As we all know disasters happen no matter what part of the country you live in. Whether it’s the hurricanes in the south, the earthquakes and fires in the west, or the tornadoes, strong storms and harsh winters in the Midwest and east, anyone can face a disaster. As we all prepare our homes for these natural disasters at various times throughout the year, we also need to make sure we have a plan in place for our credit unions and members, especially in times of severe weather when your members need access to their funds more than ever.

One example of disaster recovery and working through a natural disaster is the case of Lennox Employees Credit Union. This credit union and other businesses and homes located in Marshalltown, Iowa, experienced a devastating tornado that caused a lot of damage. The credit union was closed during the weather event but was able to successfully serve all of its members remotely, through the help of Sharetec Service Bureau. Within one hour, Sharetec was able to get the credit union back up and running and gave members full access to their accounts. ACH and share draft returns were some of the crucial services that were up and running in under one hour.

Carl Mundth, President/CEO of Lennox ECU, comments, “We were lucky and did not have nearly as much damage as those around us, with many of our members in desperate need of access to their accounts. Sharetec contacted us right away and were awesome in getting the Sharetec icon on my laptop so I could process ACH and Share draft returns while assisting members during this frantic time.”

Carl offered the following advice for credit unions that may not have experienced a disaster.

Advice for Credit Unions

“Look over your disaster recovery plans. You think it won’t happen to you, but it can happen to anyone within just a few minutes. If we had not been on Sharetec Service Bureau, ACH and Share draft would not have run, and members would have been without access to their funds; it was a tremendous help.”

Accessing the CU System

“Being able to access the credit union’s system is a must. The power went out at the credit union Thursday afternoon around 4:30 p.m. and was not restored until Sunday evening. When returning on Monday, everything was up and running. During the down time, with the help of Sharetec’s business partner, LKCS, we were able to put a message on the website to alert members that the CU was closed and accommodate out of town members by allowing them an increase in their ATM/debit card limits.”

Preparing for a Disaster

“Recovering from a tragedy takes a lot of time and many credit unions will see a huge loss. To help ensure credit unions can recover from a disaster like we went through, it’s important for credit unions to be on Sharetec’s Service Bureau. Wi-Fi is very important during a disaster and with the help of Sharetec, this allowed the credit union to work ACH and Share draft exceptions.”

Sharetec recommends all credit unions consider Sharetec’s Service Bureau to help them through disasters they may encounter. Matt Isger, Regional Director for Sharetec, comments, “With so many disasters happening all around us, it’s crucial for credit unions to have a plan in place. Members need to be able to access their accounts to make it through any disaster and they are counting on their credit union to be there for them. Sharetec’s Service Bureau is a great option for credit unions who want to be prepared.”

To read more, click here.

LorMetAllied Logo19

As the need to improve loan payment processes and enhance member relationship increases, credit unions are seeking solutions that offer a myriad of benefits in the digital loan payment processing arena. Such solutions must not only provide increased process efficiency but satisfy the needs of their current members and entice new members, especially in the younger demographic.

Many credit unions struggle with an efficient way to simplify their loan payment process, manage their high volume of loan payments and satisfy members’ needs. They experience inefficiencies as payments that were not processed through a member’s online banking have to be manually posted to the account by their back office staff. This is highly cumbersome and inefficient and Sharetec recognized this and looked to one of its business partners for a solution.

Sharetec’s PortalPay, an innovative payment solution offered through Sharetec’s partnership with Allied Payment Network, allows members to make payments to a credit union loan from an external financial institution by ACH, debit or credit card. The solution is gaining momentum as it brings significant advantages to credit unions across the country.

One specific credit union that is enjoying the benefits of PortalPay is LorMet Community Federal Credit Union of Amherst, Ohio. Shavena Brown, LorMet’s 1st Vice President/COO, states that their financial institution was primarily seeking a loan payment option that would automatically post to the member’s account. With our previous vendor, payments that were not processed through the member’s online banking had to be manually posted to the account by our back office staff,” remarks Shavena. “With over 200 loans processed each month, LorMet required a solution that would easily and efficiently manage this high volume and meet our members’ diverse needs in the process.” Shavena also states, “PortalPay is such a great alternative to mailing a check, it reduces the loan payment period from seven days to two to three days.”

