Posted by Alison Barksdale, AVP of Mktg, CU Members Mortgage on 6/27/2017

More and more businesses are tapping into the emotion of buyers and reaching them with dramatic heartfelt and emotional experiences that force them not to forget.  In fact, these messages get consumers talking and talking. From Dodge Rams’ “God made a farmer” ad to Campbell’s “This one’s for mom” and Toys R’ Us’ holiday commercial “Exactly what you wish for”,  and we couldn’t leave out the real tear jerker “My dad’s story”  commercial by Metlife – businesses are out to make consumers feel.  However, the story isn’t about the product necessarily, it’s about presenting an emotional connection that the consumer doesn’t forget and associate it with the company.

This isn’t new marketing.  Businesses have been creating short dramas that pull at your heartstrings for decades, but it hasn’t taken the housing market by storm like it could and that’s where we question – Why not? 

As one of the most emotional roller coasters of life, why wouldn’t purchasing a home be the ultimate emotional, dramatic experience to message to your members – “Hey we get you. We’re here to not only make this life-changing experience happen, but to be a part of it with you.”  It’s a very personal transaction as a member will bare all their financial skeletons in the closet with the stranger on the other line or across from the desk. They stand on the tight rope and cringe at the possibility that the end result may be in fact - no.

The potential here is that home loans bring a sense of down home truth that we are all just human.  Some with more skeletons in the closet than others, but the reality is that not everyone has great credit, and as such, not everyone is going to be able to buy a home. However, when a member does, when they get the green light and find the perfect home and push the key into the lock and walk in the door for the first time - when it’s theirs, it’s exactly what they’ve been waiting for all this time. It’s perfect. And, your credit union made it happen. 

That’s the emotion of a home loan.  That’s the brand marketing that you’re looking for that you can’t get with other products at your credit union.  It’s an emotional story the member wants to know, feel, and hear. Want to sell your brand?  Tell a member how you helped a veteran find their first home back from service.  Tell a member how this couple moved in right before they had their first child.  Tell them about the member who refinanced to cut their payment and save so they can get out of debt faster.  Tell them not that you have the best rates or the best service – so does every lender and credit union out there.  Tell the stories that make them feel the difference about your credit union and they won’t forget.  What story does your credit union have to share? 

Categories: Marketing & Printing, Sales & Service
Posted by Mr. Michael Salyer, IT Analyst, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 6/26/2017

It seems almost common place that you’ll hear about a new cyber-attack in the news lately. Last month was no different. You may have heard about a significant ransomware attack called Wannacry. It got squashed pretty quickly, but not before impacting several huge organizations. The cyber-attack has affected more than 300,000 computers worldwide.

For those unfamiliar with the term, ransomware is malware that infects files on a network and will not release them until the victim pays a ransom to the virus creator. Often times this will involve encryption, making it difficult, if not impossible to access the files, until the ransom is paid. Most times the system is merely locked and a message is displayed trying to coerce the user into paying. During its initial phase, ransomware were typically files that encrypt particular file types (Word, Excel, .DLL files, and executables, just to name a few). Eventually the malware began infecting the system itself, preventing the PC from booting properly.

The identity of whoever deployed the software remains unknown. "The WannaCry exploits used in the attack were drawn from the exploits stolen from the National Security Agency, "According to Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith. He says that when the NSA lost control of the software behind the cyber-attack, it was like "the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen."

Windows users should update their software to avoid the ransomware, security experts say. In addition to Microsoft's Security Bulletin MS17-010 that patched the vulnerability in March, the company also issued a separate patch on Friday for users of older and unsupported operating systems such as Windows XP. More steps include:

  1. Back up your computer and store the safety version in the cloud or on a drive that is not connected to your computer.
  2. Use robust antivirus software.
  3. Keep all the software on your computer up-to-date. Enable automatic updates.
  4. Never open attachments in emails from someone you don't know. And remember that any account can be compromised.
  5. Enable the "Show file extensions" option in the Windows settings on your computer. This will make it much easier to spot potentially malicious files. Stay away from file extensions like ".exe," ".vbs" and ".scr."
  6. If you find a problem, disconnect your machine immediately from the Internet or other network connections (such as home Wi-Fi).

