FI Spotlight: Arizona Federal Credit Union

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In our latest FI Spotlight we spoke with Aaron Oplinger, Senior Director of eServices & Channel Integration at Arizona Federal Credit Union. Notably, Arizona FCU recently changed their branch model, resulting in astounding increases including 74%  in mobile remote deposit capture penetration, 23% in self-service utilization and 28% for average debit/credit interchange per-customer.  Aaron shared AFCU’s recent initiatives with us and discussed how they are better serving their members and have increased profitability 361% per-customer.

 

Q: In a few sentences, can you tell us about recent initiatives at Arizona Federal Credit Union? 

In January 2013, Arizona Federal Credit Union redesigned itself internally and externally in support of its mission statement, “to develop and serve an empowered membership through the delivery of financial services and expertise, producing mutually beneficial results.” This included a redesign of our staffing model and physical locations, driving active use of self-service products, reinforcing membership benefits and increasing member participation.

Aaron Oplinger headshot March 2014Q: How did redesigning your staffing model impact the relationship between staff and members?

Our staffing model was changed from a teller/personal banker model to a combined role so that any person within a branch could assist a member with any financial need. The physical branches are also being remodeled to create a more open space that eliminates barriers between staff and members, such as greeting stations, teller lines, etc. Additionally, staff at remodeled locations use wireless tablet PCs that are fully functional with the credit union’s core processor, creating a shoulder to shoulder conversation with members versus being behind a desk or counter.

Q: Specifically, how did you increase the active use of self-service products?

We’ve pre-loaded iPads in every location with our apps as well as 40-50 financial education apps, such as mortgage and loan calculators, auto and home research, valuation and repair apps, gas price apps and more.

Q: How have you found the response amongst your members so far? 

Our members are increasingly becoming familiar and comfortable with our apps.  And, they are also receiving additional value from the financial education tools we provide, supporting our mission statement of providing financial expertise. Early data indicates that the first remodeled branch has the highest penetration rate for both acceptance and usage for Mobile Remote Deposit Capture.

Q: Can you tell us more about your membership rewards? 

As an industry first, Arizona Federal Credit Union began charging $3 each month for membership dues. The dues have shown an increased use of services and we were able to give back $8 million to members from December 2012 through December 2013, with the average actively participating member receiving more than $50, well beyond the $36 per year that is paid.

Want to hear more from Arizona Federal? Like them on Facebook.

Think your FI deserves special recognition? Submit your FI here.

FI Spotlight: USAlliance FCU Sees Cross-Selling Success

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Banks and credit unions are always looking for new ways to cross sell solutions and encourage adoption of existing profitable services. For our most recent FI Spotlight, we spoke with Kris VanBeek, president & CEO of USAlliance Federal Credit Union. Kris shared insights on the implementation of Micronotes Cross Sell™ and encouraging further engagement with members.

 

KrisVanBeekCEOUSAllianceQ: In a few sentences, can you tell me about USAlliance Federal Credit Union?

USAlliance Federal Credit Union is one of the nation’s fastest growing credit unions. We were founded in 1966 as a credit union for IBM employees.  In less than fifty years, we’ve become a full-service financial institution with over $800 million in assets and over 60,000 members located throughout the globe.  We‘ve accomplished this through an extensive portfolio of progressive products and services all designed with one objective in mind – to help members achieve their personal financial goals.

We have big plans for the future. The key to achieving them is by adopting the most innovative and efficient technologies including online delivery and communication channels to support the needs of our growing member community.

 

Q: You recently implemented Micronotes Cross Sell™. Can you tell us a bit about the technology and the drive behind implementing a cross-sell technology?

Sure, but first let’s talk about the business drivers that led us to Micronotes Cross-Sell.

Financial institutions are keenly aware of the fact that the average consumer owns seven banking products yet only two are likely to be from the same institution. Realizing the enormous potential in cross-selling, the entire industry is focused on finding a way to anticipate when a customer is in the market for a new banking product and then making a compelling offer at the right time to convert the lead into a sale.

While cross-selling is a top priority, executing on the strategy presents a challenge because traditional marketing approaches such as direct mail, banner ads and in-statement offers lack the personalized, one-on-one experience that customers get when they come into a branch office. Also, those approaches tend to market to the masses as opposed to individuals, therefore resulting in a low ROI.

