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6 posts categorized "February 2011"

February 24, 2011

Ron Daly on CU Broadcast


Screen shot 2011-02-24 at 8.28.19 AM
Ron Daly was recently featured on the CU Broadcast blog with Mike Lawson. In his interview, Ron talks about DigitalMailer, the Soapbox, and how the industry is changing focus and tactics in the modern economy. 

To see Ron's interview, view the Vimeo video below. If you're an email subscriber to the blog, click this link to view the video on Mike's website

February 23, 2011

Paul Lucas: 6 Steps To Creating A Competitive Brand


Paul J Lucas is a national & international branding/marketing consultant. For more information log on to or e-mail

Paul recently wrote an article on the six steps in creating a competitive brand. Among them, some of the following:

...For CEOs and management teams serious about improving performance and positioning their credit union for a successful future below are six steps to creating a strategic marketing focus that is the foundation of a competitive brand.

1) Tie marketing efforts and spending to the credit union's goals.

It's amazing how often marketing efforts and budgets are out of synch with financial goals. If the credit union needs more loans, then spending should support that goal. This requires spending enough to get product and service messages out to members on a consistent basis using segmented direct marketing.

2) Maintain a product and service penetration focus.

This approach takes the guesswork out of progress reports. Increased product and service penetration is the fastest and simplest way to increase the credit union's financial performance.

3) Identify operational issues that impact marketing success.

Operations must deliver on promises made in marketing materials. Keeping promises is vital to building an effective brand and it takes every staff member to pull it off...

For the rest of Paul's six steps to a competitive brand, click over to read the full article on

February 16, 2011

Cats and Dogs Unite!


The enemy of my enemy is my friend, according to the Banking and Credit Union industries...

by Ron Daly 

While sipping my morning cup of joe and watching the news, I came across this commerical (embedded below, or watch on YouTube here.): 

Two things that struck me about this: 

  1. Are moms that unpack groceries the only people affected by anything anymore? I've seen a dozen commercials with that main character.

    Now, here's the other, more important thing...

  2. Did you catch who was sponsoring that commercial? 

That's right, it was the ABA, CUNA, and NAFCU all working together to...

Wait, ABA and CUNA and NAFCU?!? Working TOGETHER?

Yes, it seems these bitter rivals are putting aside their differences to attack changes to debit card laws and interchange. They know that banks and credit unions alike will be harmed by changes to interchange, as evidenced by this NAFCU story

The survey, for the February issue of NAFCU’s Economic & CU Issues Monitor (formerly the Flash Report), showed that debit interchange fees made up one-fifth of respondent credit unions’ non-interest income last year. The Dodd-Frank Act provision calls on the Federal Reserve to set a “reasonable, proportional” fee on debit transactions. The Fed has a proposal out that would place this fee from 7 cents to 12 cents, which would cut credit unions’ interchange fee income by as much as 80 percent.

Despite the law’s small-issuer exemption, there is nothing to prevent card networks from applying this low fee to all issuers regardless of asset size. Of NAFCU’s survey respondents, 75.4 percent said they have reviewed or will review their business plans for other ways to pay for fraud, data security and other costs associated with providing debit card services.

As much as 80% of income cut? That's rough. No wonder NAFCU and CUNA have put down the cudgels and started shaking hands. What's the old proverb?

"Me against my brother.
Me and my brother against my cousin.
Me, my brother and my cousin agains the outsider."

Or something to that effect. And if NAFCU and CUNA teaming up doesn't surprise and stun you, certainly their pairing with ABA should. And the whole group of them have joined with Visa and MasterCard and countless other groups and businesses to get the word out about interchange and how, eventually, it will do more harm to consumers. 

Next thing you know, my dogs and my neighbors cat will join forces and start demanding more treats. 

Is this video (or any of the other resources available on the Electronic Payments Coalition website) something you want to put in front of members via your website? Feel free to pay them a visit and see if there's something there you want to use to spread the word.

[Special thanks to Keith Leggett's blog for embedding the commercial we were searching for this morning.]

February 11, 2011

DUH OF THE WEEK : A 59% APR - Can Anyone Do Better?


by Ron Daly 

We know, you've been dying to know when it would return. And here it is - the Duh of the Week.

There's been a lot of talk about the 59.9% APR on the First Premier Bancard. Aside from it's already startling APR, there's teh fees - $30 per year for the first year, $45 for each year after, monthly service fee of $6.50/year and $35 on any late payments. Yowza. 

But what's more amazing to me is the number of people that have applied for the card - some 700,000 - and the number of people that are carrying a revolving balance. 

From CNN

And yet the customers keep coming. The company said it serves nearly 3 million customers nationwide and receives anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 applications a month.

There is a huge -- and growing -- need for cards serving customers with "less than perfect credit," Beacom said. However, he added, the company is now more cautious due to the Card Act, so it is only opening about 50,000 accounts a month.

Oh, good...they're only opening about 50,000 accounts a month. Phew, I was worried. 

