Service Puts Financial Wellness In Members’ Pockets

The New Hampshire credit union has unveiled an app-based approach to financial wellness aimed at reaching younger consumers.

The financial atmosphere is changing. A decline in in-person transactions is leaving credit union staffers with fewer face-to-face opportunities to talk with members about financial planning and wellness. And the rise of non-traditional resources for investment and savings advice tempting resources that young people are turning to more often, according to a recent national survey has further eroded the credit union foothold in members’ financial lives.

For those digital-first members who want to take charge of their finances, Service Credit Union ($5.2B, Portsmouth, NH) has one thing to say: There’s an app for that.

The New Hampshire cooperative recently rolled out a smartphone app that engages members via a DIY approach to holistic financial wellness.

Anna Baskin, Content Manager, Service Credit Union

“There is excitement out there for an easy, relatable way to manage finances,” says Anna Baskin, content manager at Service. “We’re happy to be able to provide that to our members.”

The app, which Service says is already reaching hundreds of users, is called Fin-Life, and it uses advanced response technology to customize the experience for each user depending on their goals. The financial wellness journey from creating and sticking to a budget to planning for the future for each user is different depending on whether their focus is eliminating debt, saving for retirement, planning for taxes, or any one of nearly a dozen goals.

The purpose of Fin-Life is to use behavioral science and psychology to coach its users through various financial wellness topics in just a few minutes a week, Baskin says. By asking its users questions about their lifestyle and budget, the app customizes advice to help users meet their goals.

Users can also connect the app to their banking accounts for a full-picture view of their finances. The ultimate goal of Fin-Life is to put users in control of their finances and help them meet their financial goals.

The app walks first-time users through a 10-minute setup process to create a login and answer a series of questions about their current financial status and goals.

“For example, [it asks if] they have outstanding student loans, credit card debt, a mortgage, what they are saving for, etc.” Baskin says. From there, Fin-Life customizes a financial wellness plan.

By asking its users questions about their lifestyle and budget, the app customizes advice to help users meet their goals.

Anna Baskin, Content Manager, Service Credit Union

That financial wellness plan includes an ever-evolving and updated to-do list of both short- and long-term goals and ongoing reminders that prompt the user to engage with the app and complete tasks. This gamification of personal finance is something Service CU has wanted to do for the past couple of years to pique the interest of Gen Z and Millenials who are getting their financial literacy information in creative ways.

According to the 2022 Financial Literacy Survey from Investopedia which surveyed 4,000 adults from each of the predominant generational categories of Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers the 18-to-25 year-olds in Gen Z get 45% of their financial literacy information from YouTube and 30% from TikTok. For Millenials, which range in age from 26 to 41, 87% of their information comes from either basic internet searches or YouTube videos.

Our relationship to money, investing, and financial planning has radically changed in the past few years, says Investopedia editor-in-chief Caleb Silver. What hasn’t changed is the need for relevant financial education but in a modernized curriculum.

Service saw the writing on the wall and began looking for partners to help them develop a better way to reach members.

CU QUICK FACTS

Service Credit Union
Data as of 06.30.22

HQ: Portsmouth, NH
ASSETS: $5.2B
MEMBERS: 331,109
BRANCHES: 52
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 7.9%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 10.6%
ROA: 0.68%

“Improving our members’ financial wellness is part of our mission, so we were looking for a partner that could help us achieve this in a fun and easy-to-use way,” Baskin says. “Pocketnest was created by and for Gen X, millennial, and Gen Z users, and that is our target audience for this effort.”

According to the 2018 annual report for the Certified Financial Planning Board, 90% of 18-to-34-year-olds are overwhelmed by financial planning. According to Pocketnest, the same percentage of people are missing critical elements in their financial plans. The app integrates with not only Service’s banking platform but the platforms of other financial institutions as well, allowing non-members to use the app.

“Fin-Life sends regular prompts via push notification and email to engage with the user to complete outstanding tasks,” Baskin says. “We think Pocketnest does a great job of simplifying and making enjoyable the not-so-fun task of financial planning.”

Since launching in mid-June, Fin-Life has 1,672 users on the platform. And more are joining every day. The goal of Fin-Life is to fix those gaps by understanding individual goals and then using technology to develop next steps and engage members in their own journey.

September 26, 2022

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