Make it about more than rates, and they’ll be happy to switch

Five tips for credit union deposit marketing

Things are, well, pretty wacky out there in the US and world economy. Loan growth has been strong this year, surprisingly strong, and at many credit unions loans are starting to outgrow deposits for the first time in a few years.

And so now, with inflation, general uncertainty, and rising rates on people’s minds, some credit unions are actually starting to think about deposit growth again.

Crazy, right?

Just in case your deposit marketing skills are a little rusty, here are a few tips for pulling the deposit growth engine out of mothballs and firing it up.

Things are different right now

The economic landscape really is different this time around. And the main difference is the sheer variety of economic impacts. Some industries, areas, and families are booming, some are suffering, and overall it’s a very mixed landscape.  

For example, some members might have increased their income and need help setting up automated savings and increasing the amount they save. Some are struggling to increase earnings, very worried about rising expenses, and need budgeting help. Others might be stock market refugees looking for a safer harbor for some of their funds. 

There’s a LOT going on out there, and the only thing you can say for certain is that the range of impacts, worries, opportunities, and needs is wider than ever. 

You’ll need to be more in tune than ever with your local environment, your members, and their specific worries, hopes and needs. Get creative with segmenting and characterization to get in their heads and understand how your credit union can be the best solution.

Rates only matter to rate chasers

OK, just fire out some emails and Facebook posts with giant numbers up top and rake in all the deposit growth you want, right? Well, no. There are always a small number of people chasing deposit rates, but for most there are many other messages that matter a lot more than rate. (That article is about loan rates, but the same principles apply.)

Most folks don’t have a lot of context – is your number a good number? Messages of reduced risk, safety, and inclusion are far more important — hey, you’ll always get a great deal with us, there won’t be any funny business in the fine print, your money is safe here, we want to help you succeed.

Still, sometimes marketing to the local rate chaser crowd can be a good call if you have a strong, specific offer and you want fairly quick results to fill in some maturity holes. Just bear in mind they might not be loyal if they spot a better deal somewhere else.   

Use tech to get creative, not complex

If I want to move a CD at BiggieBank into a certificate at LocalCU, how many taps on my phone will that take? Can I set up and manage automated transfers quickly? Do you have a “round-up” program? Can your systems handle more automation?

Simple, convenient, and quick wins every time.

And it’s about more than just the technology; every word in a disclosure reduces response rate. Market with the absolute minimum of fine print; the ideal amount of weasel words is zero.

Plus, tech is a great way to educate. Are there videos on your website showing how to set up a new money market account? Can your members make an appointment with someone to talk about budgeting? If you’re serious about empowerment, you have to be serious about educating your members.

It’s about simple, safe and steady, not high gains

The elephant in the room is that even with higher rates, keeping money in credit union deposits still means you’re losing to inflation. Still, for members spooked by the stock market, it can make a lot of sense to move a bigger chunk of their nest egg into a risk-free space.

Lean into that — it’s OK to be a little boring. And for many people, it’s about building savings, skills, and habits rather than maximizing gains. They need help getting started and ramping up, so make it super-easy and super-simple. For example, automate saving a certain amount every payday, then automate increasing that amount over time as they get used to paying themselves first.

Credit Unions have a lot more to offer than rates

Back in the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the credit union message of a safe, sane, sustainable financial system that empowers members really resonated, and significant numbers of people switched.

Here in 2022, that message is even more powerful — and the younger generations it resonates with the most are now an even bigger economic force. They’re busy climbing the career ladder, raising families, and working toward a better future. 

Don’t forget to make the credit union difference part of everything you do. Make sure that genuine spirit of caring shines through. And make sure they know that where they deposit money makes a real difference. Make it about more than rates, and they’ll be happy to switch to a credit union they can believe in.

Feeling a little rusty? Need a hand jump starting your deposit growth strategy? Get in touch with the iDIz Virtual Marketing Department for high-voltage results!

Brian Wringer

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