyone would just go crazy for a little [CU Name Omitted] Credit Union Facts :) " Which means that someone actually called it a bank AND a credit union in the same sentence. 

"I practiced Lamaze breathing as the page downloaded."hehehe. I do that when I'm about to blow a gasket too! What a great story. I suggest that Wall Street get your banks business model and follow it lead. What we need is more compassion in the financial world, but it aint gonna happen."

Again, it's not a bank's business model. And Wall Street's got no interest in loan forgiveness - unless it's their own. 

I was glad to see Christopher Morris come to the rescue to talk about the "CU Difference". If only there were a Christopher in every situation where banks get confused with CUs, there to gently remind the speaker that there IS a difference...a BIG difference. 

So, how are you making the difference more apparent? 

July 16, 2009

One Spot, One Thought

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Most think that the opportunity for credit unions to grow market share and deepen member relationships has never been better. After all, banks and other financial entities (i.e., CIT) have been falling down for over a year now. 

Shari Storm - Chief Marketing Officer for Verity Credit Union, blogger and author of the book Motherhood is the New MBA - is a fan of making the message simple, clear, and focused. We were very excited to have her as this week's guest author, and we think her advice is very sound. 

You fill your direct mail pieces with every offer available. You mail them twice a month. Your numbers barely shift. What gives? Maybe there is such a thing as "too much to choose from".  

---------------

Shari Storm

Throughout my 15 year marketing career, I have had some sort of variation on this conversation at least one million times.

Me (or my team): "Our plan is to tell our checking account holders about our VISA card."
Someone else: "Why don’t we tell them about our car loans and mortgages too?" 
Someone else: "We should send them a menu of products we offer so they can choose from all 64. Who knows what they need right now?"
You can swap out the target and swap out the product, but the suggestion is always same – send as much information as possible. The more words, the better. 

Most marketers know that the opposite is true. There is an old adage, "If you tell them three things, you’ve told them nothing". Or, like Currency Marketing said when we were producing a radio commercial with them, "One spot, one thought". 

Continue reading "One Spot, One Thought" »

July 09, 2009

CUs in CA turn IOUs into Members

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by Ron Daly

 
We're all aware of the big-time budget problems that are plaguing The Golden State. A cash-strapped California is having to offer IOUs to citizens and businesses that earned a tax refund. This system has been used before in 1992 when the coffers were empty, and will offer IOUs that mature in October of this year.

But not everyone likes IOUs. I refer specifically to the larger banks - your Bank of Americas, your Wells Fargos - who are refusing (at least as of this writing) to accept IOUs issued by California. Isn't that something? The banks that asked for billions in bailout money and came back for more aren't honoring IOUs. Huh. 

Well, as usual, where the big banks fail, CUs succeed. 

California CUs are ready, willing and able to accept IOUs from the state. [Read in the CU Journal]

From the article: 

"More than two dozen credit unions, including SchoolsFirst FCU, The Golden 1 CU, Travis CU, Yolo FCU, San Francisco FCU, Community First CU, Provident CY, SRI FCU, Kaiperm Diablo FCU, Contra Costa FCU and Chabot FCU, have announced they will accept the IOUs, some them indefinitely."


What a great opportunity. As Golden One CU President/CEO Terry Halleck said in this article:

"However, I believe it would be great for credit unions if the banks did not accept the Registered Warrants because that service shortfall and strategic misstep should then cause many bank customers to rethink their banking relationship," Halleck said.


A willingness to be there when the big banks aren't - the CU difference strikes again. 

How are you showcasing the difference your CU can make? Were you able to do what a bank was unable to do recently? Tell us about it. 

July 07, 2009

Pyramid: Standing the Test of Time

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by Ron Daly


[Editor's Note - this story also ran on DigitalMailer's home blog. To learn more about DigitalMailer's products, business solutions and technology/industry news, visit http://www.digitalmailer.com/blog/ ]

 

I thought we'd highlight the good works and good reputation of a credit union that has been serving members for the past eighty-four years. 

Pyramid Credit Union in Tucson, Arizona has four generations of members and a life-long reputation of helping those who wanted a better financial future. Recently, an article about Pyramid was published in the CU Journal (click here to read "It's a Wonderful Life Really Does Still Exist in Tucson, Ariz." by Paul Lucas). At Pyramid's 80th annual dinner meeting, members celebrated the good works of the credit union and the credit union celebrated its diverse and long-standing membership. 

And what a story! At BarCampBank Vegas, friend and colleague Robbie Wright asked why everyone doesn't get their own credit union started. Some might have balked at the idea, but reading about Pyramid's humble beginnings makes the idea seem pretty smart to me. Lend a little, get a little more back, help out your fellow man. And they've kept the basic concept at their core for eighty years now. Keep up the great work, Pyramid. Here's hoping that everyone in our industry takes a page from your book and works to better their community and the lives of their members.

Does your CU have a great success story? Tell us about it in the comments section. 

July 03, 2009

Duh of the Week: A Fox to Guard Your Chickens

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by Ron Daly

We've given this award to a few crooks before. Nothing like this, though. 

Let's talk about Max Ray Vision, the computer hacking expert hired by - get this - the Departments of Defense and Energy, the US Air Force and NASA to test their system security. The man who was sent to prison in 2001 for leaving vulnerabilities in these systems was re-hired as a government informant upon his parole. In the time he worked for the feds, he stole thousands of account numbers and PINs and distributed them on an info-trading website. 

Let's go back over that. 

1) He works for the government and hacks their websites
2) He goes to jail for compromising government information
3) When he gets out of jail, the GOVERNMENT HIRES HIM AGAIN
4) HE STEALS MORE INFORMATION AND GOES BACK TO JAIL


Who on earth got the bright idea of putting this guy back to work on the government dime? Who couldn't see that putting the chickens under the watch of the fox wouldn't work? 

You might think, faithful reader, that we're about to award Mr. Vision the "Duh of the Week" for his two arrests and his Dick Tracy-esque name. No. The "Duh of the Week" - and a high pole position for the "Duh of the Year" - goes to the Government for hiring this guy twice. And being caught with their fly down...TWICE. 

Enjoy the award, recruiting personnel for the Departments of Defense, Energy and NASA, respectively. Hopefully nobody steals it - especially the person you hire to protect it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to rent a DVD copy of "Catch Me If You Can".