For our latest FI Highlight, we spoke with Jill Casey, Assistant Vice President of eCommerce and Public Relations at Vantage West Credit Union (VWCU). Jill discussed VWCU’s ongoing partnership with University of Arizona’s football organization and how their recent online video campaign has increased engagement with the local community.
In a few sentences, can you tell us about Vantage West Credit Union?
Vantage West Credit Union is a $1.3 billion financial institution in Arizona, which serves a growing membership of 130,000 members. The credit union has branches in Pima, Pinal, Maricopa and Cochise counties and serves its vast membership via online channels, as well. Vantage West is a full service financial institution, offering consumer and business loans, credit cards, and deposit products, as well as retirement accounts and a host of other financial services. Vantage West is federally insured by NCUA.
Can you tell us about a recent initiative you have been working on?
Vantage West Credit Union has partnered with Arizona football for the past six years to demonstrate its strong commitment and support of the Tucson community. This year’s partnership centers on an online series featuring Coach Rich Rodriguez. The campaign offers viewers a behind-the-scenes interview with Arizona football’s head coach, where he discusses topics such as experience, flexibility, discipline, planning, education and preparation. While those subjects lend themselves well to college football coaching and game plans, they also apply to life and dovetail nicely with banking, and Vantage West’s ability to serve its members. The launch of the series coincided with the start of the 2014-2015 college football season.
Furthermore, to complement the online series, Vantage West is holding weekly drawings where University of Arizona merchandise, autographed by Coach Rodriguez, is given away to lucky winners.
What types of success have you seen both for your credit union and for your members since launching this initiative/partnership?
This campaign has increased our engagement with the local community. It elevates our brand awareness locally, while delivering an added value to our membership base by giving fans exclusive access to the coach of their the hometown team. There is a unique interest and energy connected to this specific campaign, likely because of a dedicated Arizona football fan base.
How have you used social media to increase engagement among your members?
We saw our campaign with Coach Rodriguez as an opportunity to activate our membership around something that we, as a tight knit community, are already quite passionate about: Arizona Football. The campaign is primarily carried out on our website and social channels, allowing members to engage in commentary and share content related to the team throughout the season.
But as the messages that Rodriguez shares extend beyond football, so does the value of this campaign. Members and prospective members are hearing advice that’s applicable to their everyday lives, and their future, both financially and otherwise. It’s become an outlet to get the conversation going about topics that affect our members – and get some great school spirit going too!
What advice would you give to a financial institution that is hesitant about having a social media presence?
For industries that aren’t familiar with social media, especially those with sensitive information, it can be an intimidating medium with which to get involved. We, at Vantage West Credit Union, have seen a real benefit to increasing our reach and even further engaging with our members. As we become a more mobile, technology-driven society, we as service providers need to be where our customers are and provide them information and solutions in the communication methods that they prefer. Social media gives that opportunity to serve as a customer service arm while creating an engaged community around our brand and its purpose.
What else makes Vantage West Credit Union unique in regards to the way it interacts with its members?
Vantage West is a unique financial institution, in that it is a credit union large enough to offer a robust line of consumer and business banking products and services that are offered by some of the largest financial institutions. At the same time, members and business members appreciate the streamlined local decision making and personal touch offered when time and personal relationships are important.
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