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Collider·Gen Y·Innovation

Gen Y Engagement? Yeah, We Got That.

I was fortunate to participate in two incredible Crash events in 2011.  In May, it was Crash Michigan.  Come summer, Amanda Thomas, Matt Vance and I competed in the Collider Innovation Tournament as Team BAM.  The spark created via these two events fueled my desire to develop similar opportunities for young professionals at my credit union.

The outcome has been nothing short of spectacular.

First, a Gen Y Advisory Panel was formed consisting of 12 employees from across all business units.  The panel serves as an on-going innovation resource and sounding board for our credit union’s Gen Y targeted products, services and marketing campaigns.

That led to a Collider inspired innovation tournament in which the twelve participants competed in four teams of three.   Final pitches were made in-person to a three person panel of LMCU Senior Management level employees.  As a result, we’re pursuing three new products in 2012 including a new rewards checking account, credit card and social media initiative customized for Gen Y consumer’s specific likes and needs.

Most recently, LMCU approved chartering an employer sponsored Toastmasters Club set to officially launch March 6, 2012.  Of the club’s seven officers, five are Gen Y so not only will this be an opportunity for LMCU’s Gen Y employees to develop their presentation and public speaking skills but also their leadership skills as well.

Championing these causes has been a fun, challenging and rewarding experience.  Thinking back 12-18 months, I’ve always had the passion to make something along these lines happen.  But, it wasn’t until my Crash experiences that workable concepts came into focus.  Many thanks to Filene, Brent, Theresa, the Michigan Credit Union League and all the fellow Crashers – “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  -Margaret Mead


And the winning Collider prototype is…

Ladies and gentlemen…we have ourselves a winner!  After a tough two week experience which includes reviewing each prototype submission and a phone call with each finalist, the judges have selected The Collider winner:

Congratulations to Robert Christiansen and the Credit Union Home Buyer’s Plan!


The Credit Union Home Buyer’s Plan is a tool.  From the member’s perspective, it’s a tool that will help member’s save for their down payment to purchase their first home.  In a time where there are very few incentives for saving, the Credit Union Home Buyers Plan may be quite attractive.

From the Credit Union’s perspective, it’s a tool that will help grow a credit union’s deposit portfolio and/or non-interest-revenue portfolio; depending on if the underlying assets are guaranteed (like a Guaranteed Investment Certificate or Savings Account) or non-guaranteed (like a mutual fund, which would generate fee or trailer based income).

Some of the elements within this program are:

  • Allows consumers to select investment options for their savings (as well as the matched portion from the credit union)
  • Requires consumers to use the savings (and matched portion) strictly for purchasing a home (and revoking funds that are not)
  • Requires in-branch deposits to ensure conversations take place with a financial advisor


While our Collider participants sought to find a solution to our challenge, our judges were not only interested in seeing new, fresh ideas brought to the table, but equally important was outside feedback from the field.  Robert proved his innovative idea would work by showing:

How it was different from what’s around:

How it could motivate members:

How it could increase lending portfolios:


Now that Robert was convinced this idea could work, he moved forward with settling on some of the logistical to-dos.

What would marketing pieces look like?

What should be included in the banking system?

Ideally, it would be great if information regarding the applicant’s post-secondary schooling appeared on their personal member screen.  The power in this program is that it must be set up and administered in-branch; that is, at least once a year, a credit union could guarantee that they would get their trained financial professionals to sit down with these member’s and have a meaningful conversation about budgeting, saving and creating a customized financial plan.  This may seem like a minor detail, but I would suggest that this is the most crucial aspect of the program.

What would an internal form look like for the member?

Outside of  the typical information requested, slight modifications would be put into place to also request details on the member’s secondary education as well as housing-related budgets.  Obtaining this info would assist the Financial Advisor, assigned to the member, to make recommendations on their specific saving plan.


After the judges had reviewed everything Robert had put together for his prototype, they commented, saying:

The next time I have a problem, I’m calling you….you did a great job of articulating the problem. (Denise)

It seems like what you’re proposing is a true partnership between lender and borrower in which both are trying to help each other meet their goals. (Matt)

Field work is key in this stage and you did a commendable job getting these data. (George)

You do a good job of identifying the problem and potential solution from a member perspective.(Bob)

You did a great job bringing your concept to life. I have liked this product since your original introduction and think this could be great for potential home buyers and a really great way to differentiate credit unions. (Patty)

The Big (Bright) Prize

Robert will bring his idea to the big.bright.minds stage, a gathering of some of credit union land’s top thinkers, held this year in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition, Filene will equip Robert with a dedicated implementation team to launch his idea into the marketplace.

