4 Ways To Increase Member Engagement

MSUFCU looks inward to identify sticky products and save members millions.

Top-Level Takeaways

  • DAVE is an acronym for a handful of easy-to-discuss products and services debit, auto, VISA, and e-services
  • DAVE members, on average, hold 4.9 services with the credit union compared with 2.78 for all other members.

In 2012, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union ($3.6B, East Lansing, MI) was looking for new and meaningful ways to develop relationships with members.

The credit union already offered low rates and fees as well as a diverse suite of product and service offerings. So, MSUFCU identified its most active members and started looking for similarities.

Deidre Davis, CMO, Michigan State University FCU

We looked at which members were the most engaged with the credit union and what products and services those members had, says Deidre Davis, the credit union’s chief marketing officer.

That’s when MSUFCU found DAVE.

What Is DAVE?

DAVE is an acronym for a handful of easy-to-discuss products and services debit, auto, VISA, and e-services. The adoption of these also correlate to greater member engagement with the credit union. ContentMiddleAd

In 2012, front-line staffers at MSUFCU started to proactively talk with members about DAVE products and services during member interactions. The credit union wanted to make members aware it offered these options and then encourage their usage.

We offer a lot that members can benefit from, but they might not know about it, Davis says. If we don’t tell them, who will?

The credit union initially considered including mortgages into what would become the DAVE mix. However, not all member-facing representatives are trained to speak on mortgages, and MSUFCU wanted to keep DAVE accessible to all front-line employees.

Why Do Employees Care About DAVE?


Michigan State University FCU
Data as of 06.30.17

HQ: East Lansing, MI
ASSETS: $3.65B
MEMBERS: 238,802
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 19.5%
ROA: 1.23%

Every year since 2012, MSUFCU has set two credit union goals tied to the DAVE concept.

The goals are geared toward helping MSUFCU increase its number of DAVE members those who have all four products and services and increase the amount members save by switching their checking, auto loan, or credit card to MSUFCU.

To drum up interest in the goals, every year the credit union introduces a theme during an annual all-employee meeting. For example, the 2017 theme is Harry Potter. For the first meeting, Davis and other leaders dressed up as characters from the story. To set the atmosphere, the credit union approximated floating candles from the ceiling and handed out broomstick pens.

In addition to the yearly introductory meeting, the credit union holds three all-employee meetings each monthto review progress toward the DAVE goals.

The credit union uses its intranet called The Loop to keep employees up-to-date with product and service changes and information. It also encourages employees to post positive stories about member savings.

We hear all the time about members who were able to afford braces for their child or send their child to summer camp because we’ve saved them hundreds of dollars, Davis says. Those stories reinforce our conversations because we know we are making a difference in our members’ lives.

DAVE’s Impact

As of the second week of September, the credit union has saved members $9.9 million in interest year-to-date by migrating checking accounts, credit cards, and auto loans to MSUFCU.

The credit union tracks the actual interest saved on loan products. It can’t do that for checking accounts, so instead it compares its checking account fees against the national average to tabulate savings.

MSUFCU wants to save members $10 million in 2017, Davis says. Total savings hit $12 million in 2016 and $9.8 million in 2015. And it’s on track to hit its 2017 goal, too.

We have surpassed our goals nearly every year, Davis says. In fact, the credit union is nearing $50 million in member interest savings since the start of this program.

MSUFCU also tracks the percentage of DAVE members in its monthly reporting and has discovered the number typically fluctuates around 7%. Those members, on average, hold 4.9 services with the credit union compared with 2.78 for all other members, according to Davis.

If that 7% seems low, Davis points to the fact the credit union does not promote products that are not in a member’s best interest. If an auto loan would not be in a member’s best interest, for example, the credit union won’t proactively talk about it.

We drive overall awareness, but not in a manner that feels rote, the marketing chief says. We don’t say, You don’t have this; get it now.’ It’s not that prescribed.

September 18, 2017

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