We’ve known for some time that credit union members would prefer accessing financial services at a credit union. While more than half of members report that, only 3% of members utilize their credit unions for investment services. That’s according to research from Kehrer Bielan, sponsored by CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI).
Now, during a time of global pandemic and economic uncertainty, it may seem counterintuitive to focus on investments. Members are struggling economically and face nerve-wracking uncertainty. But this is exactly when these services and strong financial planning need to be present and proactive within credit unions.
The same research found that 33% of households with at least one credit union member say providing for retirement is their most important financial goal. At a time when many people’s financial planning and retirement goals might be put off, credit unions should be the go-to source to help members through this crisis.
There is enormous opportunity for credit unions to do more to empower their members and help them through the uncertainty they face, as well as to grow their business by making investment services equally important as their savings, loans and insurance products.
But making investment services core requires more than just vision—it involves deep thought, a data-driven strategy and four core best practices:
Increase Advisor Headcount. Start by focusing on advisor recruiting. Use a junior/associate advisor model where senior advisors mentor those with less experience. This can fill your pipeline with promising, skilled professionals who can grow your advisory business. Nurturing the next generation of advisors is critical. Today, only 11% of advisors are under age 35.  However, as baby boomers are expected to pass down up to $68 trillion of wealth to their Generation X and millennial family members, your credit union needs advisors on tap to build and nurture long-term relationships with these legacies.  Work with an external partner or broker/dealer (BD) with deep credit union expertise to employ this model and drive headcount.
Best Practice 1: BENCHMARK To enhance your wealth management program, set a benchmark to deploy at least one advisor for every $150 million in share deposits
Drive Growth of Your Advisory Business. Working with a credit-union-focused BD also can propel your overall investment services strategy. A qualified BD can help your credit union develop a strategic plan, set company-wide goals that increase the number of members helped with wealth management services, and give you tools and technology to accomplish these goals.
Look for a BD that offers robust advisor recruitment and onboarding services and marketing resources; has deep compliance and industry knowledge; and can provide ongoing training, education and back-office operations support for financial advisors. Once you have all these resources in place, you then can focus on advisor retention to maintain top performers and their clients.
Best Practice 2: BENCHMARK Ensure at least 50% of new investment assets go into advisory accounts.
Deliver Financial Planning. Provide centralized financial planning support for advisors, so they can focus less on administrative tasks and more on client acquisition that will generate long-term value.
Also invest in data, analytics and product enhancements to drive program growth. Look at your initial benchmarks and success metrics to assess performance and opportunities for improvement.
Best Practice 3: BENCHMARK Generate half of your investment services revenue from fees on advisory accounts.
Increase Member Awareness and Drive Referrals. Driving member awareness and referrals is a crucial part of growing your advisory business. Streamline marketing activities across advisors and your credit union’s in-branch and digital marketing activities by working with a strategic partner who can help you:
Best Practice 4: BENCHMARK Set a goal to refer at least 1.5% of members to your credit union’s financial advisors every year.
Invest in Your Credit Union’s Future
Establishing an investment services relationship for members will deepen their connection to your brand— and their trust in it. As research shows, members who enter into this engagement with their credit union do more business with you in the long term. Making investment services core also requires a well-thought-out and integrated strategy where every part of your organization—including advisors—is laser-focused on the benchmarks and goals that will make this new vision a reality.
Are you ready to make investment services core to your credit union? Discover more resources and best practices.
By Frank Smith, Director, CUNA Mutual Group, Investment Solutions
 Retirement Income Journal, “Babybust? Only 11.7% of financial advisors are under 35: Cerulli”, March 8, 2018.
 CNBC, “$68 trillion is about to exchange hands in the US,” November 20, 2018. All other data from “Making Wealth Management Core in Credit Unions” by Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting, sponsored by CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), February 2019.
Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/ NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution. CBSI is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty states of the United States of America. The representative may also be financial institution employee that accepts deposits on behalf of the financial institution.
NetGiver took top honors at NACUSO's Next Big Idea Competitio! This is the first year that the competition offered prize money - $7,500 for first place, and $2,500 for second place, courtesy of CO-OP Financial Services.
Each contestant is given 7 minutes to present and then the judges were given 8 minutes to ask questions with the audience ultimately the deciding the winner. And with over 125 attending they voted NetGiver as number one and Posh Technologies took second place.
Criteria for the Next Big Idea are initiatives to improve earnings, enhance member service, deliver new products and services to members and improve delivery channels to members. The innovations can be at various stages of development, including early stage and in need of investment, ready to be delivered or already in motion and are growing and changing the industry.
Earlier this year, MnCUN joined the ownership of NetGiver; a CUSO which enables fee-free charitable contributions exclusively for credit union members through a mobile giving platform.
For more information on the NetGiver partnership, contact Kris Jacobsen, MnCUN Director of Business Development.
For more details on the Final Four competitors, visit: https://www.co-opfs.org/Media-Relations/2020/CO-OP-and-NACUSO-Announce-Next-Big-Idea-Winners-News-Release
Members of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, Fulda Area Credit Union and Hiway Federal Credit Union were the lucky recipients of $1,000 by participating in the WINcentive program. Participating members in the WINcentive Savings program through Minnesota credit unions were eligible to win one of five $1,000 prizes and one of forty-five $100 prizes as a part of the quarterly drawings held in October.
