Credit Union Promotions To Increase eStatement Adoption – Part 2 of 2

The biggest obstacle to promoting credit union eStatement adoption and convincing members to enroll is knowing how to properly address their needs, attitudes and preconceived knowledge. This is why the most effective promotional campaigns focus on respectfully educating members about eStatements, helping them shift their attitude in a positive manner, and reassuring them that everything they need in paper statements can be found in eStatements as well. 

Take a look at some successful approaches that have been adopted by credit unions nationwide:

Incentives (Freebies & Promotions)

Let’s face it, freebies and prizes are extremely popular with the majority of consumers. Some financial institutions give away small, personalized prizes such as umbrellas, flash drives, mugs or even free checkbooks to those who switch to eStatements.

Sustainability Approach

This strategy is more effective than you might think because it also helps your brand leave a positive mark on your members and community. Pushing for more environmentally-friendly services invites members to join you in your efforts to improve the environment. 

While this approach is more motivating for some people and not motivating at all for others, there is still another angle you can address to help the latter form a positive attitude toward going green. Removing paper statements helps members cut down on clutter and also reduces the risk of identity theft. 

Tie up these efforts with your CSR by offering to plant trees for each member who switches to eStatements. This type of promotion works exceptionally well during environment-related holidays such as Earth Day in April.

Educational Angle

The first question you should answer is whether or not customers are even aware that you offer eStatements. Advertise the program on the back flap of your printed statement envelopes so they’re difficult to miss. Develop in-branch posters and encourage Member Service Representatives to talk to clients about it in a casual manner. 

Addressing Their Needs

One of the biggest fears that members have, particularly those who aren’t familiar with eStatements, is that the latter won’t have the information that they’re used to seeing in paper statements. Designing your eStatements to look like the printed version is a great way to address this concern. 

Reassure your members that the only change they should expect is that they should now receive their statements much sooner compared to the paper version, that they can view it using any device, and that the statements are safely stored and archived for quick review whenever they need it. Soon enough, they will appreciate how easy it is to access these important documents in a few clicks compared to going through stacks of files.

Whatever you decide in order to promote eStatements to your credit union members, make sure to include an internal educational campaign for your employees as well. If they confidently know the benefits of eStatements, they’ll be ready to promote its adoption among members. You could also launch an internal incentive program for staff who successfully encourage members to sign up for eStatements!

Need a trusted partner to serve your credit union’s IT needs? We also provide industry-leading data center services, such as disaster recovery, colocation and much more. Contact IMS today:

Strategies For Encouraging Credit Union Members To Adopt eStatements – Part 1 of 2

Adopting eStatements for your credit union provides a wealth of benefits for you and your members. Convincing those who already subscribe to paper statements can be challenging, but the right strategy makes a world of difference. 

There are three primary strategies you can follow to enrol new and existing members in your eStatement program. Here are the pros and cons of each:

The Default Option For New Members

This strategy involves making eStatements the default choice for new members only. If they prefer having paper statements, they can choose to opt in. This approach works because people in general tend to go along with the default option. 

Choosing this strategy helps your credit union cut down on costs and has a positive effect on the environment without hurting customer sentiment since they can always switch. Make sure that you Member Service Representatives educate clients when opening new accounts so they aren’t taken aback.

The Voluntary Opt-In 

For some credit unions, making eStatements the status quo for new members may seem too radical. A safer alternative would be a voluntary opt-in approach. The success of this strategy largely depends on how well you market it to members and the various incentive programs you can use to raise awareness among them. If not, it’ll be very unlikely that a significant number of members will make the switch without prompting.

The Mass Switch

A high-risk yet high-reward approach is to switch everyone’s default to eStatements. This option requires a lot of notice several months in advance and strong customer service efforts in order to avoid a backlash. While younger members might not even notice the change, less tech-savvy clients might get upset or confused. Make paper statements an optional choice for these types of customers.

Another option is to add a monthly service fee for those who choose to get paper statements delivered. One downside is that those who prefer paper statements might grumble at having to pay for something that used to be free.

IMS’ eStatements and eNotices solution speeds up the entire process of generating and sending statements to your members. It drastically cuts down on the time it takes to complete the process (and the equivalent cost!) as it already follows the format required by your print vendor. 

Additional benefits include instant notifications sent to members once a new eStatement is generated, easy access for your team, integration with your internet banking vendor, secure hosting of notices, member statements, tax documents, and more.

Connect with us to find out how we can help you and your members transition to eStatements here: or read our next blog post for more promotion strategies that will help increase eStatement adoption!

Connecting Credit Unions With the Millennial Market

In our early October 2018 newsletter, we shared with readers that nearly 75% of millennials (also known as Generation Y) are unaware that credit unions are not-for-profit, member-owned financial institutions. According to the US Census Bureau, there are more than 83.1 million millennials in the US – who are comprised of those born between the years of 1982 and 2000. Armed with this information and a handy calculator, we can determine that there are roughly 63 million young adults in the United States who don’t understand what a credit union is – meaning they don’t understand the benefits and upsides of conducting their financial business with one.

