“I know it’s not convenient for everyone to have a cash-free branch, but I’ve been with them for years and I have never had a problem with it. In fact, completing my transactions at the snapshot ATM is very easy, and I like that I can do my banking at 3 a.m. if I want to.”
— Maria C., Yelp.com
“The ‘cashless’ branches have ATMs that are frequently broken. If something happens to your ATM card, and it will, you have to go all the way downtown to get cash.”
— Sarah S., Yelp.com
“They rely heavily on snail mail [and] are unwilling to do anything via phone, fax, or Internet. Your choices: visit a local branch or snail mail.”
— Whatever1300, CreditKarma.com
Different members have different needs, schedules, and time constraints. Even if you have a specific vision for how and where members will conduct credit union business, you still need to siphon off a portion of your budget to create backup options for those outside the norm.
For example, can members access 24-hour, image-capturing ATMs? Will the credit union reimburse third-party terminal fees? Can members without branch access schedule video or phone conversations with credit union employees to get help with complex, non-transactional needs like a mortgage or investments? If not, you’re saving dollars at the cost of your membership.
“Having a home mortgage for 20 years and two paid-off car loans, both with no late fees and every payment on time, we thought [the credit union] would help up regain our credit after our [bankruptcy]. Their refusal letter was sent to us within a few hours of our application. We received better treatment and a competitive rate at a bank we had no accounts with.”
— Retied1961, CreditKarma.com
“I applied for a personal loan and an auto loan with [the credit union], both were declined. I don’t have perfect credit but a 705 and all my current accounts are in good standing with a debt-to-income ratio of 10%. I can get a loan from ANY car dealer in the area I live in but not from my own credit union.”
— Ckevroll, CreditKarma.com
It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it. This is especially true of loan applications. Closely monitor your approvals and denials to catch errors in your risk model criteria early on. Likewise, make sure you’re not denying applications because an employee misunderstands a policy or a qualified staff member can’t override an initial decision.
For credit unions that rely on automatic decisioning, watch for declines triggered by wrong addresses and typos, and determine how to follow up with denied applicants. A human conversation with these members might clarify their needs and financial responsibilities.
Learn From One Of The Best
Get lessons and best practices from our Anatomy of BECU, a big institution that knows how to keep relationships real.
“Yes, the online banking is great. Yes, the rates are competitive. Yes, the banking products are solid. But what’s that all mean when there are 50 other credit unions that offer the same array of products?”
— Anonymous, CreditKarma.com
“[The credit union] offers excellent starting salary, great benefits including 0% employee loans.”
— Current Employee, Glassdoor.com
It’s not mimicry so much as mastery that catches people’s attention — members and employees alike. So go ahead and take inspiration from Chipotle, Starbucks, or Apple, but also take a look at your own distinct strengths, such as the personalities of your staff and the products or benefits you offer that no one else does. Develop these traits and an awe-worthy brand identity is sure to follow.
“Cut down on the long, drawn-out, unnecessary reports. IT can provide a lot of what you need rather than burdening employees who are already overworked with the task of itemizing every single one of their responsibilities. Most of all stop the unnecessary manipulations to extract information from employees. Just ask employees what it is that you need.”
— Former Employee, Glassdoor.com
There’s a difference between an inquiry and an inquisition. If tracking performance is your primary goal, then consider using an automated solution that takes the burden off front-line employees. In addition, let employees see the information collected and give them the opportunity to correct shortcomings on their own.
If you’re after feedback for things like process improvement, keep all communications voluntary. If employees need an extra push, consider offering an incentive for higher levels of participation.