6 Best Practices for a Successful Credit Card Rewards Program
Careful promotion and data analysis can bring value to current and potential members.
Offering a great credit card is one of the best ways a credit union can bring value to its current and potential members. To establish a competitive credit card program, it’s important to consider a variety of factors, including credit line management, late fee assessment timing and banking identification number consolidation. However, when it comes to actually attracting new members to your program, we find that few things are more important than your rewards strategy.
Here are six steps you can take to run your best rewards program ever:
- Establish an annual marketing calendar outlining your plan to promote your credit card program throughout the year. Consider traditional marketing methods along with digital platforms like email, social media and landing pages.
- Combine annual percentage rate, usage and education campaigns (i.e., about tokenization, Visa Checkout and credit management—best practices for increasing your credit score, how to use debt, etc.) to keep your card relevant and to make sure members understand the features and benefits of your card.
- Be sure to set firm end dates for your promotions. We’ve seen many examples in which, during a 90-day balance transfer promotion, 50 percent of the transferred funds came in the last two weeks.
- Try analyzing the ACH activity of your share drafts to look for card payments to or from big banks, and then target additional marketing to those members.
- Offer custom programs focused on market dynamics. Consider cash-back redemption options, charitable donation redemption options, advanced reward points scoring on e-commerce sites like Amazon, promotions tied to new locations accepting Visa (like Costco) and redemption options offered by local merchants that have relationships with your credit union.
- Continually analyze your card program to determine your areas of need, and tailor your promotional campaigns to directly address those needs. For example, a credit union may be struggling with low card usage. This could be rectified by running a rewards campaign promoting double points.
A great credit card program is essential for a credit union to thrive in the ever-growing financial services industry, yet only 60 percent of CUs currently offer a credit card to their members. We know that credit card programs can be very expensive to run, especially for smaller credit unions, but there are products available that can help you offer a great credit card to your members with no start-up fees and very little risk to your CU.
Sprint & T-Mobile Agree to Merge
We're very excited that Sprint and T-Mobile have agreed to merge. This is terrific news for customers!
Together, the two will create the best nationwide mobile 5G network and fuel a giant wave of innovation and disruption throughout the entire marketplace. This means they'll be creating a combined company with the scale and resources to provide a faster, more reliable network at lower prices and with better value. They’ll also be able to better serve rural communities and compete in areas well beyond the traditional wireless business, such as home broadband, video and the Internet of Things.
This announcement is just the first step in a long process of combining their organizations, which they expect to be completed in the first half of 2019. But nothing changes for now. Their main focus is meeting and exceeding the needs of their valued customers today, through the close and beyond. We can't wait for what the future holds!
Why should you be excited?
• Both companies have incredible momentum and incredible assets.
• Sprint’s spectrum provides enormous depth. T-Mobile’s spectrum gives us a breadth of coverage.
• And when they combine them, they’ll create the best nationwide mobile 5G network and fuel a giant wave of innovation and disruption throughout the entire marketplace.
Delivering consumer benefits
- Consumers will benefit from better products and services. The merger will provide the scale and resources to provide U.S. consumers and businesses with greater competition.
- The merger also will result in an immediate improvement to the quality of Sprint’s existing 4G/LTE network.
- They will provide a faster, more reliable network at lower prices and with better value.
- As a combined company, they’ll also be able to better serve rural communities and compete in areas well beyond the traditional wireless business, such as home broadband, video and IoT.
For more information about the transaction, please visit https://allfor5g.com.
Running for a Great Cause
CUNA Mutual Group’s Tim McAdow shares his experience running the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run.
On April 8, I was one of several who represented CUNA Mutual Group at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run. We joined thousands of runners from coast-to-coast participating in credit union road races to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Since 2009, CUNA Mutual Group has supported the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by participating in the Credit Union SACTOWN Run in Sacramento, California and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run in Washington, D.C. We send teams of employees to join the army of credit union movement road warriors to show our spirit in solidarity.
It was a rewarding time in Washington D.C. I had the opportunity to spend three days with the organizing committee, credit union leaders and volunteers. Holding an event of this magnitude isn’t easy, and I was inspired by the passion and energy that goes into the preparation.
