Loan season is right around the corner, i.e., your credit union’s bread and butter. So if you haven’t already started working on your spring and summer auto, boat, home equity and mortgage loan campaigns, then you better get in gear.
If you can get excited about one more loan campaign, that is.*
I mean, I can see that it might be hard for you to get all gung-ho about one more loan campaign, especially after doing it again and again, year after year.
But there’s a whole universe of new possibilities out there if you’re willing to make the loans themselves more interesting and exciting.
What would it take to get excited about loans again?
What if you could offer loans that your members actually noticed? Loans that stood out and piqued their interest? Loans built around your values, that build your brand’s reputation for doing what is right?
What if you offered loans that solve problems, that encourage new ideas, that aren’t quite as mainstream? Loans that appeal to the Oddballs and other equally-deserving members in your credit union? Loans that make the world a better place. Loans built around something besides boasting that you have the lowest rate in town?
The halo effect
Even for non-Oddball members looking for regular old everyday loans, Oddball loans communicate some important things.
“Hey, we’re flexible. We’re creative. If we can solve these Oddball problems, then your ordinary loan will be no problem. We’ll learn about you, help you meet your unique goals.”
And even more importantly, “We share your values. We think these things are important, too. We understand what’s unique about this town and the people around here. We find ways to say yes.”
Here are a few ideas for Loans for Oddballs to get you thinking:
Personalize Personal Loans
Personal loans are meant to be used for a variety of purposes, right? So why not personalize the loan for your member? I kind of like the idea of getting a “Whatever Kent Wants Loan”, to use however I decide. Or maybe “Kent’s E-Bike Loan” or “Kent’s High-End Home Brewing System Loan” would be even better!
The point is, a personal loan can be called whatever you want, so make it personal for your members.
Step Off the Gas Loans
I have a few friends that have sworn off of fossil fuels. No more gas-powered cars, lawn mowers or chain saws. No more natural gas furnaces, water heaters or kitchen stoves. They decided to go all-electric, all the way, with solar panels to top it off. It’s better for the environment, and safer for their family.
And at some point going all-electric may become the standard for most of the country. But your members might need additional funds to do it all at the same time. Imagine a mashup of a car loan and a Home Equity Line of Credit, with a dash of Personal Loan, all under “Gina’s Green Life” loan and one payment.
How much of a brand boost would this give your credit union? If you Google it, they say it only costs about $725 to apply to be a US citizen – but that doesn’t include other expenses such as the asylum process, travel expenses, legal fees, and more.
Those expenses can add up, especially for someone that is trying to get established in a new country. We know of one CU that already offers citizenship loans. How can you step up with an Oddball loan built around your core values?
Aging in Place Loans
After my wife and I saw how retirement homes worked out for our parents, we decided there had to be a better option. So what if a few friends wanted to build/buy homes together that share common spaces, in order to age in place? What if the grandparents wanted to add a smaller house on their child’s property, so that they could be a big part of the grandkids’ lives?
I bet there is a developer/builder out there thinking about these ideas already. Is your CU ready to think beyond the traditional mortgage box?
Problem Payoff Loans
People make mistakes. Things happen to good people. That’s why most people don’t have perfect credit. But when mistakes are made (using a predatory payday lender, taking out for-profit college loans) and things happen (cancer, accidents), there needs to be a way for members to hit reset and pay off the problem so they can move on.
Elective Surgery Loans
Not everyone has good insurance, and even those that do may not be able to get some types of surgery paid for. Elective surgery can be as simple as removing a mole or wart, but it can also mean reconstructive or cosmetic surgery. Whether it serves as a functional purpose or is purely aesthetic, it may mean a lot to your member.
Oddballs are everywhere
These are just a few random examples, of course. You’ll need to dig deep into your brand and your members to figure out what kinds of Oddball loans best fit your CU’s brand of Oddball members.
And it’s easy to get started. Lots of Oddball loans are just renaming loans you’re already making.
The next step up the Oddball ladder is mashups; what kinds of Oddball auto ownership loan could you glue together from a used car loan with a dash of credit card or personal line of credit for tires and repairs?
And of course, the top of the Oddball mountain are a whole new loan product. What will you need to change in your policies, underwriting, and systems to make a truly new kind of Oddball loan?
The sky’s the limit, when you know where and how to look. Oddball opportunities are everywhere.
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