Calling Early-Adopters

Are you interested in being among the first to bring the Credit Union Home Buyer’s Plan – or any of the other prototypes – to your credit union? Let us know by clicking here and filling out contact form.

Way to go, Robert!

And thanks again to everyone who participated, especially to the other finalists: Bill Clancy, Amanda Thomas, Matt Vance, Sean Capaloff-Jones, and Lisa Brown.

Stay tuned for updates on Rob and the team’s progress!


Collider Round 3: The Prototypes

Our judges are currently reviewing the prototypes submitted for the third round of The Collider and they are looking great! Following the judges’ review of each prototype, there will be calls held with each of the teams to review any last minute questions. Once a final decision has been made, we’ll be sharing with the world what idea is moving to the marketplace!

You can check out each of the four prototypes by clicking here, but we’ve also included a short summary of each below; enjoy and let us know what you think!

CCPE Loan Program

The CCPE Loan Program used a summary, listing of benefits and full set of FAQs to review their idea.

The CCPE Loan Program is an innovative loan program that allows the borrower affordability and certainty of their home. Through a “Pick Your Payment” pre-approval process, the borrower will choose a monthly payment amount that they deem appropriate and affordable for their budget, which will be between 10 – 25% of their gross monthly income amount. Additionally, while the payment amount will stay the same once the loan closes, a Community Fund will cover their mortgage payment (or a portion thereof if they are a co-borrower), in the case of a job loss for up to six (6) months.

Check out their prototype!

Land Trusts

The Land Trust used a video to summarize their plans. In addition to providing a sample policy and member information, they decided:

that a great way to prototype the idea of Land Trusts was by playing the game of Monopoly. At first, we tried to demonstrate the concept by changing the roles of the players. One player was to own all of the property (Land Trust), one player was the Banker, and the other players were consumers looking for a HOME. Still not quite right… As the team played, the discussion developed. The more we talked, the more we played, the more we realized that we were playing the wrong game. It wasn’t about passing “Go” or collecting our $200 at all.

While we thought it was about those different-colored deeds, little red houses and money, it wasn’t!Land Trusts are about the little people in your car. They are about the career path you choose. They are about your quality of LIFE. Living in a home that you are proud of, having a short commute time, contributing to the community around you… All of these factors influence who wins the LAND TRUST GAME.

Check out their prototype!

The Credit Union Home Buyer’s Plan

The Credit Union Home Buyer’s Plan used a presentation style to review different aspects of their idea, including survey results, marketing pieces, a proposed banking system and form.

The Credit Union Home Buyers plan is a tool. From the member’s perspective, it’s a tool that will help member’s save for their down payment to purchase their first home. In a time where there are very few incentives for saving, the Credit Union Home Buyers Plan may be quite attractive.

From the Credit Union’s perspective, it’s a tool that will help grow a credit union’s deposit portfolio and/or non-interest-revenue portfolio; depending on if the underlying assets are guaranteed (like a Guaranteed Investment Certificate or Savings Account) or non-guaranteed (like a mutual fund, which would generate fee or trailer based income).

The credit union will make a 20% matching contribution on up to a maximum of $2,000 in member contributed savings for a total contribution of $2,000 (that is, $400/year for 5 years) over the life of the plan.

Check out their prototype!

Smart Move Mortgage

Smart Move Mortgage utilized a video and overviews of their original two ideas (Finis Foreclosureville and Test Drive to Home Ownership) to explain their plan.

The Smart Move Mortgage is a mash-up of Team BAM’s Test Drive to Home Ownership and Finis Foreclosureville concepts. While both ideas were strong on their own, the combination of these complementary concepts creates an innovative and powerful new loan program.

The resulting product is a holistic approach to addressing two critical faults in today’s housing market – the glut of foreclosure properties and home buyer difficulties in acquiring affordable housing.
Smart Move Mortgage. Revitalizing Communities. Providing Options. Changing Lives.

