The January Ideas Exchange: follow up

The January Ideas Exchange: follow up

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We'll be hosting another Credit Union Ideas Exchange on 2nd May. If you'd like to come along, book your place.

Back in January we had 20 people from 15 credit unions sharing best practice.

Key challenges

Participants identified growing the loan book as the key challenge. Priorities for 2019 focussed on different ways to achieve this. Better website and back offices processes. Expanding payroll deduction. Getting more from the common bond. Improving awareness. These are the big priorities for 2019.

Do you know the cost of doing business?

Obviously, strategies for growth cost money. Simon Blissett kicked off the day with a thought-provoking discussion on profitability. Loans generating a loss are only encouraging insolvency. Simon broke down the cost of lending. He identified areas not everyone had previously considered.

Understanding the cost of doing business is an area where more sharing of ideas was suggested.

Because of this, the next Ideas Exchange will consider the cost of making loans and acquisition.

Better marketing

Credit unions shared marketing experiences.

Facebook was widely used, resulting in some paid advertising. However most used it for free. Twitter is useful for business to business relationships. On the other hand, few credit unions use LinkedIn. Mailchimp is the main tool for email campaigns.  Google Analytics was popular. This was an outcome of budgets. Consequently, if we are only spending £100 on a campaign, can we over analyse results?

Interestingly there was a divergence on approach. Some wanted to just get on and do it. Howerver, others wanted to agree policies before campaigning. Nevertheless, social media was recognised as a major way to market credit union services.

Understanding digital marketing strategies was a priority. As a result, an expert has been invited to present at the MayIdeas Exchange.

Online loans

Castle & Crystal showed a loan application process. It was built by NestEgg. 

Following this there has been a 114% increase in new member loan applications. A subdomain on their website provides an end to end application processe including common bond verification. This talks directly to a decision engine. Furthermore, analytics are available to demonstrate which marketing campaigns result in accept, refer or decline decisions.

Open Banking for Good

Gareth McNab from Nationwide gave an overview of Open Banking for Good.

#OB4G aims to improve financial capability for the financially squeezed. Using Open Banking to solve some of society's biggest challenges by creating apps and services that improve financial capability.

Connections to bank accounts using Open Banking can provide alerts. Account holders could be warned that they have breached a budget target. Maybe they've spent than £x at coffee shops this month. Conversely this can be positive. When an account holder under-spends, they could be informed about spare cash. Consequently this can be deposited into a savings account.

As a result of Open Banking, money advisers’ time could be freed up using transaction data complete realistic financial statements. People in care could be supported where proof of spend is provided by carers, ensuring that they use a cared-for person's account only within agreed parameters.

OB4G continues to work with seven finalists to develop their concepts to scalable solutions. A community curating new use cases providing a positive narrative shows how tech can be used for good.

More good ideas

We ran a speed dating session to exchange good ideas.

Unsuprsingly a lot of discussion focussed on IT. Two credit unions had recently migrated platforms. Another would do so soon. Furthermore there was interest in credit unions collaborating. Especially if it meant a better deal with a provider could be struck. This could be several providers if the solution was part of a wider eco-system.

Participants wanted a session on IT strategy at the next Ideas Exchange.

One of the biggest and most positive changes to customer service has been the introduction of e-signed loan agreements. In one credit union's case this reduced footfall by 60% over the Christmas period.

It's not all about tech. A couple of credit unions were using personas for their marketing. These are characterisations of users who represent a segment of your target audience. Here's a video with more information:

Several credit unions are continuing to work with housing associations. One had created a common approach to be used by different providers. Ensuring continuity of service, this helps manage tenant expectations.

Dave Browne presented an opportunity for credit unions to partner with a charity providing access to affordable white goods. A single portal could use to market such a service. Potentially with automated lending decisioning behind the scenes. Stores are opening across the country, including in Manchester, Norwich, Gloucester, Outer London and North London.

Contact Dave if you're interested in finding out more.

We finished the day with an overview of different types of online chat services. Read a full blog about this.

Next steps

Download the slides from the day:

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