Keys to Upping the Ante on the Competition Revealed at “Drive”

by Bill Meyer

To gain an upper-hand in today’s ultra-competitive lending marketplace, credit unions need to embrace (and implement) new strategies and solutions that effectively engage members and improve loyalty, drive member loans, better manage risk, and ultimately grow portfolios.

At CU Direct’s recent Drive ’15 Conference, credit unions had an opportunity to discover how to “up the ante” on the competition.  Successfully delivering on the event’s theme and goal, the conference provided 500 credit union attendees with an ideal setting to gain new insight and perspectives on the latest lending and marketing strategies, tools, and best practices to build stronger, more profitable lending portfolios and to reach more members.

Increasing Market Share and Creating an Unforgettable Member Experience

The extensive line-up of speakers at Drive offered a dynamic cross-section of A-list industry leaders and marketplace experts, providing critical insight to the industry’s latest issues and trends affecting all aspects of lending — from efficiencies, market growth, and risk management and regulations, to business intelligence and portfolio management strategies.

Speakers included such high-profile business leaders and innovators as: Bob Lutz, retired vice chairman of General Motors Corporation; Andrew Davis, CEO of Monumental Shift;  Mike Maddock, self-proclaimed “Idea Monkey,” entrepreneur, inventor, author, and founding partner/CEO of Maddock Douglas; George Hofheimer, Chief Knowledge Officer, Filene Research Institute; Jeff Marcoux, CMO Lead for Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft; Automotive News’ industry editor, Jim Treece; and Jeff Schood, founder, CEO, Intuvo.

Bob Lutz, one of the world’s most experienced and recognized auto executives — and regarded as Detroit’s “ultimate car guy,” offered his perspective on credit unions’ ability to increase market share in the auto finance space.  Lutz noted that credit unions have a unique advantage over banks and captives because they are local, and in the market.   Large banks and captives don’t have the opportunity to form the personal business relationships with dealers that sell cars in the ways that an actively marketed credit union can do.

He suggested that credit unions look for ways to improve the car buying experience; “examine ways to lessen time and simplify processes to streamline the experience, to make it simpler and easier for the dealer and the dealer’s customer.” If credit unions can determine how to effectively do this, they will have an enormous market place advantage.

Davis, renowned media and marketing strategist and guru, recognized as one of today’s top 3 most influential marketers by CMWorld, and best-selling author, challenged attendees to “show me you’re different.”  Credit unions don’t sell loans or accounts — they need to sell experiences.  He told attendees that it doesn’t take long to realize that if everyone leverages “exceptional, personalized service” it’s not a differentiator, “it’s just noise.” He challenged credit unions to truly differentiate the experience for their members.

“A great experience can drive higher margins and create higher business value,” he said. “If you differentiate in a way no one else does, that’s a big advantage. Experiences last longer than cost savings.”  Creating unforgettable member experiences will help credit unions own the “loyalty loop” that keeps current members coming back to your credit union, and drives a steady stream of new business to your doorstep.

The event’s diverse agenda had educational sessions for credit union lenders and marketers alike.

Experts from Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, Hudson Cook, Cornerstone Advisors, Dollar & Associates, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) lead sessions on CFPB compliance, portfolio and risk management, cross-selling and onboarding strategies, and retail lending strategies.

A wide-ranging line-up of marketing breakout sessions, with speakers from Microsoft, Currency Marketing, Facebook, Ansira, and Hubspot, covered key subjects for credit union marketers, such as integrated marketing strategies, social media strategies, member engagement, and leveraging Big Data to advance marketing success.

Recognizing the 2015 Best Practice Award and Diamond Award Winners

In what has become an annual highlight during the conference over the last 17 years, CU Direct presented its Best Practice and Diamond Awards, acknowledging credit unions’ accomplishments in the areas of lending and marketing.  With a capacity crowd on hand, the event’s awards luncheon recognized five credit unions for their exemplary lending practices and success in 2014.

Three credit unions were honored for their best practices in the areas of Business Development, Portfolio Management, and Marketing to Members.

San Jose, California’s Alliance Credit Union was recognized with the Best Practice Award in the category of Business Development, while Jacksonville, Florida-based Jax Federal Credit Union was honored with the Best Practice Award for their success in Portfolio Management.  For their success in the category of Marketing to Members, Omaha, Nebraska’s Centris Federal Credit Union was presented with the Best Practice Award.

The company also honored two credit unions for their overall excellence and success in the lending marketplace, by presenting them with the CU Direct Diamond Award.

Madison, Wisconsin’s Summit Credit Union and San Antonio, Texas-based Security Service Federal Credit Union were recognized with the CU Direct Diamond Award for their continued success in advancing their lending programs and championing the importance of a credit union-owned delivery channel.

CU Direct congratulates each of this year’s award-winning credit unions!

CU Direct’s 2016 Drive Conference takes place May 17-18th, 2016 at the Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California. Be sure to mark your calendars – we look forward to seeing you there.

About the Author

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer is the PR and Corporate Communications Lead for CU Direct.