So, 700,000 accounts at $300 account limit with right around half carrying a revolving balance. And 200-300 thousand new applications per month. Holy. Cow. 

So, ready for the "Duh of the Week" award? It doesn't go to First Premier. According to the CARD Act, they're not doing anything illegal. According to business, they're cleaning up. Is a 60% APR disgusting? Yeah. But there's *technically* nothing wrong here. 

Is the "Duh of the Week" going to the number of people applying for this card? No. You can't blame the people that feel like they have no alternatives because of poor credit. They'll latch onto anything that's presented as "an easy". 

The DotW award goes to the credit unions that aren't marketing a rate that's even a little better than this. Sure, you have to take risk into account, but maybe you could throw folks a card with a thirty percent APR? Even forty? Come on, people - this is supposed to be a part of our model. Let's come up with the kind of card that makes sharky rates like these obsolete. Even better, let's come up with the kind of public relations tactics that make our best practices and fair lending a piece of common knowledge. 

February 03, 2011

Why would anyone go to a car dealer anymore?


by Ron Daly

Did you hear the news that January new car sales are up 15%.  And I’m happy to report that my family is one of the contributors to the rise in car sales. Yes, after two years of paying off debt and my wife driving a 2003 lease turn-in with over 100K miles, we decided the time was right to get her a new ride.

She researched models, read reviews, created our “price range” and even bravely test drove five cars without the intent of buying any of them. Her secret, telling the car salesmen that she still needed to test drive other models before deciding on the one she wanted. It only became a small white lie when she was down to the last one.

After the research, she found the exact car with all the options she wanted at a local dealer online. We went to the dealer and, after the sticker shock wore off, took the car for a spin.  Now for the fun part… we made an offer on the car. As we patiently sat there playing the haggling game for about and hour and half over price and trade-in, we both decided we should just walk away and left without her dream car.

Now, we are not ones to give up easily. We called the sales guy the next day and restated our offer which was politely rejected. Being credit union folks, we decided we’d take another approach and see if our Northwest FCU car locator service could find us a similar car or get the exact car that we test drove that weekend.

Get this – by noon the CU Manager had secured the exact car she was looking for, for $3,000 less than what we had offered the dealer on Saturday and Sunday. As for the trade-in, the dealer wanted to give $6,300, CarMax offered $7,000 and the CU Car Wholesaler that came on site at NWFCU wrote us a check on the spot for $7,500. (CU savings $3,500 so far). The car was then delivered to the credit union where a salesman picked up the loan check from NWFCU and gave my wife a tour of her new dream car in the CU parking lot. This entire process was FANTASTIC!

So my questions – 1) why would anyone go to a car dealer anymore and 2) if you offer this type of service, how well do you promote it? 3) Or get members to spread the word?

Car dealers scare me and frankly, the only person I like to argue with is my wife. As Northwest FCU  members we were saved money on the purchase and trade-in, got a great rate on the loan and had a hassle free experience. We are thrilled and telling everyone we know about the great service our credit union provided.  Spread the word… we love our credit union!


February 02, 2011

Did you dream about cards replacing cash? You dreamed too small.


by Ron Daly

 Maybe we've aimed a little low...

Granted, most of us didn't see the change coming - "Smartphone? What the heck is a smartphone?!?" we said in disbelief. Sure, we had Blackberries, but the iPhone surfaced and struck a mighty blow to the way we think about our cell phones. Maybe the phone wasn't the important part. Maybe the smart is where the new money is. 

And boy, is there ever money in smartphones. Not only in the app market, mind you, but in the transfer of money between a buyer and a seller. There are mobile banking apps, of course. There are PFM apps. There's even a device from Square that allows a person to swipe a credit card on their phone. That's pretty mind-blowing. But Starbucks - that's right, Starbucks - has just invented their own way to pay for things via smartphone. 

From the Transaction Directory

"Today, one in five Starbucks transactions is made using a Starbucks Card and mobile payment will extend the way our customers experience and use their Starbucks Card," said. Brady Brewer, vice president of Starbucks Card and Brand Loyalty.

Last year, Starbucks customers loaded $1.5 billion onto their cards, a 21 percent increase from 2008.

In a related story, CNN Money reports on the growing popularity of “mobile currency,” whereby customers use their mobile phones in place of cash or credit cards.

“There’s a lot of money at stake if it’s done right,” said Omar Green, director of strategic mobile initiatives at Intuit.;

For years, we've talked as an industry and as a society about the end of cash, the next wave of finance, and what the future had in store for our money. And maybe we were dreaming small - we just figured debit use would increase and cash would start to drop off as a form of payment. We weren't counting on smartphones to be the next step. Were we? 

Well, as recently as a year ago, Newsweek was predicting that the cell phone would edge its way in as a payment method, as did And here we are, seeing one of America's most interesting businesses jump in and get wet. 

While we are fighting the Interchange battle, who's watching this critical shift in the payment system? No more checks, no more Visa, no more MasterCard OR Interchange income...

Stay tuned...