Given these factors, we started to explore a different approach to cross-selling and that’s when we discovered Micronotes Cross-Sell. The product was designed specifically for financial institutions to more effectively cross-sell through the online banking channel. It does this by combining big data with one-on-one interviews to recreate the in-branch experience.

For example, imagine you’re incurring a series of auto repairs and rental car expenses over a period of three months. When you go online to do your banking, you may be presented with a dialog box that asks, “Are you thinking about buying a car?” The conversation would then continue for about 18 seconds, ultimately leading to a personalized offer.

Micronotes Cross-Sell is able to do this by analyzing customers’ financial needs, asking relevant questions, listening to customers’ responses, providing advice, and making a relevant offer within seconds.

Q: What successes have you seen with the Micronotes Cross-Sell program?

We conducted a series of one-month digital marketing campaigns to a limited audience of our online customers. More specifically, we targeted 11,958 of our online banking customers and yielded the following results:

  • Interviewed 15 percent of our online banking population.
  • Converted 50 percent of interviewees into warm leads, generating 1,098 qualified leads.
  • Converted 8 percent of loan product leads to sales.

Based on these results, we’re continuing to develop campaigns using Micronotes Cross-Sell that will be made available to all of our online customers.

Q: Do you find other methods of member’s engagement such as social media beneficial to interacting with members/customers?

Yes. However, what’s important to note about member engagement through these channels is that immediacy and customer service must work together.

For example, if a customer has an inquiry, they should get a response from a live person immediately, and that answer should be delivered through the member’s preferred channel, for example, this may be during an online banking session or even through Twitter.

On the other side, it’s also our responsibility to proactively present our members with information that’s relevant to their financial needs. This may include operational updates, special announcements, and offers on new products that will ultimately save members time and money.

Q: What advice do you have for credit unions looking to more effectively cross-sell their solutions?

Given the continued rise in online banking, I would recommend bringing your technology and marketing teams together as you create a cross-selling strategy that taps into the growing needs of this audience. I would also recommend putting Micronotes Cross-Sell at the top of the consideration list because, honestly, it’s the most effective cross-selling tool we’ve ever used.

 

Want to hear more from USAlliance FCU? Follow them on Facebook.

Think your FI deserves special recognition? Submit your FI here.

 

Kris VanBeek is President & CEO of USAlliance Federal Credit Union. Prior to leading USAlliance, he was Senior Vice President of Information Systems and Risk Management at Digital Federal Credit Union in Massachusetts. His career encompasses a broad spectrum of experience in fields such as e-commerce, real estate, commodity markets and financial services. He is also an entrepreneur, having founded and led two companies. Kris is a frequent contributor to industry magazines on his areas of expertise and serves on several advisory boards.

 

FI Spotlight: Pan American Bank

Pan American Bank

Banks and credit unions are making headway building their own social media presence and with the influence of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) are beginning to determine how their activities fit into company policies. Financial institutions looking to go social have a bevy of resources to learn from, whether listening to webinars from experts, talking with lawyers familiar with the guidelines or hearing from other members of their community.

For our latest FI Spotlight, we touched base with Jesse Torres, President and CEO of Pan American Bank in Los Angeles, California. Jesse recently posted an instructional video for bankers and directors on social media. To learn more, Jesse provided further insight to Banking.com on his experience with social media at Pan American.

Jesse Torres - Pan American BankQ: You seem to have a great perspective and experience with social media? How did Pan American Bank build its social channels, and what was your general philosophy?

Pan American Bank began using social media in late 2009 in response to the backlash against banks. As a conservative community bank, Pan American Bank never participated in subprime lending and other questionable lending practices. However, due to the broad and sensational messaging delivered by the media, Pan American Bank and other community-focused banks were painted with the same brush as those that violated public trust through questionable lending practices. Social media provided Pan American Bank with the platform to tell its story – one person at a time.

Through social media, the bank has been able to demonstrate its commitment to the community and other stakeholders. Social media is a tremendous tool for “personalizing” the institution and creating a venue for honest and transparent two-way communication.

While Pan American Bank maintains a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, it has chosen to focus the majority of its social media resources on Facebook. Facebook was chosen due to its broad adoption (over 1 billion worldwide users) and its mix of tools (e.g., status updates, video, photos, the ability to create and host events). These factors allow Pan American Bank to maintain an ongoing relationship with stakeholders using information in a variety of formats.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for a financial institution just beginning to establish their social media presence?