Understanding the “Why?” Behind the “Who?”

Before credit unions can connect with the millennial demographic, time and consideration must be placed on the expectations – and behaviors – of this particular generation. Gallup released an analytical report specifically geared towards the relationship between millennials and banks. There are acredit unions millennials few facts that stand out in the report.

  • Millennials in the US have the lowest percentage of customer engagement with their primary retail banking institution – roughly only 30%.
  • Gen Y consumers are the least likely demographic to physically visit a branch, mot the most likely to utilize online and mobile banking.
  • Millennials are the most likely to experience a problem or have a bad experience, but the least likely to actually report the issue.
  • In fact, millennials are the most likely demographic to switch banking institutions, at a rate of 8.4%, compared to second-place baby boomers at 3.6%.

Getting Ahead of the Game

There are some credit unions, however, that have recognized the opportunity to connect with this particular generation, and they have done their homework on what turns a millennial prospect into a loyal and long-term credit union member.

There are three major components that these forward-thinking credit unions all took time to understand, in order to be able to attract the attention of millennial consumers and lure them away from the big banks. Instead of painting with a broad stroke, some credit unions focused on what was most important to the millennial generation.

Trust and Relationship Building

The results from the Millennial Disruption Study (MDI) revealed that 71% of millennials would “rather go to the dentist than listen to what their banks are saying”. It’s estimated that 92% of this generation have no trust in banks or financial institutions, and that the financial well-being of customers is not a priority to banking institutions.

While millennials are the first true digital generation, they feel the need to work with businesses who share the same values that they do. The challenge here is creating a meaningful and honest dialogue with a customer base that prefers mobile interaction and accessibility.

catering to millennial bankersUnderstanding and Embracing the “Experience Economy”

The millennial generation isn’t overly concerned with “things”. Rather, this particular generation is focused on experiences; concerts, sporting events, getaways, or two weeks traveling by train instead of buying a car. In a nutshell, millennials are interested in making memories and not acquiring “things”. Touting the benefits – and dividends – offered by niche-specific savings accounts, such as vacation clubs.

Using incentives that will help millennial members participate in experiences, as opposed to tangible gifts and giveaways, can show potential members that your credit union understands the needs and wants of this particular generation, and are working to offer services and products that cater to their specific needs.

Transparency and Genuine Concern

Millennial consumers are inherently suspicious of the motives and “fine print” associated with larger corporations and financial institutions. 53% don’t feel that their bank offers anything different or better than any other bank. Credit Unions need to change this misconception through open, honest communication and a genuine concern for the well-being and personal data protection and safety of the membership.

Offering and marketing your member-facing applications and services is paramount in attracting and retaining a millennial membership. IMS is proud to specialize in providing these solutions to credit unions, and include the following customized and scalable solutions for credit unions nationwide:

eStatements and eNotices

Not only does digital communication reinforce a commitment to the environment, it saves money in costs associated with paper, printing and postage.

Online Loan Applications

IMS can assist your credit union in creating easily accessible online applications that offer immediate answers for members.

Opening an Account Online

Allow users the ability to instantly and easily open an account online, continuing the simple process into online account management, loan applications, and more; seamlessly, across all devices.

Maximizing the Millennial Market Potential

While credit unions are working daily to attract, retain, and build relationships with millennial members, there are some basic features being seen across that board that are of particular interest to the millennial generation, including:

  • free classes and workshops designed to target millennial homebuyers, entrepreneurs, and young adults interesting in building or repairing credit;
  • reliable and intuitive tech options for members, including online banking, remote deposits, and paperless statements; and
  • eliminating fees, or providing a set number of instances per year when fees won’t be charged.

Let your potential members know that by joining, they are part of the ownership. Decisions made by credit unions are in the best interests of the owners, and the owners are the members. Eliminate fine print, and be open and forthcoming. In turn, you will build trust that can turn into long-term loyalty.

The Bottom Line

Offering products, services, and relationships that are important to the millennial generation will create a strong and loyal membership. Find out what those products, services, and relationships need to consist of, and your millennial membership will thrive! Contact IMS today to discuss the customized solutions that we offer to credit unions, and the ways in which we can help your institution!

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Is the Public Cloud Worthy of our Trust?

The Cloud as we all know it, has become such a massive reality in our daily lives that may seem a bit overwhelming at times.  For many people, the Cloud seems to hold a strange, almost magical mystique.  When discussions turn to the Cloud, there is sometimes a hushed reverence that permeates the conversation, something akin to prayer and worship.  For certain individuals, the Cloud evokes a nearly religious devotion, but is the Cloud worthy of such avid devotion or is the Cloud more of a flawed Deity, no less vulnerable than the humans who created it and continue to nurture it today?