The opportunity to visit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Washington D.C. was a remarkable experience – a chance to see the reality that many families face and the difference we can make with our financial support. I’ve had friends and family directly benefit from the research and special work that goes on in Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, so this event held a special place in my heart.
The weekend began with the children’s race on Saturday. The threat of a snowstorm didn’t deter kids of all ages from getting out and running to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Many of the kids were from families that have benefited from the hospitals and the financial support provided by credit unions and their members. I met one family where both parents had been running the 10-mile race for years, and now their children were participating in the kid’s race. With credit union support, those kids may someday run the 10-miler themselves!
On Sunday, I joined almost 20,000 runners that tackled a clear but cold start and finished either a 10 mile or 5K course. This race lived up to its name with the cherry blossoms in full bloom on race day.
It was one of the quickest races I’ve ever completed. Not because of a lightning-fast pace but rather the perspective that it provided. My mind raced as I ran through the blossoms, around monuments and reflected on the collective impact this group has in communities across the country.
People Helping People
Participating in this race was just another day in the life of hundreds of credit union advocates. It was a chance to pull together with like-minded folks, helping provide hope to families when they need it most. At the center of CUNA Mutual Group’s cooperative purpose is helping people. I can’t think of a better way to live our purpose than by supporting the Children’s Miracle Network and the families they serve. Together, thanks to 70 credit unions and other key sponsors, we enabled a $380,000 donation!
Want to get involved? It’s not too late. Your support helps provide 32 million patient visits for the 10 million kids served by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals every year. Learn more and donate today. Your support is greatly appreciated, and 100 percent of the funds donated will go to local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Together we can make a difference.
Sprint Offer Update
Effective May 18, 2018, there were updates to the Sprint Credit Union Member Cash Rewards offer. To help your credit union prepare for this update, Love My Credit Union Rewards has set up an information Sprint Offer Update Hub located in the Partner Center to answer all your questions.
Updated Offer Details
- $100 cash reward for every new line activated with Sprint (up to 3 lines total)
- $50 cash reward for lines transferred into the program
- $50 loyalty cash reward every year for each line activated or transferred (up to 3 lines total)
- 25% off eligible accessories in Sprint stores and the best Unlimited plan with Hulu
Impact for Your Members and Credit Union
- The updated offer will have little or no effect on your members because the average household has approximately 2.5 phones.
- Credit unions will get paid the same way, and paid for the same number of lines (up to 15).
For additional information on the Sprint offer update including, key dates, the full terms and conditions, FAQs and updating marketing materials, please visit the Partner Center and click on “Sprint Offer Update” in the navigation or visit www.LoveMyCreditUnion.org/SprintOfferUpdate.
CO-OP Financial Services Introduces COOPER; Advanced New Date-Driven “Brain” Designed to Detect and Fight Fraud
Foundational Step to Advanced Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Exclusively to Help Credit Unions Improve Security and Increase Member Engagement
CO-OP Financial Services is unveiling COOPER, an advanced data-driven platform designed to detect and fight fraud faster than ever before, bringing more visibility to member activity and needs. COOPER is CO-OP’s largest technology initiative, in which the company is investing millions of dollars to provide state-of-the-art machine learning and artificial intelligence to its client credit unions across the CO-OP ecosystem.
“COOPER is a major piece in our strategy to bring greater security throughout our products and services, while providing the most seamless experience to credit union members,” said Todd Clark, President/CEO for CO-OP. “COOPER will allow us to constantly improve upon the fight against fraud by enabling the understanding of huge amounts of data and detecting complex patterns rapidly.”
Positioned behind the scenes as the data-driven “brain” inside of CO-OP, COOPER will be used by the company exclusively on behalf of its client credit unions. Data will be harnessed to incorporate machine learning and eventually AI to better mitigate fraud and enable greater member engagement.
Beginning this summer, CO-OP will roll out COOPER Fraud Analyzer, an account-based risk management solution for CO-OP Shared Branch clients that will provide added protection to identify and prevent potentially fraudulent transactions.
The company will subsequently launch COOPER Fraud Score, using machine learning to create a risk-scoring model that determines the level of suspicion for a transaction. This capability will be available on account-based products later this year, and for card-based products in 2019, so that the power of machine learning will run across the entire CO-OP ecosystem, further integrating the user experience for clients and members.