Institutions need to realize that social media is now a regulatory hot button. During the past five years social media has transformed from an emerging technology to a mature technology. Many institutions now believe that it is time to incorporate social media into their strategy – perhaps due to having greater familiarity with the technology or because of competitive pressure. As such, the social media space is becoming increasingly occupied by financial institutions.

Regulators have noticed the growing trend but, until recently, have been unable to focus on social.  As the industry recovers and as fewer banks risk failure, regulators are returning to business as usual. Any institution pursuing social media must become adequately familiar with the regulatory expectations – governance, policies and procedures, third party due diligence, training, content monitoring, audit, and board reporting. At a minimum, institutions should address social media through a risk assessment, policy and training.

Q: What’s one unexpected difficulty that banks can prepare for when developing their social media policies?

The main challenge in developing a social media policy is the governance structure. Contrary to what many may believe, social media risk is not a technology risk. It is a human resource risk. The dangers involved with social media do not involve malfunctions of technology or similar events. The dangers arise from employees being poorly trained and unintentionally creating risk for the institution. As such, the governing individual or body should have sufficient influence to require adequate employee training. This fact is many times lost as social media is often assigned to the IT department rather than to a department with broader human resource training capabilities. Ideally, due to social media’s broad impact of an organization (compliance, legal, sales, marketing, information technology, etc.), an appropriate governing structure should include a cross-departmental team.

Q: What do you see as the next trend for financial institutions on social media?

While adoption has increased over the past five years within the banking industry, the recent January 2013 FFIEC draft social media issuance and pending final regulations will slow adoption as the regulatory process works itself out. Once adoption resumes, financial institutions will increase their use of social media as a customer service channel. More progressive institutions, with greater risk appetites, will consider its use in completing financial transactions (think Chirpify). Others may utilize the platform for underwriting, using the social networks as an indicator of credit risk (good credit risks beget, or befriend, good credit risks). However, most institutions will limit its use to community building and brand differentiation due to their conservative nature and the rise of hacking incidents of both bank and social media platforms coupled with regulatory skepticism over the security afforded to bank customers through social media channels.

Want to hear more from Pan American Bank? Follow them on Facebook.

Think your FI deserves special recognition? Submit your FI here.

FI Spotlight: Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union

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Abilene Reporter News, Top-20 Over 50 portraitsFor our most recent FI Spotlight, we touched base with James Boyd, president and chief executive officer of Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union.  ATFCU has been participating in the March for Babies with the March of Dimes since 2011, and this year they’ve taken their involvement to the next level. We spoke with James to learn more.

Q: How long has Abilene Teachers FCU been involved in the March of Dimes? What brought on your involvement?

We became involved in 2011 through a fortunate circumstance.  Beginning in 2010, our strategic plan has included the goal of becoming more actively involved in our community.  We look for opportunities that will engage with our predominantly young staff.  While March of Dimes certainly fills that requirement, prior to 2011 we hadn’t heard from them. That year a member of their revenue committee made contact. We sponsored at the $500 level and had the chance to learn more about the organization.

In 2012, I was asked to sit on the March of Dimes revenue committee.  What I learned in those meetings convinced me that we should get behind the organization in a major way. With only two months before the annual March for Babies, the credit union formed a fundraising committee that set a goal of $20,000; Though we didn’t know it at the time, that’s a hugely ambitious goal for any team, much less one that’s new.  We not only made our target, but we exceeded it, donating a total of $22,700 – the second largest gift in the region.

This year, March of Dimes asked me to chair the 2013 campaign.  This is the 75th anniversary of the March of Dimes and ATFCU has set an enormous fundraising goal of $75,000.  Should we achieve it, this would be the largest single gift ever donated to the regional organization.  We’re using raffles, change collection buckets, an enormous garage sale and even a 5K run to work towards the total.  However, the most innovative project is donating a penny for every debit card transaction made during the calendar year of 2013 – something the National March of Dimes organization has told us they are unaware of any sponsor trying before.

Q: What spurred your interest in this campaign?

It is no exaggeration to state that the work of March of Dimes truly touches the life of every baby born in America. In their short history they have eliminated polio, developed the PKU test for babies and significantly reduced the incidence of birth defects.

Our staff is young – it seems like we’re having a baby shower every other week.  Obviously, we hope that all our credit union babies are born healthy and full term.  March of Dimes is an effective, proven organization that has made enormous public health advances in 75 years.  We support their work.