The world has changed and no longer will just doing one of the above steps will keep you safe. Only through constant diligence can you keep both your work and home computers safer.  

Categories: Technology Consulting & Compliance
Posted by Jon Knoll, VP Sales and Service, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 6/23/2017

Just over 20 years ago I attended new employee training and orientation for CUNA Mutual Group.  During my two weeks of training, weekends included, we learned about CUNA Mutual Group, CUNA, World Council of Credit Unions, and Filene Research Institute.   It truly was Credit Union Mecca, and a heckuva experience for a small town kid who had just graduated from college.  We learned about laser printing of documents and open end lending and how it was going to revolutionize credit union’s delivery of consumer loans.  We learned about Windows based software applications that were going to help credit unions streamline their lending process and increase participation in credit life and credit disability to help them increase non-interest income.  We left Mecca pumped up and ready to serve our credit unions and bring them new technology that would enable them to grow and exceed their wildest goals.  It’s amazing how quickly this time has gone by.  So on June 7th, 2017, I celebrated 20 years of serving credit unions with a Tomahawk Ribeye Steak.

Coincidentally, also on June 7th, I spent seven hours in a car, visited credit unions in Oklahoma City, made it home in time for dinner, ate half of the Ribeye, drank a glass or two of wine, and called it a day.  Whew!  20 Years, where has the time gone?!?!  Although I had always wanted to make a big deal of this day, it was a pretty typical day for me.

Coincidentally, the following week, I spent 3 days in Madison, WI.  I was invited to attend Credit Union Exchange with Chris Eckart from CUNA Mutual Group, and two CEOs that we both work with in Oklahoma.  Credit Union Exchange is hosted by CUNA Mutual Group, and we spent a couple of days exchanging ideas, challenges, and opportunities.  All eerily coincidental, since my first actual paying credit union job was painting parking lot stripes for a credit union in Bartlesville, OK.  Our goal for this trip, to learn about CUNA Mutual Group’s strategies, the credit union’s strategies, investments in new technology, and how credit unions are transforming their business to better serve their membership.

The CUNA Mutual team did an excellent job in hosting the visit, engaging the credit unions on what was important to them, what their challenges are, what keeps CEOs up at night, and drilling down into specific strategies the credit unions were implementing. 

We also spent time learning about big data, CUNA Mutual’s work in data analytics, improving their insurance products experience, from purchasing insurance through the claims process and payout.  They have made amazing progress in making it easier for credit unions and credit union members to purchase, file claims if necessary, and pay claims.  We also learned about new products they are bringing to market, and how they are engaging their credit unions in rolling out new products.  If this isn’t enough, we also learned about their investment strategies into FinTech organizations that can help credit unions versus competing with Fintech companies.  Springboard Auto is a good example of one of those fintech investments, learn more about this program by clicking on the link, https://www.springboardauto.com/

And that was just day one!  On day two, we spent time with the Filene Research Institute learning about what they are doing to support the credit union industry.  To wrap up day two, we spent time at the Madison airport debriefing over fried cheese curds, Wisconsin bratwursts, which was amazingly very good for airport food.

Ahhh Credit Union Mecca, it was great to be back in Madison, Wisconsin.  Life can be eerily coincidental, and also amazing at the same time.  After serving credit unions for a Score, the trip home to Credit Union Mecca was perfect timing.  Bring on the next 20 years!

As I write this blog, I look up at a picture of Alphonse Desjardins on a wall at the Cornerstone Credit Union League Office, I am in our Desjardins meeting room.  I am truly humbled by the credit unions we serve.

“A credit union is not an ordinary financial concern seeking to enrich its members at the expense of the general public.  Neither is it a loan company seeking to make a profit at the expense of the unfortunates…The credit union is nothing of the kind:  it is the expression in the field of economics of a high social ideal…”

                            Alphonse Desjardins (1854-1920)

Categories: Business Partners, Remote Transaction, Sales & Service, Strategic Planning & Consulting, Technology Consulting & Compliance
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