MADISON, Wis. (5/20/08)--Eight new projects by the Filene Research Institute's i3 innovations group were highlighted at Filene's Cherry Blossom Gathering of credit union executives recently at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The eight presentations likely will become part of credit union operations before long, said Filene in a press release. The projects include:
* Single Again. The project targets newly divorced or widowed credit union members and their needs regarding loan modifications. Team spokesman Mike Fletcher, vice president of marketing and development at Portland-based West CU, said the project can fill a void while strengthening the relationship between member and the credit union. * First Step Program. The First Step Program is designed to assist members with their dreams and to get them one step closer to financial freedom. It targets people who are underserved by banks and who gravitate toward check cashers and payday lenders. * The Big Idea. The project also helps members "turn dreams into reality" with small business ownership. People nearing retirement age are starting their own businesses. The Big Idea would provide a business readiness tool to help members get their idea off to a good start. * Unite. Team spokesmen Steve Koenen of Altra FCU and Charlie White of Members United Corporate FCU describe United as a relationship-pricing program allowing a group of members to benefit from the collective value of participating in specific credit union products and services. The "friends and family" type of program is designed to change behavior in product usage and to help generate new memberships, retain existing ones and generate credit union advocates in the community. * Sandwich Generation. The project focuses on providing online educational resources for members caring for aging parents while supporting children or grandchildren. * Focus on Thrift--Collaboration in the Classroom. Credit unions would pool resources to hire a representative to visit schools on their behalf and to develop an online class. * Airport Oasis Lounge. This would be a designated airport luxury space for credit union members. * Choice Endings. The program would provide members with funeral planning assistance.
Filene Executive Director Mark Meyer said "every one of these ideas reflects a very real demand among credit union members." i3 can contribute potential solutions to credit unions to meet those demands, Meyer added.