Q: Since ATFCU will donate a penny for every debit card transaction made during 2013, are you announcing simultaneous campaigns to increase debit usage?

We have announced (and continue to reinforce) the penny campaign to our members.  Beyond that, we are not planning anything specific to drive increased usage.  The credit union switched to instant issue debit cards about 5 years ago and to PIN based debit in 2012.  Those two developments have already significantly raised usage.

Q: How are you encouraging the community to participate in the March for Babies and the Monster Mash 5k Dash?

We’re using electronic billboards and contacts in the Abilene Runners Club.  The billboards are amazing – we can change the signs as often as we want without incurring any extra cost.  We send the new ad electronically, and it’s live on the board within minutes.

Additionally, we are fortunate to have a high market penetration level.  The population of Abilene is 115,000, and ATFCU has 37,000 members.  By simply promoting March of Dimes to our membership, we have covered nearly a third of the local citizens.

Q: Are you using social media to increase participation in the fundraising and build awareness? If so, what channels do you utilize and which ones do you see more interaction on?

The March for Babies is scheduled for May 11.  Now that we are only 2 months out, we will begin using our Facebook page for this purpose.  That will begin the week of March 18, and messages will be updated weekly.  Currently, we don’t have a Twitter presence.

Q: Are members primarily using digital services over in-branch services? Are you looking to increase engagement in one way or another?

We have a robust digital footprint and high member usage.  However, Abilene is located in a semi-rural area of Texas – more cattle than people would be an apt description.  As in most rural communities, Abilene has a higher than average number of senior citizens who prefer in-branch visits. We do our best to meet our members where they are and give them the tools they need to manage their financial lives.

We plan to remain a community leader in digital services.  Our iPad app went live a few weeks ago, with Droid and Kindle apps scheduled for the third quarter of 2013.  During this year we also plan to add remote deposit capture and online account opening.  We know we’re behind our urban cousins in those areas, but electronic adaption is a little slower here.  Besides, this gives us the chance to “go to school” on their experience.

 

For more information on the March for Babies campaign, you can read Abilene Teachers FCU Quarterly Newsletter here.

 

Want to hear more from Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union? Follow them on Facebook.

 

Think your FI deserves special recognition? Submit your FI here.

 

Financial Literacy Month: How are you celebrating?

With April approaching, it’s almost time to kick off Financial Literacy Month! Strongly supported by the United States Congress and the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, Financial Literacy Month aims to promote the importance of making informed financial decisions on a national level. For nearly a decade, the country’s financial institutions and other non-profit financial organizations have used the month of April to educate Americans about their personal finances.

Notably, non-profit organizations such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy have emerged as leading promoters of Financial Literacy Month through their financial awareness efforts. Each April, the NFCC releases an annual Financial Literacy Survey which provides data on Americans’ attitudes and behaviors towards personal finance. Additionally, for the last 10 years, Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy has been using the month of April to host Financial Literacy Day which features an open-house exhibition of financial literacy products, programs and initiatives.

Financial institutions nationwide also play a pivotal role in celebrating Financial Literacy Month. In 2012, Philadelphia Federal Credit Union released its first annual Financial Literacy Survey, which provided insights into saving practices, spending habits and financial attitudes among Philadelphia-area residents.

With the 2013 Financial Literacy Month just around the corner, what types of programs does your financial institution have in place to promote financial literacy? Whether it is a survey, contest, or just spreading overall awareness of personal finances, Banking.com wants to know! Throughout the month of April we will be featuring FI’s and their efforts to promote financial literacy. Fill out our FI Spotlight form to be featured on a Banking.com Financial Literacy Month post!

FI Spotlight: Star Choice Credit Union

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Molly McCurdy Star Choice Credit UnionIn our latest FI Spotlight, Banking.com spoke with Molly McCurdy, Marketing Coordinator for Star Choice Credit Union. Molly has been the Marketing Coordinator for Star Choice Credit Union since February 2012, and has been utilizing social media to reach a younger demographic in hopes of lowering the average age of the members at Star Choice Credit Union. We connected with Molly to talk about how Star Choice is engaging members, using social media to drive more intimate customer relationships and recent social campaigns like their Minnesota Wild Hockey promotion.

Q: In a few sentences, can you tell me about Star Choice Credit Union?

What began as the Minneapolis Star Employees Credit Union in 1931 has flourished into Star Choice Credit Union, a strong, healthy, stable financial institution. We are dedicated to making sure members love what we do, and carry out the tradition of people-helping-people by helping our members build strong financial futures and achieve their financial goals.