As an advanced web-based loan payment solution, Sharetec’s PortalPay was able to provide LorMet with those benefits and much more. According to Shavena, the solution offered quick and easy installation for their busy credit union, with no integration required.

PortalPay enables members to easily make payments using their checking account information whenever they choose from any device and they can continue to make payments using the debit card. Back office staff can access the administration site to check the status of payments and research payments on demand. The system is extremely user friendly and customizable.

Dan Miller, Vice President, Sharetec, states that his company is looking forward to continuing to offer the latest and greatest leading-edge solutions to credit unions and further fostering Sharetec’s already successful partnership with Allied Payment Network. “Products such as PortalPay not only strengthen the success of our Sharetec Core Processing solution, they serve to build and improve the relationship that credit unions have with their members. Having this web-based loan payment solution is a win-win for everyone involved. It’s a truly unique product that Sharetec is proud to have among its prime feature offerings.”

To read the full success story, click here

The Gen Z population is becoming a large player in the financial landscape and unfortunately many do not have the financial literacy and proper education to manage their finances. Some of the population banks with the bank or credit union that their parents have always been with, while others either do their own research or pick an online solution. Now, more than ever, is a crucial time for credit unions to market to and attract this valuable population. Credit unions are a great asset for the younger generation to set themselves up for a successful future. The biggest issue is that Gen Z does not know what a credit union is or how they can utilize the products and services offered.

We have talked in the past on how to attract the younger generation through technology and marketing so we are not going to talk about that today. What we want to focus on is what your credit union can and should do once you have successfully gained a new Gen Z member. Gen Z has completely different needs from the member that has been with you for 50 years. The long term members are the ones that still write checks and balance their checkbooks and come in to the branch to get physically get their account balance on a receipt. Very rarely does Gen Z do that. Most don’t even know what balancing a checkbook means. They rely on mobile technology to know everything about their account and their finances, within seconds.

Gen Z focuses on mobile applications and online ease of use. They rarely ever come in to a branch unless it is to sign loan paperwork or request cash that maybe was not available through the ATM for whatever reason. Gen Z will require modern technology when it comes to loans and applying for credit. They want to do all of it and sign it online. For your credit union to continue growing and attracting these new members in these modern times, you must adapt to changes demanded by the new members. Your core should be there to provide integrated technology in order to meet the needs and wants of the changing membership, while keeping the long term members in mind. It is important to improve and evolve but only to make the credit union better and partnering with the right technology partner is an important step in this equation.

At this point we understand that it takes technology and change in order to grow and partnering with the right vendors is crucial. What if you have a technology partner that has been great for a long time but has become slow in developing the technology to take your credit union to the next level? We understand change is difficult for your staff and members but without that change it would mean greater losses in the long run.  (I encourage you to check out the “Should you stay or go” video on our YouTube page here.) Change is hard but necessary and there are many credit unions we speak to each day that just don’t want to go through the change even though they understand they need to. Many times this change does not only mean better experience and more features for your members but also means better efficiency and cost savings for your credit union. Don’t be afraid of change and understand that Gen Z is a large population coming of age that needs your help in setting up their future financial success. Show them what a credit union is and how important it is for them to partner with you.

Growth ClickSWITCH

We’ve found ourselves starting many blogs with the statement, “all credit unions want to grow and attract new members.” Yes, I know that sounds like a broken record and something we hear all the time but there is a reason why we hear it so much and the reason is that it is probably the most important thing for the survival of any credit union. Credit unions want to make it easy for non-members to become members. They want to grow deposits while acquiring these new members. The end goal is ensuring those members continue using their financial institution. We want these new members to continue using your products and services whether it a mortgage or a new vehicle loan. If you make it easy for new and existing members to do business with you, they will continue to do so. It is simple but difficult at the same time. Simple because we all expect the best service and products no matter who we do business with and to the consumer that is just expected. It is difficult because many credit unions and cores out there either make it difficult to evolve or difficult to change. In turn this makes it difficult to provide expected services.