“Understanding members and predicting patterns also enables more targeted communications and offers,” said Clark. “COOPER is being introduced as an enhancement to our fraud mitigation solutions, but it will be additionally leveraged later for greater member engagement and more precise targeting to anticipate member needs.”
Machine learning can reduce manual review of queues, easily adapt to new business lines, reduce false positives and increase precision. CO-OP’S advanced fraud products, including COOPER, card controls and credit line risk tools, are designed to adhere to customized fraud tolerance levels by individual clients.
For more information on COOPER, including an introductory video, visit www.co-opfs.org/cooper.
Does Size Matter?
When it comes to supporting credit unions, all sizes matter to CUNA Mutual Group. Whether “big or small, we CU.”
This is the focus of a new campaign recently launched that is specifically designed to reach the more than 4,000 credit
unions with assets under $100 million.
Through this campaign, CUNA Mutual Group is reinforcing their commitment to serving the unique needs of small credit unions. As CUNA Mutual Group works to develop new capabilities and enrich their customers’ experience, they are focused on developing enhancements that will benefit credit unions to all sizes.
Learn more at cunamutual.com/WeCU.
5 Rules for Creating an Irresistible Culture
Everyone should be a firm believer in the mantra: If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your account holders, who will, in turn, take care of the organization. So, when it comes to taking care of employees, boosting retention is extremely important—and you’ll have much greater success doing so if your company has an irresistible culture. I’m not talking Google-level amenities and perks, but certainly a culture that offers a vibrant, positive, fun and rewarding environment in which to work.
This is easier said than done. In a recent Duke University survey of 1,800 CEOs and CFOs, 78 percent said culture is one of the top five things that adds value to their companies—but only 15 percent said their own corporate culture is exactly where it should be.
There have been many of our community bank and credit union clients overhaul their corporate cultures in order to retain talent, hire for the future, build account holder loyalty and reach growth goals. The clients who have done this successfully have adhered to a handful of very important tenets.
1. Change starts at the top.
Leadership needs to, well, take the lead on this. It’s up to them to take the pulse of their employees, determine the direction to take the culture and be ambassadors for all adopted changes. Along with approving all additional benefits and program changes, CEOs and other managers need to set the tone and spread a positive vibe throughout the organization. Their actions speak volumes and will give employees the green light to embrace changes.
2. Results take time.
A culture change is not something sent in a memo on a Monday and implemented before the weekend arrives. It takes time to make decisions, upgrade benefits and perks, spread the word, refresh marketing communications, change community involvement and see widespread employee adoption. With something as important as defining and nourishing corporate culture, the last thing you want to do is rush it. Instead, you want to see employees embrace it.
3. Employees are the company’s #1 asset.
Employees are an important part of the equation when it comes to both retaining and losing account holders. When your employees enjoy their jobs and respect upper management, their actions are more likely to translate into greater customer service. It’s the incentives, staff activities and benefits that you provide show that you’re invested in your employees’ growth, happiness and well-being.
Some institutions' CEOs or other members of the leadership team organize a variety of outings for groups within their organization. Whether it’s lunch, dinner or another type of gathering outside the office, the dialogue during these gatherings not only deepens the relationship between management and staff, it strengthens the connection to the company and shows that upper management values the input and company of all employees – no matter their position, title or job function.
Employee recognition also fosters a positive work environment. Often, simply showing appreciation outranks a bonus or promotion, according to a recent study from Appirio.
Finally, finding opportunities to help employees develop their professional skills adds value in their eyes, while also benefiting the organization.
4. Fun balances hard work.
This great saying says it all:
“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.
You find the fun and – snap! – the job’s a game.
Encourage your employees to find and enjoy the fun amidst all of their hard work, and it will go a long way towards preventing burnout and improving overall culture.
5. People can sense a positive culture.
There are a number of ways prospective and current account holders will see your corporate culture in action:
- through advertisements, marketing campaigns and web content;
- by walking into the bank or credit union and seeing employees happily interacting with each other and account holders;
- at fun community events;
- by reading social media posts from and about your institution; and
- through their own interactions with your employees.