Q: Do you find social media beneficial to interacting with members?

We have been using social media extensively, especially in the past year, to connect with our current and prospective members. It gives our members another outlet to communicate directly with us, allowing them to post questions and comments about Star Choice as well as expressing their appreciation for our array of products and member services. Social media has allowed us to create a likeable “personality” for our credit union and allows our members to interact with us in a way that isn’t strictly business-related, which they seem to really enjoy.

Q:  Let’s talk social. Star Choice CU is on Facebook and Twitter. Do you view social channels as a good way to interact with customers? Do your members use one platform more heavily than another to engage with you? Do you see a difference in the demographics that use Facebook v. Twitter?  

Social media is an extremely great way to interact with our members. Our Facebook page is generally more member-based, while we interact with a lot of other credit unions and business using Twitter. Our Facebook demographic seems to be younger and more actively engaged than our Twitter page. I utilize Twitter mainly to interact and get insights on what other credit unions and financial institutions are doing, while Facebook is used more heavily and primarily for interacting with current and prospective members of Star Choice.

Q: Star Choice recently launched a sweepstakes encouraging Facebook fans to send their information to win tickets to see the Minnesota Wild take on the Colorado Avalanche.  How has your Minnesota Wild Hockey Ticket promotion helped encourage more engagement?

Since we started the Minnesota Wild Hockey promotion, we went from about 460 Facebook fans to around 530. Not only did we increase the number of “likes” on our Facebook page, but the promotion has sparked a lot of excitement and engagement on our page. People were liking and sharing our posts, encouraging their friends to enter into the ticket drawing, and, as a result, our reach increased dramatically from 687 people towards the beginning on February to around 1,700 this past week.

Q: Are you looking to drive engagement to your credit union within a certain demographic?

The national average age for credit unions is 47 years old, and we are currently at around 46 years old. Our goal is to continue to lower that age, and get the word out about credit unions to a younger demographic and social media is doing a great job helping us achieve that. Seventy five percent of our Facebook demographic is between the ages of 18-44, and that is ultimately the demographic we are trying to reach, so we are right on track.

Q: Let’s talk mobile. You offer mobile banking to your members. What platforms do you offer (iPhone, Android)? Have you seen a surge in mobile banking usage in the last year?

We offer mobile banking to any member who has an internet-enabled mobile device. Last year at this time we had about 1,800 members utilizing our mobile banking services, and right now we have almost 2,000 members taking advantage of our mobile banking. Our mobile banking usage is definitely continuing to increase.

 

Want to hear more from Star Choice Credit Union? Follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Think your FI deserves special recognition? Submit your FI here.

 

FI Spotlight: McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union – Part One

McGraw-Hill Federal Credit UnionFor our latest FI spotlight, we had the opportunity to speak with Shawn Gilfedder, President and CEO of McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union, on the eve of one of their Financial Literacy Series seminars in January. Shawn shared insights on innovative uses of mobile solutions, “Financial Wellness” and its impact on consumers, and how social media plays into their communications strategy.

Check out the video below for part one of our video interview.

Stay tuned for another upcoming video with McGraw-Hill FCU or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Think your FI deserves special recognition? Submit your FI here

FI Spotlight: Travis Credit Union

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For our most recent FI Spotlight, Banking.com had the opportunity to speak with Shannon Wilson, e-Marketing Channel Specialist at Travis Credit Union, a $2 billion credit union serving 12 counties in Northern California. Shannon shared some information with us about their 10 Grand For 1 Fan Facebook contest, which encourages Travis Credit Union Facebook Fans to interact with the financial institution. The goal of TCU’s 10 Grand For 1 Fan was inspired by Shannon to take TCU’s online presence to the top of the credit union industry. Of course, we wanted to hear more because, as Shannon said it best, “with 5,258 new Facebook fans in just more than two weeks – what’s not to ‘Like’?”

Shannon Wilson Travis CU

 

 

Q: You recently launched your Facebook contest 10 Grand For 1 Fan. Can you give us an overview the contest? What inspired this social media campaign?

Travis Credit Union is consistently ranked among the top 10% of credit unions in the social media space. I thought, “How can we attract a wave of new fans and engage the ones we already have?” Thus, we came up with the idea for followers to enter the 10 Grand For 1 Fan contest. I focused on three elements in this promotion: make it inviting, repeatedly engaging and, of course, measurable.