Let’s take a quick look at the Cloud’s simple origins.   In its simplest form, the Cloud is merely a server or several servers, sitting in a data center somewhere and connected by intranet for private use or provided for public use via internet.  The Cloud Almighty has been in existence since January 1, 1983, when ARPANET adopted TCP/IP, which took on a more familiar form in 1990 when ARPANET was decommissioned and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee was credited with inventing the World Wide Web.image - data center - cloud

A private cloud typically provides connectivity between two dedicated sites and is locked down for use by an organization.   Also known as an internal cloud, where all data is protected behind firewalls on the company’s intranet.  A private cloud is a common option for companies with more than one data center and all the hardware and components needed to create a cloud.  All maintenance and updating of infrastructure is the sole responsibility of the company.  Private clouds may offer an increased level of security and there is very little or no sharing of resources with other organizations.

The typical public cloud is a scenario where data is stored in a data center of a service provider and the provider is responsible for management and maintenance of the data center and all related functions.  More and more companies are moving toward the public cloud or a mixture of private/public options.  Some companies feel security may be lacking with the public cloud, however, breaches are rare and your data typically remains separate from others.

Smaller companies may tend to choose a public cloud in their effort to reduce maintenance costs, infrastructure expenses, OPEX and CAPEX.  Larger companies may be inclined to choose a private cloud to maintain greater control and an enhanced sense of security… whether real or perceived.

220px-Dictionnaire_Infernal_-_BehemothWhen it comes to Private or Public Clouds, there is still a preverbal elephant in the room.  This elephant looms large in the psyche of companies of any size, whether large or small.   Cloud Network Outages are huge lumbering Mammoths that represent a catastrophic event no company wants to experience.  Amazon Web Services (AWS), is another behemoth which is the dominant market player in the space.  The AWS idea was conceived as early as 2000, and while the AWS concept began to take shape and was publicly discussed in 2003, and the first customer facing launch took place in 2005. Those individuals religiously devoted to the Public Cloud often place AWS on a very tall pedestal and AWS enjoys an exalted position of respect and dominance in the public cloud arena, but not all is Roses and Tulips in the Kingdom of Cloud.  AWS continues to prick its fingers on the thorns of Network Outages.

The most recent AWS Network Outage occurred in the Northern Virginia region on the morning of February 28th, 2017, as the S3 Team was debugging an issue causing the S3 billing system to progress more slowly than expected.   An employee error took down a large swath of Amazon services for nearly 4 hours.  Another AWS Network Outage took place in Sydney, Australia in June 2016 as massive thunder storms caused AWS EC2 and EBS services to fail and a significant number of prime websites and other online presence were down for 10 hours over a weekend. Since AWS’s inception there have been 7 notable Network Outages.

What conclusions can be drawn about the Public Cloud from events like these?  Some might say that regardless of the problems that exist, there are few inventions that positively influence our lives so profoundly on a daily basis.  Others might say that events like these point to dangerous flaws in the systems that impact our lives and there is much to be concerned about.

Regardless of your perspective of all things Cloud and Internet, one thing is certain, both are here to stay and what the future holds may be significantly different than how it is imagined today.

All Howl-ows…Tide?


IMG_0438 copy 2Every October, a large segment of our population is simply enthralled with having the living spook scared out of them and with Halloween rapidly approaching, we thought it would be ghoulishly appropriate to share some frightening fun facts about our fascination with All Hallows’ Eve.

Halloween is believed to have originated in Ireland with the ancient Celtic Festival known as Samhain (pronounced säwėn), which is celebrated on November 1st. However, the night before Samhain, (October 31) the Celtic people believed that the dead returned as Ghosts to roam the countryside. Villagers left food and wine on their doorsteps to keep the Ghosts at bay, and when the villagers left their homes, they wore masks so the dead would mistake them for fellow Ghosts.

In the 8th Century, the Christian Church turned Samhain into All Saints Day. October 31, or All Saints Eve had evolved into Halloween or Hallowe’en, also known as Allhalloween or All Hollows’ Eve. Observances encompass All Saints’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints Day (All Hallows) and All Souls’ Day which last from October 31 to November 2 annually. Each of these observances stem from Allhallowtide, which is a time to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints and all faithful departed Christians.

In Medieval Britain, the tradition of “Souling” began on All Souls Day (November 2nd) in which the needy would beg for pastry know as soul cakes and in return they would pray for people’s dead relatives. As time passed, the practice of “Souling” evolved into “Guising” where young people would dress up in costume and accept food, wine, money, and other offerings in exchange for singing, reciting poetry or telling stories or jokes. In the 19th Century, Irish immigrants instituted the tradition of dressing up in costume in America. In the 1950’s the tradition of Trick or Treating went mainstream with a whole new generation.

According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween is the second highest grossing holiday after Christmas and Nielson Research reports that nearly 600-million pounds of candy is purchased each Halloween. Halloween spending also extends to costume purchases of nearly $2.6 billion… adult costume purchases rack up to nearly $1.22 billion, kids costumes $1.04 billion, and millions are spent each year on pet costumes. Let’s not forget all the life-size skeletons, blow-up monsters, fake cob webs, mantle pieces and other scary decorations, which average around $1.96 billion annually. We spend approximately $360 million on Halloween related greeting cards and there is an annual spike in alcohol purchases in the days preceding Halloween.

Want to have a little spooky fun? Try these Halloween related activities:

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  • Pinterest Best Halloween Pranks