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Illinois REAL Solutions CUs discuss innovations
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (10/12/09)--Illinois REAL Solutions partner credit unions met to discuss the latest innovations and initiatives of the Filene Institute's i3 group.
Jean Theis, vice president of operations at Motorola Employees CU, Schaumburg, Ill., tells Illinois REAL Solutions partner credit unions about a Debt in Focus web interface initiative to help members get anonymous debt management advice
Frank Weidner, senior vice president of member services at Alliant CU, Chicago, describes the latest projects of the Filene Research Institute's i3 group, a group that explores ideas, innovation and implementation for credit unions, to credit union partners of Illinois REAL Solutions. (Photos provided by the Illinois Credit Union League)
The i3 group identifies and evaluates recent credit union innovations that meet members' needs, lower costs or increase efficiencies, build member loyalty, meet niche needs. and enhance credit union effectiveness. Jean Theis, vice president of operations at Motorola Employees CU, Schaumburg, told credit unions about a Debt in Focus Web interface. Rolled out in June, the initiative provides credit union members with anonymous debt management advice and delivers an actionable plan to help reduce debt and improve members' credit profiles. The tool provides the members with a summary of their debt. According to Filene, 62% of the U.S. population has less than $100,000 in assets. They represent 12% of consumer assets nationwide and are overlooked by today's financial advisers, Theis told the group. They struggle with day-to-day life decisions, including debt counseling, home and auto financing, college savings and retirement savings. Credit unions have an opportunity to build on their strong reputation of trust by giving members a way to analyze their own debt situation and by laying out an action plan to make improvements, she said. Theis also provided updates on other i3 innovations. Representatives from Alliant CU, Chicago, described that credit union's innovations. Joe McGowan, Alliant director of marketing, presented Friends and Benefits, a customized benefit initiative being piloted by the credit union. The program summarizes the value of each member's relationship with the credit union. Its report displays for the member what they have saved or earned above what they would expect at another financial institution. The objective is to demonstrate that the credit union offers the overall greatest value to the member, McGowan said. Also, the benefits statement means the credit union can learn more of the members' business by including offers of loans and other products for which they are eligible. Alliant plans to expand the pilot to a larger, targeted audience and produce an online version as well as a print version. Elements of the report will be included in statements and online banking. Frank Weidner, Alliant CU senior vice president of member services, provide an overview of several of the latest i3 products. These included:
* The Leap, a Web platform aimed at Gen Y regarding sustainable "green" products available at credit unions; * Share the Wealth, a home equity referral program; * The Giving CD, a concept to use the financial power of credit union members to provide funds for development and expansion support of other cooperatives; * Responsible Rent, a loan program for investment property owners in times of foreclosures and depressed home values; and * Credit Union Benefits for Employees, a pooling approach for credit unions to jointly purchase healthcare insurance and benefits.
The Illinois Credit Union League and Illinois Credit Union Foundation have teamed up with the National Credit Union Foundation to offer REAL Solutions for Low Wealth Households. There are 45 credit unions involved in REAL Solutions in Illinois.
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