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From the CEO: Our success strategies are all designed to help you succeed in 2016

From the CEO
February 10, 2016

I truly enjoy the sense of possibility and promise each New Year brings. It’s a pleasure to get a fresh calendar and anticipate all the great things that can happen. We are already starting 2016 as a stronger organization that we were just last year. We continue our solid financial foundation with more than $270 million in total regulatory capital. This solid capital position gives us the balance sheet to support our members’ funding needs, acquire new balances, and most importantly, protect member shares and certificates.

But we don’t want to rest just on these successes. In 2016, our financial foundation looks to become even stronger and the solutions we provide to credit unions all that more powerful. I’d like to share with you four “success strategies” that we, as your corporate partner, plan to help you achieve in 2016.

  • Increase revenue
  • Grow membership
  • Create a mobile ecosystem
  • Manage risk effectively

What are some best practices you can focus on to help leverage these success strategies?

Increase revenue

One of the best ways to boost your revenue is to increase profitability from your members. According to a recent independent Javelin study, financial institutions can lift the profitability of the new checking account customer $212 per year. How is this possible? With onboarding that enables the customers to not only open an account but also start doing business with the financial institution immediately. Your corporate partner has a solution to help you achieve this strategy; it’s called MAX, our new mobile/digital family of solutions. Read more about MAX.

Another great way to increase your revenue is to focus on balance sheet management. Interest rates are finally on the rise, and analyzing how the new interest rate environment will affect your credit union is critical for success. Do you have the right tools to evaluate the impact of these changes on your balance sheet? Our CUSO, Accolade, has a full suite of ALM tools to meet your needs. These tools include IRR Analysis, Net Economic Value (NEV) models, and Model Validation. Read more about what Accolade offers.

Another way to increase revenue is to take advantage of the current momentum with business lending. Our CUSO, Member Business Solutions (MBS) makes it easy by offering business loans to participating credit unions as well as underwriting, servicing and documentation services for loans. Read more about how to take advantage of MBS.

Other ways to boost your revenue include growing your business accounts by offering small business ACH origination and offering more services to your membership, Alliance One and the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan program.

Grow membership

It’s no secret that credit unions need to increase their relevance among young adults (i.e. millennials). To remain competitive both now and in the future, and to continue to gain new members, we need to do a better job of educating this demographic on the credit union movement because what we stand for is exactly what millennials are looking for. We serve the underserved and try to do the best for our member-owners. We’re about people.

We should also be using tools that increase membership by making sure every dollar is effective. For example, many credit unions aren’t just wasting money on ineffective member acquisition processes; they are also losing money by not fully engaging new members right when they join. Credit unions need digital solutions that effectively and conveniently onboard new members, which is why we developed MAX.

I also encourage you to be proactive and go where the members are, wherever that may be—at schools, in the workplace, at church, at community fairs, etc. The two offerings within our MAX family of solutions make this really easy. Gro Account Opening is a native application, which means your credit union staff can be out on the road anywhere at any time and still sign new members up for new accounts. And with ClickSWITCH, your new members can transfer automated payments and direct deposits in just minutes, helping them to be fully engaged from the start of doing business with you.

Create a mobile ecosystem

One of the best ways you can help grow your membership in 2016 is by creating a mobile ecosystem. The demographic shift in which millennials are now the bulk of consumers requires different business models than what we’ve traditionally used.

In addition, the way we pay for things has changed dramatically. Research by CUNA says that within the next five years, e-commerce payments will grow 15% annually and P2P mobile payments will increase 48%. Mobile bill payers grew by 69% in 2014.

The trend toward faster payments is inevitable, and both new and current members need those options to even consider you as their main financial services provider and stay loyal to you in the future. I truly believe credit unions must adapt to these digital trends (i.e. new payment technologies) to stay relevant, competitive and to ultimately gain new members. This is why we’re so committed to offering you solutions that make the creation of and implementation of new payment technologies a reality for your members.

Manage risk effectively

With every truly great reward there is an element of risk. But of course, we all want the least risk possible when it comes to managing our members’ assets. There are several ways you can keep your level of risk in check, and tapping into your Corporate One resources is definitely one of them!

Our ERM (enterprise risk management) team is always ready and willing to answer any questions you have, and you can also receive excellent advice and services through Accolade. I also encourage you to make sure that all of your personnel has the appropriate BSA/AML/OFAC training and programs in place at your credit union to keep up to date on new rules and regulations (like the NCUA’s final rule on risk-based capital), to be conscientious about your asset/liability management, and to stay on top of cyber-threats and IT security.

Throughout the year, we offer a host of trainings and events to help educate you on relevant/changing issues in our industry so that you’re prepared to face these challenges. Be sure to regularly check our events calendar to see what’s new and register for events.

How will putting these best practices to work increase your overall success in 2016?

These strategies may seem challenging, but let me assure you that I’m excited about all the ways we will be helping you achieve success this year. It’s not only possible to be successful in all of these areas, it’s also probable. Allow me to quote a recent report by CUNA: “The future looks bright when CUs adapt to the demographic, social and technological changes ahead.”

Do you want more transactions, loans, fees, revenue and member loyalty? Do you want to be easy to do business with? For me, it’s a resounding YES! If we stay ahead of the curve by considering industry trends, if we say “yes” to our members more often by giving them the solutions they want, and if we’re flexible enough to change direction from time to time, we will reap numerous benefits that will propel our credit unions to unbelievable success.

Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to serving you in 2016.