Many credit unions feel stuck and unable to advance their technology because of their core provider and that should never be the case. Your core provider should have products and services available to you before you even know you are in need of them. Your core provider should be ahead of you in technology and member experiences and should understand the trends and ideas that are required for successful growth.

Sharetec has had several credit unions utilize ClickSWITCH and all of these credit unions had more opened checking accounts than the previous year with an increase in balances. ClickSWITCH helps convert account holders into fully engaged customers quickly, by helping them move their direct deposits and recurring payments. This is often a huge burden and a big reason why members choose to stay with their current financial institution, even if they are not fully satisfied. They choose ease over functionality and ClickSWITCH helps make this move much smoother and painless.

Top results for credit unions included 70% higher conversion rate, 31% increase in debit card transactions and 35% increase in debit card net income. Not only have these credit unions been able to focus on members choosing them as their preferred financial institution but they also continue to enroll new members and keep existing members satisfied with the ease of this product. ClickSWITCH is yet another product offered and integrated through Sharetec that allows our credit union partners to grow and maintain membership.

Carrie Heck, Account Relationship Manager with Sharetec, comments, “We are thrilled that Sharetec’s partnership with ClickSWITCH is benefitting our clients and their members. These positive results are proof of what ClickSWITCH can do for our users.”

If you are interested in ClickSWITCH or any other cost saving, efficiency product, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Sharetec.

There is no question one of the most important things for a credit union is consistent membership growth while maintaining current members. This is done many ways but as we have found by talking to several CUs across the country, not all of them are doing some of the most basic outreach functions. Sure, organic growth through location and current members is key but not enough to grow.

Whether you like social media or not, there is no question it is part of our lives every day and most of us partake in one way or another. As a financial institution, it is important to have all of your social profiles claimed and active. This is the case for any business really. All social media sites offer “business” profiles with added features to help your business grow on their platform. Simply having a social profile is not enough, there needs to be a steady flow of relevant content that flows through your channels weekly if not daily. For example, here at Sharetec, we attempt to post a minimum 2 times per day on our channels, if not more. Our posts consist of company information, new products, industry news, customer appreciation and world or local events. It is important for your organization to have a similar flow on your channels. If posting twice a day is difficult, we recommend no less than 3 posts per week. Social media algorithms and trends will start to show your content to less and less people the more inactive you become and it is difficult to grab the attention of the algorithms once, it is lost, as there is so much content out there. Each social media platform has its own audience. Facebook tends to lean towards an older demographic now and the younger demo has escaped their parents and grandparents who are on Facebook and have fled to Instagram, Pinterest or TikTok. Our recommendation is to claim ALL of these channels as you do not want to miss any audience and once you create a piece of content, it is very easy to distribute to all your different channels (there are tools out there that help with this).

Create engaging content that is relevant to the audience. One thing you want to avoid is creating too many “Sales pitch” type content that focuses only on you and what you want your audience to buy. No doubt this will be part of your posting schedule but it should be a small percentage. Instead, focus more attention on the industry and the things your audience is interested in. As you start posting content you will see what types of topics receive more attention and you can focus more of your attention on those topics to help engage more viewers. Social media platforms have very valuable insights on what is and is not working and most of them make suggestions automatically. Have a dedicated person or a 3rd party vendor that can perform these outreach services for you. Hold community events and gatherings to engage more with your local community. Whatever you decide to do, this is important and a big contributor to continued growth.

Of course, social media is not the only tool. Having a well-designed, modern and responsive website is another big contributor to growth. If a prospective member lands on your site and sees that your website is outdated and does not function as it should, they will assume your technology and credit union is outdated as well. Websites are the front porch of the business. If it is not attractive, people will not walk in. Same goes for your current members. If your website or apps do not provide the technology and resources they require, they will more than likely consider a change. This is especially true for the younger demographic of members.

It is important to be up to date on all online channels from the website to social media, to your blog and community engagement events. Whatever you do, make sure you dedicate enough time and resources to these small but powerful elements. As the landscape becomes more competitive and online financial institutions continue to grow, change is inevitable and in order to survive there needs to be a plan put in place to ensure continued audience engagement.