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Business Development

Credit Union 2.0 – How to get New Members for your Credit Union:

Imagine a young couple standing in front of their first potential home with a realtor. The couple is eager to make an offer on the house but one thing stand in their way.  The realtor asks them if they have been approved for the asking price on the house.  Over walks a Credit Union Business Development Officer proceeds to take the application on an iPad and gets an approval in the matter of minutes.  Imagine if you could proudly say:

“Not only do we help make your dreams a reality, but we do so in the moment.”

The Steps to Build you to a Solution:

  1. Define Problem
  2. Research
  3. Define Opportunities
  4. Brainstorm Solutions
  5. Prototype
  6. Launch/Re-Launch

1. Define Problem:

Business Development Officers take paper applications in the field and bring them back to the branch to get those accounts opened (not funded).  Then the member has to come into the branch and fund the account which causes delays, unfunded accounts, low cross sell ratios, and some account closures.

2.  Research:

People like immediate results. They want their debit cards, checks, online setup, and money deposited now.   Look at the products and technology created in the last ten years: mobile banking, online banking, remote deposit capture, bill pay, touch and go payment systems. Research has been done that shows people only come into the branch to apply for loans during big life moments so we need to identify ways to reach out to them better.

You should ask yourself the following questions during the research phase:

  • Does your website allow members to open accounts online (loans, mortgages applications, new memberships)?  At Unitus, Opening Act allows members to open accounts online and fund online via ACH or Debit/Credit Card.
  • Can you view your credit union’s products and rates on the website (FLASH does not work on the iPad because Apple does not allow it)?
  • Have you seen your credit union’s website on an iPhone, iTouch, or iPad?
  • Are you willing to stop using notebook paper, sticky notes, and rate sheets?

If you can answer “Yes” to all of the above, then you are ready to take the next step to identify what is out there that would make the process look sexy to new members.

At Unitus, we went with the iPad as the solution to grow membership through applications in the field, create a positive member experience, and create an easy solution that changes nothing operationally.  Opening Act allows us to open accounts online, which then is placed in the hands of our Online Services team to do the entire behind the scenes details like ordering checks, debit cards, temporary online passwords, etc.

3. Define Opportunities:

Technology now allows us to view the internet in the palms of our hands.  The iPad is one of the most talked about technologies in the market today.  Why not use that technology to attract attention to your credit union by driving membership in the field?  This is how Old Navy is now having its customers pay using this innovative technology, so why can’t we use that in the field to fund accounts?

4. Brainstorm Solutions:

When brainstorming solutions you should keep in mind how this affects the following for your credit unions: Membership Growth, Member Experience, Operational Effectiveness, Learning Growth, and Financial Strength.

“Think It Over – Will Kill the Sales Process!” – David Sandler

The iPad will provide our members with the ability to open accounts in their own environment. The goals are to eliminate paper applications, create a ‘help the member in the moment’ feel, and fund the accounts onsite without having time between the account openings.  It will also be used during presentations, events, and seminars to eliminate the use of paper.

iPad – $499 to $829 (depending on GB and 3G choices-3G is slower then the Mifi)

Verizon MiFi – $49.99 for the device and $29.99 a month for the services

Applications – $9.99 a piece

  • Keynote
  • Pages
  • Numbers
  • DocstoGo

Case – $29.99

Projector Cable – $29.99

Grand Total for basic iPad and accessories: $618.96 plus $29.99 a month

5.  Prototype:

You need to make sure you can open an account online (use what your member does when they apply online) IT loves it because it’s already secure via the website and it has no new additional costs.

Go to the Apple Store and play with an iPad…check your site out, try and open an account.  How was your experience?

Rapid Prototype:

I bought the iPad the day it came out and started using it at work the next day to prove it can be integrated into bringing new members in from the field.  The iPad was purchased on my dime to prove why it would work.

6. Launch/Re-Launch:

Use your tablet for everything in the field and in the office – taking notes, presentations, opening accounts, taking surveys, and just showing it off.

Track your results of when you use it (at Unitus we use a spreadsheet).  In the first month of having 2 iPads we brought in 102 new members as a team of 4.  Our previous average was approximately 76 new members.  We had a cross sell that month of 3.82 products per member up from an average of 3.32 products per member.  This was a member that commented back on a new member experience survey if they would recommend friends or family to Unitus.

“I was looking for a financial institution that I could access easily without having to go into a branch, and Brett Wooden blew me away by setting up just about everything on an iPad in a bakery.  At this time, I am still delighting in finding an institution that more than met my expectations and with such friendly service.” – New Unitus Member

Again show the value!  We now have re-launched the iPad with 6 Business Development Officers, 2 of which are taking mortgage applications in the field.

“If the competition is doing it, stop doing it right away.  Do something else!” -David Sandler

If you have any questions or need any documents I’ve created feel free to e-mail me at

Leave a Comment


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