A Full-Time Onboarding Strategy That Reduces Part-Time Members

Generations FCU’s three-part onboarding strategy engages members at the onset and continues building relationships through their 90 day and beyond.

When Generations Federal Credit Union($572.5M, San Antonio, TX) dove into the data, it found nearly 30% of its members were using a single product instead of taking advantage of all the credit union had to offer.

Today, its dedicated strategy to onboard new members and re-board existing ones has helped the Lone Star State credit union create more engaged members.


generations FCU
Data as of 09.30.15

  • HQ: San Antonio, TX
  • ASSETS: $572.5M
  • MEMBERS: 51,875
  • BRANCHES: 15
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 14.39%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 20.68%
  • ROA: 0.41%

Uncovering The Opportunity

We’re a data driven organization, says Wendy Bryant-Beswick, chief marketing officer for Generations Federal Credit Union.And the data showed we had a real opportunity to transform new members into loyal, lifetime members andcreate brand ambassadors.

For example, further analysis of the data revealed almost 20% of members with loan relationships presented great opportunities for other services. The credit union identified its onboarding strategy as a way to pull in members from the beginning and reducethe organization’s marketing costs.

Prior to the launch of its onboarding program in April of 2015, the credit union didn’t have a robust program in place to welcome members as they joined the credit union.

There was no consistent program, Bryant-Beswick says.We wanted to do the right thing from the very beginning and let members know about customized offers that could really help them.

For all U.S. credit unions | Data as of 09.30.15
Callahan & Associates | www.creditunions.com

Member Metrics Generations FCU Credit Unions $500M-$1B Texas Credit Unions All U.S. Credit Unions
Share Accounts Per Member 2.05 1.90 1.74 1.88
Loan Accouts Per Member 0.71 0.55 0.57 0.56
YOY Growth In Average Member Relationship 12.11% 3.12% 5.87% 3.95%

Source:Search & Analyze on CreditUnions.com

For all U.S. credit unions | Data as of 09.30.15
Callahan & Associates | www.creditunions.com

Source:Peer-to-Peer Analytics by Callahan & Associates

Click Here to check out Generations FCU’s performance profile. Then build your own peer group to see where you fall.

A Phased Approach

The credit union launched the program in phases.

During the first phase, which began in April 2015, the credit union converted its business development team into full-time onboarders. The three representatives started calling new members last spring at critical points in the new relationship.

It’s a combined sales and service effort, Bryant-Beswick says.First and foremost, the onboarding reps want to make sure the member has everything they need and understands what we offer.

As the honeymoon phase progresses, Generations uses a mix of targeted emails and phone calls to inform members of promotions tailored to them.

It’s not a blanket approach, the marketing officer says.This program enhances the member experience and is the future of marketing.

During the first 90 days, members receive seven to 10 email communications, four welcome/check-in calls, and a directly mailed welcome letter. Members can learn more about the credit union’s e-services by opting into an optional, three-part emailcampaign.


Day Email Type
Day 1 Welcome
Day 2 Survey
Day 3 CEO Welcome
Day 10A eServices
Day 10B Mobile Banking
Day 10C eStatements
Day 15 Product Cross-Sell
Day 30 Branch Introduction
Day 70A Account Services
Day 70B Investment/Insur.
Sorry We Missed You
We’re Ready to Help
Take Our Word

Source: Generations FCU

Other messages include a general overview of the credit union, a short online survey, a personal welcome from the CEO, information about products the credit union has identified as relevant to the member, and a local branch introduction.

It’s a pretty complex email series we’ve built, Bryant-Beswick says.And it’s not all email. We pepper in phone calls from our outbound team. Developing that one-on-one connection is still very powerful nothingreplaces talking to someone.

And the onboarding doesn’t stop at the 90-day mark, either.

Join Callahan & Associates and Bryant-Beswick for a discussion on Generations’ onboarding strategy. Click here.

Depending on when the member’s birthday falls, the credit union might send a special birthday greeting and offer for the member to use during their birth month. Generations also sends targeted communications at the 180-day mark and on the membersone-year anniversary.

Strong Results For A Strong Future

As the table below shows, Generations has made more than 20,000 phone calls to its nearly 7,000 new members in just nine months.

For Generations FCU | Data for 04.01.15-12.31.15
Callahan & Associates | www.creditunions.com

Activity DATA
Outbound Call Volume 20,142
New Memberships 6,981
Average Outbound Calls Placed Per Member 2.89
Outbound Right Party Contact Rate 32%
New Loan Applications Originated 1,104 $14,272,797
New Funded Loans 436 $5,117,805
Look-To-Book Ratio 35.86%
Loan Coversion Rate 6.25%

Source: Search & Analyze on CreditUnions.com

We’ve also funded a little more than $5 million in loans with a 35% loan-to-book rate, Bryant-Beswick says.We’re pleased with the funding numbers and know that has a lot to do with the personal relationships we’redeveloping.

Generations’ email series has returned strong results as well. The average open rate is 31.9% for the entire series, with 15.7% of those members clicking through and a 0% unsubscribe rate. Plus, only 11 members have opted out.

One of the nicest surprises we’ve had is the open rates of our emails, Bryant-Beswick shares.In fact, the welcome email from our CEO has a 41.2% open rate.

The credit union is moving into phase two of its onboarding program in 2016 and has already combined its team of three onboarding representatives with its direct lending call center. This larger team of 20 people will focus on both onboarding and lending.

It’s exciting for us to have tested the program and now take it to the next level.

It’s exciting for us to have tested the program and now take it to the next level, Bryant-Beswick says.

Whereas phase one focused on welcoming new relationships, phase two will focus on building loyalty. The planned phase three program will focus on referrals.

Building On Best Practices

Although Generations’ puts its onboarding program firmly in thesuccessful category, it says it should have tweaked how it reached out to indirect lending members sooner. Now, it separates those members from the rest of the onboardinggroup and reaches out with messages that specifically reference the dealer relationship. The indirect members’ onboarding track is also more condensed.

Those members are unique, Bryant-Beswick says.So we eliminated some emails and brought more data in from our core.

Generations also advises educating branch staff sooner rather than later.

We did a road show to share the new onboarding program with the branches just after it began, but looking back, I would have done that earlier, Bryant-Beswick says.Holding those sessions a couple of weeks before the launch wouldhave been helpful as staff did have a lot of questions.

Lastly, the credit union suggests taking time to do research beforehand. Generations is currently soliciting feedback from new members through onboarding surveys and it plans to host focus groups in April to learn how it can improve onboarding movingforward.

Holding focus groups or even doing a simple online survey with both new and long-time members will be very helpful, Bryant-Beswick advises.

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