 

Q: What has your member response been to the 10 Grand For 1 Fan Giveaway? When will the winners be announced?

TCU members have really begun to interact with us more socially since the promotion was launched. We’ve received several positive comments, creative ideas and member testimonials. To create more enthusiasm during the contest, we’re giving away weekly prizes for the first eight weeks on Monday mornings. Additionally, if the TCU facebook page reaches 50,000 likes by March 31st, 2013, we will give one lucky fan $10,000.

Q: Has membership grown significantly during the campaign? Has it increased engagement on your Facebook page?

Travis Credit Union is seeing a positive growth in its membership due to the social engagement of the campaign. In addition, it has seen growth through all of its social media outlets, with the highest growth on Facebook: a 145% increase in followers and a 99.01% increase in engagement since the promotion began.

Q: Are you looking to drive engagement with your credit union within a certain demographic?

Travis Credit Union is looking to drive engagement with those between the ages of 18-55 years of age. We also want to build a reputation with those younger folks that will be our future members.

Q: Do you see the 10 Grand For 1 Fan Giveaway driving more in-branch users to digital solutions and vice versa?

The end goal of this promotion is ultimately engagement that will lead to the growth of our membership online and into the branches for more complex loan products.

Q: How are you planning to continue to expand your digital banking offerings for members?

Travis Credit Union is always looking ahead to expand our digital banking offerings to our members, including through mobile applications, online loan applications, and other financial services. The goal is to make our products and services as seamless and easy to use as possible for all our members.

Shannon Wilson has 10 years of experience in marketing and is currently driving the online marketing efforts at Travis Credit Union. Mrs. Wilson’s experiences includes: online and social media, search marketing, email and online CRM, online promotions and acquisition, user experience, online conversion, performance based campaigns and the list goes on.

 

Want to hear more from Travis Credit Union? Follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Think your FI deserves special recognition? Submit your FI here.

 

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FI Spotlight: Union Bank

Union Bank

Responses by Union Bank Senior Vice President Maha Madain, head of Consumer Deposits and chief designer of Banking By Design

Madain, Maha 2012 300 DPI.jpgQ: You recently unveiled Banking by Design. What was the inspiration behind the new service?
Union Bank’s Banking By Design is an innovative new way of banking that was created in direct response to consumer research and demand for more control and transparency in banking.  It addresses the way consumers live their lives — they want a true value exchange and don’t want to pay for items and services they don’t need or want as part of a bundled product.  Banking  By Design’s innovation builds on the idea that today’s consumer expects the ability to customize and personalize the products and services that are important to them. It’s a step in what will become a cultural shift by banks to adapt our business offerings to suit the customer’s highly individualized needs.

 

 

Q: What has the customer response been to Banking by Design?
Customer response has been positive – existing clients and new customers appreciate the opportunity to customize their checking accounts based on their financial needs.

Q: Is there a specific age group that is using it the most (i.e. Gen Y, Baby Boomers)?
While it’s still too soon to analyze the results, the research indicated that Banking By Design will be more appealing to younger customers (such as Gen Y), although not exclusively.

Q: Has Banking by Design increased account openings for Union Bank?
It’s too soon to determine as we’re still evaluating results.

Q: Are Banking by Design customers traditionally online bankers, in-branch users or mobile users?
We’ve seen a mix of online, in-branch and mobile users.  Consumers can design their account at bankingbydesign.com and then call or visit a Union Bank branch to open the account.  Banking By Design accounts can also be designed in a Union Bank branch with the support of a personal banker, and consumers will have the ability to open their account online in early 2013, giving them yet another convenient option.

Q: In an age when many checking accounts cost money, Banking by Design is low (to no cost) depending on how much a user deposits each month. Do you offer many free services to your customers? What was the decision behind offering this low cost tool?
Banking By Design is an affordable option for our customers and prospective customers. Everyone who wants greater control of their checking account and finances will be empowered with Banking By Design and the ability to design their checking account to meet their needs and their budget. We will continue to offer a range of banking products and services in order to give our customers options and a greater ability to design the services they need based on their individual circumstances.

Q: Where is Banking by Design available? Why did you choose to release the initial launch there? What area you are planning to launch these services next?
Banking By Design is available throughout California, which is where most of Union Bank’s branches are located. We are exploring additional locations, including the Pacific Northwest.