Through September 2020, WINcentive in Minnesota has reached over 8,300 accounts open with nearly $9 million in total saved by members of credit unions throughout the state. To date, participating members have an average saved balance of $1,081.
WINcentive Savings incentivizes consumers in to save by offering risk-free rewards. WINcentive prizes are awarded on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis, with prizes ranging from $100 to $5,000. Account holders in Minnesota qualify for up to four chances per month for each $25 increase in their month over month savings balance. The Minnesota Credit Union Network and TruLync also administer prize-linked savings programs for credit unions in Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin.
For details about prize-linked savings, please contact Director of Business Development, Kris Jacobsen, or Director of Engagement, Ben Hering, via email. More information about WINcentive Savings, including a list of participating credit unions, can be found at wincentivesavings.org.
Photo: Fulda Area Credit Union employees celebrate with member, Marian, a recent quarterly WINcentive Savings prize winner
Economic conditions and balance sheets have changed dramatically in the past 12-months and positioning for 2021 and beyond will be critical. Join the Baker Group for a free webinar on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 10:30 am.
American Banker (Sept. 24, 2020) - With the COVID-19 pandemic ushering in a new era of stay-at-home orders, masking up and social distancing, the question for credit unions remains: what does the future hold for branches?
How to rationalize branches – and when or if to close them – are huge decisions to make. Even with reduced foot traffic, members will be impacted when a credit union goes from, say, three branches to two.
But with members shifting from in-branch to digital transactions, many branches can no longer be financially justified. All of which can leave many members – and often a credit union’s longest-standing and most loyal members – without the live branch experience they still expect and often need.
At their core, effective insurance products and financial services must be customer-centric, benefiting both credit unions and their members. Offerings need to be easy to understand and simple to apply for and administer. Most importantly, coverages need to protect customers in their time of need. We know that credit unions work hard to ensure the products they offer are the right match for the members they serve. And the events of this year have made the need for that focus even more clear: To serve members best, we must further emphasize a consumer needs-based approach to developing the solutions we offer.
As chief financial and product officer at CUNA Mutual Group, I’m charged with leading a diverse product portfolio. Through what we’ve learned in today’s environment, we must ask ourselves, “How do our products level the playing field?” “Do we provide access and opportunities to protect all families and individuals, regardless of their backgrounds?” and “Where can we break down the barriers that prevent us from serving more members, and making financial security accessible to all?”
Join the Minnesota Credit Union Network's Strategic Alliance partner, Credit Union Loan Source (CULS), on Thursday, September 24 at 10 a.m. to learn about ways in which their services can support your auto loan portfolio needs. The Network has partnered with CULS to provide state-chartered credit unions the opportunity to supplement direct auto loan growth by investing in indirect auto loan participations.
Join JMFA on Thursday, September 17, 2020 11:00 am., for a compliance webinar titled “Safeguard Member Relationships, Revenue and Reputation” presented by Cheryl Lawson, EVP of Compliance Review. Learn how you can safeguard your credit union from compliance and legal scrutiny, while improving your service delivery and generating revenue. Visit JMFA to register.
The Women’s Leadership Network invites female credit union colleagues to our next virtual event on August 27 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Leadership Coach and Facilitator Lisa Hayes will be joining us again for the second session in her series Your Leadership Coordinates for Leadership Presence. In this session, Lisa will focus on Powerful Communication; how to make your voice heard, have confidence in communication, influencing your audience, and being assertive.
Join us for an engaging conversation online, connect with your Women’s Leadership Network colleagues, and receive resources from the day.
Registration is now open and available until August 21.
For more information about the Minnesota Credit Union Women’s Leadership Network, visit the group page online.
The Minnesota Credit Union Network is pleased to announce a new service available to its member credit unions to automate and simplify the process of switching direct deposits and automatic payments. MNCUN has partnered with ClickSWITCH to offer this service.
ClickSWITCH provides a digital member growth solution to financial institutions allowing account holders to switch direct deposits and recurring payments in just a few minutes. ClickSWITCH encourages members to make their new account their primary account driving deposit growth, profitability and long-lasting primary relationships for credit unions.
“The Minnesota Credit Union Network understands the hassle that consumers face when switching accounts to a new credit union. ClickSWITCH provides the leading solution for simplifying this process and we are excited to be able to offer this local Minneapolis, MN based solution to our member credit unions,” said Kris Jacobsen – Director of Business Development at the MnCUN.
“MnCUN is a well-respected credit union organization. We are proud to partner with MnCUN to provide our services to its members, said Eric Edwards, Chief Revenue Officer at ClickSWITCH. “ClickSWITCH can enable credit unions to reduce friction in the onboarding journey, encouraging new members to quickly and easily develop primary relationships.”
To learn more about the ClickSWITCH partnership, contact Kris Jacobsen, MnCUN Director of Business Development.
The Pulse is MnCUN's newsletter that keeps credit union professionals and board members updated on current news and information.