Check out their prototype!


Collider Wild Card for Round 3

Last week, our judges selected 4 concept documents to be the Round 3 Players for The Collider. Our 5th entry, who was given another shot at this round and received the wild card to move along to the next round is:

By Robert Christiansen

Congrats Robert!


Collider Update

After receiving 10 fantastic Concept Documents, the judges made a tough decision to select four of these to continue moving forward to the next step. In no particular order, they are:

Test Drive to Home Ownership

By Team BAM!

CCPE Lending Program

By Team BAM!

Land Trusts

By  Sean Capaloff-Jones & Lisa Brown

Finis Foreclosureville

By Team BAM!

Although we initially planned to hop right into the third and final round, there are a few more details we would like to see first.  As the judges have seen some of the ideas develop and grow, we also saw some nurturing needed with the original process we setup.  In addition to the Concept Documents already provided, we’ll be looking for the following four sheets to be completed by the teams moving forward (before we start the official Round 3: Prototype).  The additional homework is being done now (sheets are due Wednesday, June 8th), so when we reach the final stages of this process and gear up for implementing, we are ready to rock and roll.

Once again: Wild Card!

The judges had a tough time narrowing down the ideas moving forward, so we are offering a wild card opportunity again!  Those concept documents not mentioned above have the chance to re-work their idea and submit the additional details (four sheets from above) no later than Monday, June 6th at 12p.m. EST.  From these entries, there will be 1 wild card entry selected to move on to the last Round.

We are so pumped to see these ideas grow – can’t wait to see what you work up in this next step!


Collider Round 2: The Concept Documents

Round 2 of The Collider is officially underway!

Our 10 pitches that moved onto Round 2 have submitted their Concept Documents and are waiting for feedback.  In no particular order, they are:

Decrease Your Down

By Laura Eblen

The answer lies in the Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL) program.  The DPAL would be the first program that has a way to reach the instant gratification generation, while still rewarding the long term savers with the purchase of their first home.

Test Drive To Home Ownership

By Team BAM!

Test Drive to Home Ownership aims to create a solution to traditional home buying and financing. Our solution targets 3 specific pain points for home buyers – access to affordable credit, down payment amount and finding/committing to the right home.

CU Homebuilder

By Crasher CUpcakes

CU Homebuilder is a credit union and member partnership created to help guide members in to and through home ownership. As participants, members will have the financial foundation to qualify for affordable mortgage financing by actively participating in the steps of the process

CCPE Loan Program

By Team BAM!

The CCPE Loan program is an innovative and disruptive model that bases a home loan around the income of the person/persons who want to purchase home. This loan will base the payment amount of the loan around the gross income of the homebuyer(s) at 30% of their gross monthly income amount.

The Balancing Act

By Team Whitney Crasher # 7

The Balancing Act would assist homeowners who are truly running out of options. This program 85% of the time would be administered as a property re-evaluation for current homeowners.

Land Trusts

By Sean Capaloff-Jones & Lisa Brown

Credit unions can make the dream of affordable home-ownership a reality for their members through the use of Land Trusts. Land Trusts separate the structure from the land on paper while the property remains untouched.

A Habitat Union

By Oh Canada!

A potential solution is a Habitat Union, which brings together two outstanding non-profit organizations in Habitat for Humanity and credit unions to create affordable housing known as CU HOUSES.

The Credit Union Home Buyers Plan

By Robert Christiansen

The Credit Union Home Buyers Plan – a credit union sponsored program, offering matching incentives on member-contributed-savings in order to assist members in saving for a down payment for the purchase of their first home.

Finis Foreclosureville

By Team BAM!

The creation of or partnering with a local non-profit organization/foundation to purchase foreclosed homes in the community. Once purchased, the NPO would complete any required improvements in order to get the homes ready for market.

Real Equity

By Shawn Kaup

The solution requires financial institutions to break the paradigm and completely restructure their approach to mortgages and by extension the entire housing market. Mortgages can no longer be viewed as an investment to make short-term profits on sales to the secondary market.


Innovation Wild Card

Earlier this week, our judges selected 9 elevator pitches to be the Round 2 Players for The Collider. Our 10th pitch, who was given another shot at their pitch and received the wild card to move along to the next round is:

CU Homebuilders

By Crasher CUpcakes

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