It is noticeable, and people will sense whether your bank or credit union has a vibrant or dull culture, one built on serving account holders or their own interests, one that gives its employees freedom or micromanages every detail.
Another great benefit of this palpable vibe, if your company has a positive one: It will serve as a powerful recruitment tool.
When you keep these five principles in mind, you’ll be able to focus on the big picture and create a valuable, sustainable organizational culture. If you discover you need help finding the best candidates to match your company culture or new management to help you change the current culture, look to an experienced, professional recruiting organization. One that gives serious consideration to how an individual will fit into the company culture during recruitment to ensure the best possible fit.
Joining Forces to Create New Strategic Data Platform for Credit Unions
CUNA Mutual AdvantEdge Analytics and Microsoft® are joining forces to develop the next-generation data platform for the credit union industry.
“We are excited to work with CUNA Mutual Group, combining their extensive financial services expertise with Microsoft’s expertise in business applications and analytics,” said James Phillips, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Applications Group. “AdvantEdge Analytics provides compelling value to credit unions through their industry-focused application on top of Microsoft’s Common Data Model.”
Tim Peterson, President, AdvantEdge Analytics, went on to say, “With this partnership, we will exponentially expand the industry’s ability to capture the full value of data analytics to help credit unions meet the evolving needs of their members.”
Availability for this AdvantEdge Analytics solution is set for the second quarter. For more information, please visit: advantedgeanalytics.com/DataPlatform.
Come learn with us and jump-start your success with interactive webinars featuring cutting-edge information from experienced facilitators that help you understand not only product details but how to achieve financial success, reduce your risks, and better serve your members.
To register for any of these webinars, please go to https://www.cunamutual.com/resource-library/webinars.
6/5/2018 12:00 PM (CT)
Do you enjoy giving or receiving feedback? Many people feel feedback is reactionary and negative. Revolutionize the way you coach by providing specific, actionable comments that are focused on enhancing future opportunities.
Lending Resource Center/Live Events
Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP): Product Essentials
6/6/2018 10:00 AM (CT)
This course focuses on the foundations of Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP). You will learn how to promote the value of GAP by explaining how this coverage protects your members.
Lending Resource Center/Live Events
6/7/2018 12:00 PM (CT)
As a coach you can often find yourself faced with a tough conversation. How you handle these conversations will ultimately impact employee performance. Implement a proven model that will both change employee behavior and maintain a good working relationship.
Lending Resource Center/Live Events
Member Focused Conversations: Guide with Confidence, PART 1
6/12/2018 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM (CT)
Members are looking for someone to provide them financial guidance. Even if your members are doing well right now, the unexpected can have an immediate impact on their financial well-being. Part 1 focuses on helping your member feel the impact through a Money Game as they make difficult decisions during an already tough time.
Lending Resource Center/Live Events
Member Focused Conversations: Guide With Confidence, PART 2
6/13/2018 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM (CT)
Go the extra mile. Part 2 focuses on using consultative questions and a consistent process to provide your members with personalized solutions. Be committed to being your members' trusted financial consultant. If you don't take the opportunity to guide your members, they will look elsewhere for the guidance they need.
Lending Resource Center/Live Events
Member Focused Conversations: Guide With Confidence, PART 3
6/14/2018 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM (CT)
Part 3 builds on what you learned about a member-focused conversation and takes it to a new level. You won't simply present benefits, you'll personalize them, helping your members to see the value and why payment protection is so important. . .to them!. Go the extra mile.
Lending Resource Center/Live Events
Risk & Compliance Office Hours – Deposit & Payment Transaction Risks
6/20/2018 1:00 PM (CT)
This is your opportunity to ASK anything…well, within reason! We'll briefly cover some latest trends and we’ll devote 60-90 minutes for your questions - live! Join us and ask our experienced consultants your most burning risk & compliance questions related to the office hours topics. We’ll do our best to ensure you’re ready by addressing those lingering questions keeping you awake at night!
Protection Resource Center Webinars & Education
Addressing Concerns: Close the Case
6/21/2018 10:00 AM (CT)
What if the member asks a question or raises a concern? Don't let this question stop you any longer from educating your members on payment protection. Confidently address four common member questions and concerns related to payment protection.
Lending Resource Center/Live Events