Thursday, October 13, 2011

Be Proactive with Checking Opportunities

By Margie Church

The debit card user fee proposed by several of the large banks has pushed Joe Public to take action. Angry consumers are leaving them in large numbers. Last December, The Financial Brand wrote an excellent article about the importance of free checking to the typical consumer. One valuable nugget: 57-percent of the checking account customers in America are highly at risk to switch banks if their institution began to charge fees for what were previously free services for their checking accounts.

In response to aggressive fees, a social uprising called Bank Transfer Day has emerged. The social movement started on Facebook, and encourages bank customers to take their cash out of big banks by November 5, and put it in smaller banks and credit unions instead.2 Whether this movement will be successful won't be known until after November 5, but grassroots movements have been successful many times before.
Is your credit union waiting for these people to walk through your doors, or are you going after them? 

Whether your competition is tacking on a specific new debit card user fee or eliminating free checking, the fact is, credit unions are a better value. They always have been.  

A checking account is the perfect product to draw new members to your credit union and deepen your relationship with current members who don't have a checking account with you. You're providing a better solution at a time when people are looking for one.

Even if your marketing budgets may be nearly spent, there are several very inexpensive, effective tools you can use to capture new members and their business right now. Here are a few great strategies and tactics to reach out to members and prospects.
  1. First, use MCIF or DP data to identify members who don’t have a checking account.  Send them a postcard or letter that states the benefits of your account. Keep your message positive and explain how your credit union will make their transition pain-free. 
  2. An email with a PURL for responses is a great twist for follow-up or for members preferring email communications.
  3. Canvas your entire membership with a statement stuffer and possibly offer a referral reward.
  4. A web banner is a must to communicate to prospects.
  5. Experience the effectiveness of multi-channel marketing. Use in-branch posters, scrolling signs, drive-thru banners, and building signs. 
  6. Consider a billboard in high-traffic areas.
This is absolutely the wrong time for credit unions to take a low profile approach. Consumers are shopping for value. Make sure they know your credit union is the best place to get it.

What's going on in your area of the country? Are you experiencing any backlash - positive or negative from the new debit card user fee issue?

About us: Pinpoint exclusively serves the credit union market. We provide excellent, turnkey or a' la carte creative services at a great value.

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