MADISON, Wis. (1/31/13)--Although Pinterest blew into the financial industry with much hype in early 2012, it has mostly been a flop for banks. Credit unions, however, have seen success with it, according to financialbrand.com.
Pinterest is a pinboard photo-sharing website that allows users to create theme-based image collections around their interests and hobbies. They can browse other people's pinboards for inspiration, "liking" photos or "re-pinning" images to their own collections. Today Pinterest has 25 million users, said financialbrand.com (Jan. 30).
Firefighters Community CU in Cleveland is employing Pinterest to socially engage with members on all of its communications channels, Brooke Bates, the credit union's digital marketing specialist, told News Now. "We're trying to stay on the cutting edge of technology in general and explore new channels," she said.
Bates' position was added about one year ago. Now Firefighters CU has a dedicated resource to carry out its strategies on how to use the Pinterest platform. "It is a way to connect more fully with our members," she explained.
The credit union joined Pinterest in February 2012.
"Some of the staff at the credit union were using Pinterest on a personal level before the credit union decided to use it, and we then realized other people were using it too," Bates said. "Women are a large percentage of our membership, and 70% to 80% of Pinterest users are women. So we made connections that way because women were flocking to Pinterest."
"We found more success on Pinterest by sharing content that helps users and helps them solve their financial problems. For instance, it provides financial tips and ideas on how to save money. There is no reason why we can't take our type of services and place them into the context of Pinterest," Bates said.
Pinterest made it evident that the passions of the credit union could intersect with its members' passions. For example, Pinterest often carries personal information such as recipes. The credit union runs a "Cheap Eats" section and provides economical tips on places to eat and how to save when grocery shopping.
Rather than just promoting itself, Firefighters CU tries to illustrate its expertise in areas that Pinterest members already talk about--saving money on recipes or hobbies, she added.
One of the credit union's most popular Pinterest boards is called Home Equity, which provides loan information and more, including tips on how to save money on renovations, remodeling to add value, and how to sell a home.
"We don't just limit ourselves to information about the products and services we offer," Bates said. "We offer tips such as 'The 13 painting secrets the pros won't tell you.' We try to illustrate our financial expertise that is relevant to members' everyday lives."
The credit union has not tracked its return on investment in Pinterest because it is not a mature offering yet, she said.
"We use members' responses to Pinterest to guide our content strategy with other channels such as Facebook," Bates concluded. "We try to gauge how interesting content on Pinterest may guide other marketing strategies."
Another credit union, Anheuser-Busch Employees' CU in St. Louis, Mo., with $1.39 billion in assets, started Pinterest in July. The past six months were good, Pier Alsup, the credit union's senior vice president of marketing and communications, told News Now.
"Our success with Pinterest is headed in the right direction; we have increased the number of followers," Alsup said. "Also, we are reaching two important segments of our membership, females and young adults, both active users of Pinterest. Plus, Pinterest is image-driven so we are able to show our brand via another media channel."
Anheuser Busch Employees' CU currently has 28 boards, with more than 750 images pinned, and 100 followers.
Some of its board names are: Holidays, ABECU in the Community, Useful Infographics, Current Promotions, College, About Credit Unions, Get Organized!, Kids Financial Planning, Back to School, Autumn, Things to Save For, Budget, Save, Spend, Quick & Easy Recipes, Games for Kids, Games for Pre-Teens, Household Tips, Travel Tips, Get Creative & Save!, Taxes, Money Artwork, Home Owners, Teens & Money, Misc, Games for Teens, St. Louis Mo., and Patriotic.
"We try to provide timely and diverse topics, Alsup said. "We hired a social media specialist last year so we could be more proactive within a variety of social media spaces."
To read the financialbrand.com article, use the link.
WYOMISSING, Pa. (1/31/13)--Energy companies participating in an upcoming Marcellus Shade Southpointe Tradeshow show in Washington County, Pa., will get the opportunity to provide the benefit of financial services for their workers and families through a credit union.
Utilities Employees CU, a $1.03 billion asset, nationwide virtual credit union based in Reading, Pa., is participating in the show, which caters to energy companies developing the Marcellus Shale region, one of the world's largest gas fields.
UECU says its representatives will share information about free financial solutions for energy workers with other tradeshow attendees representing energy and related-industry companies working in the state.
"Our credit union has served the energy industry since 1934, with the dual mission of improving the financial well-being of employees and their families, and boosting worker productivity for energy employers," said Jane Kennedy, business development manager for UECU. "It's a win-win, and the best part is we offer this service at no cost to the companies."
Because many professionals in the energy and utility services sector often are dispersed at rural locations often far away from their hometowns, a virtual credit union is a logical strategy for serving their financial needs, said the credit union.
The Marcellus Shale region stretches 95,000 square miles--from West Virginia through upper New York-- and is expected to generate 212,000 jobs, many of whom could be potential credit union members. A "fairway" of the fields covers 40,000 to 50,000 square miles through Pennsylvania (News Now Aug. 18, 2011).
| The Illinois Credit Union League's Melanie Murphy talks to Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors at a Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program class reunion last week at the league offices in Naperville. (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Foundation)|
MADISON, Wis. (1/31/13)--The Illinois Credit Union Foundation is bringing the REAL Solutions enhanced version of the Credit Union Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP) to Illinois credit unions for the third consecutive year, said the National Credit Union Foundation.
FiCEP is a partnership between the National Credit Union Foundation/REAL Solutions, Credit Union National Association's Center for Professional Development (CUNA CPD), the Illinois Credit Union League and Illinois credit unions to train staff to give professional financial counseling and education to consumers throughout the state.
"FiCEP participants are gaining knowledge and skills that help them provide personalized service to credit union members in keeping with our 'People Helping People' philosophy," said Dan Plauda, league president/CEO. He noted that the number of certified financial counselors in Illinois tripled during the past two years, and is set to nearly double this year."
The 2013 Illinois program, which began Jan. 23, has 57 new participants from 19 credit unions and representatives from CUNA Mutual Group. In the first two years of the Illinois program, more than 60 individuals from 30 credit unions graduated as Credit Union Certified Financial Counselors (CCUFC).
Students used the CUNA CPD's FiCEP to study for their CCUFC certification. CUNA staff graded the tests and issued the certificates.
For more information, contact Lois Kitsch, NCUF REAL Solutions Program Director, at email@example.com
WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (1/31/13)--
John Franklin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Credit Union National Association, will retire March 29, announced CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney Wednesday.
Franklin has been with CUNA since December 2003, serving at CUNA's Madison, Wis., location. There he manages the overall strategic, tactical and administrative operations for CUNA and CUNA Strategic Services (CSS).
"John Franklin has nearly 40 years' service to the credit union movement, with bottom-to-top experience in nearly every aspect of the organization, operation and representation of credit unions," said Cheney.
"His leadership and insights have been invaluable to CUNA over the past nine years that he has been with us. I thank him for his service and friendship and wish him the very best in the next chapter of his life," Cheney added.
Before Franklin arrived at CUNA, he served more than 30 years with the South Carolina Credit Union League, the last eight years as president/CEO.
MADISON, Wis. (1/31/13)--Wisconsin's Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has issued an alert cautioning businesses about a company's request for confidential information.
Businesses should use caution if they receive a request for information from a company called Corporate Records Service, said DFI.
"The form has a very official look to it," said Paul Holzem, administrator of DFI's Division of Corporate and Consumer Services. "It includes information about companies that is available on the DFI website, such as corporation number and incorporation date, that make it appear to be a legitimate request."
The company asks business owners to fill out an Annual Minutes Form and submit a fee of $125 to a Madison, Wis., mailbox. Businesses are not required by DFI or any other state agency to complete the form, said DFI."
"Business owners should not be hoodwinked into giving out potentially confidential information and paying an unnecessary fee," Holzem said.
Although the alert is not directed to credit unions, they can inform their members with small businesses about the DFI's concern.
The agency said it has received numerous inquiries from business owners asking whether the form was a new DFI requirement. DFI is the filing office for businesses in the state and is also the regulator of state-chartered credit unions in Wisconsin.
The form states that the company offers to assist businesses with maintaining minutes of meetings of shareholders and boards but does not specify how the service would be supplied.