10 ways to get your financial life in order like the ‘adult’ you are

first_img 56SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr When I graduated from school and took one look at my student loans, I immediately thought, “how did I make it here knowing nothing about personal finance?”I felt completely blind-sided, and began a quest to understanding personal finance, something I managed to avoid for a solid 25 years. After listening to Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey, I became addicted.Fast-forward five years, and I’ve learned a lot about money. Here are 10 little nuggets of wisdom that I would’ve liked to know five years ago:1. Check your credit reports and your credit score annually.Check your credit reports and credit score annually for free, using AnnualCreditReport.com. Not only will you be aware of your score, but you will know what is on your reports and whether there is any incorrect information listed. This is one way to know whether you’ve been a victim of identity theft. continue reading »last_img read more

What makes a marketing superstar?

first_img 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr When building your credit union’s marketing team, keep these five traits in mind:The ability to be flexible. “Priorities change daily, with fluctuation in competition, rates, mergers, and other market variables. Along with transparency and collaboration, they need to speak the stakeholder language,” says CUES member Tara Graff, VP/marketing and business development for $1.8 billion/165,000-member Royal Credit Union, Eau Claire, Wis.Someone who can identify and solve problems. “It’s also having a thorough understanding of the CU’s products and services, branding, and recognizing the opportunities,” says Bo McDonald, CEO of CUES Supplier member Your Marketing Co. Greenville, S.C.An interest in all functions as well as a supreme understanding of the goals and expectations of the position, says CUES member Helen Beam, COO/EVP at $87.5 million asset/9,600-member Carolina Collegiate Federal Credit Union, Columbia, S.C. continue reading »last_img read more

Why the ‘fast follower’ approach makes sense

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr A troubling sentiment is emerging. Some credit union executives have been heard to grumble, “Do we really need to keep spending time reacting to every new financial technology announcement?”It may be a rhetorical question, but my response would be an emphatic “Yes!” for a wealth of reasons.A 2015 study I conducted with the Filene Research Institute confirmed that the best product strategy for most credit unions is a “fast follower” approach.Credit unions (and most banks) lack the investment dollars to go toe-to-toe with the research and development budgets of the behemoths or unicorn fintech startups.While select early-stage alliances with the latter are worth exploring, generally keeping tabs on the market’s pulse and being prepared to act at the first meaningful signs of adoption will usually do the trick.Most members don’t expect their credit unions to perch on the bleeding edge of technology. But neither do they want their credit union to lag far behind the curve once a new product demonstrates its usefulness. continue reading »last_img read more

On Compliance: Anti-money laundering vigilance

first_imgNorth Dade Community Development Federal Credit Union’s run-in with federal regulators and eventual demise over anti-money laundering violations offers a cautionary tale on the need for continued vigilance in complying with the Bank Secrecy Act and USA Patriot Act. In reporting its investigation and resulting $300,000 fine, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network charged that the $3 million credit union had exposed the U.S. financial system to significant risks of money laundering and terrorist financing from high-risk countries in the Middle East and Central America.North Dade Community Development FCU was liquidated in 2015 by the National Credit Union Administration as a result of the violations. The credit union had been contracted to provide services to 56 money service businesses in high-risk areas. It handled almost $2 billion in financial transactions for those MSBs and in the process failed to comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing obligations to verify clients, file reports, undertake risk assessments, report suspicious transactions and maintain robust controls to mitigate associated risks.This case serves as a warning to credit unions that they must monitor clients and related businesses rigorously and cannot rely on third parties to conduct due diligence and comply with AML requirements. continue reading » 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

CFPB finalizes HELOC reporting changes under HMDA

first_img 20SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » The CFPB on Thursday finalized its proposed changes to its Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rule that would temporarily raise the home equity line of credit reporting threshold for smaller financial institutions, including credit unions.As previously issued, the HMDA rule required credit unions to report HELOCs if they made 100 such loans in each of the last two years. Thursday’s final rule increases that threshold to 500 loans through calendar years 2018 and 2019 while the bureau considers whether to make the change permanent.In NAFCU’s comment letter on the CFPB’s proposal, sent in July, the association urged an exemption from HMDA reporting for all HELOCs or, in the alternative, make the 500 loan threshold permanent. NAFCU will reengage with the bureau to ensure these recommendations are addressed.last_img read more

Savings rate dips to pre-recession low

first_img 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Consumers ended 2017 by accelerating spending faster than their incomes, squeezing their savings rate to its lowest levels since the eve of the Great Recession.The U.S. Commerce Department reported Monday that personal savings were an annualized $351.6 billion in December, the smallest since December 2007, the month the recession began. The 2.4% savings rate in December was the smallest since it fell to 2.3% in September 2005.Disposable personal income was $14.6 trillion, annualized, and was up 0.3% from November after adjusting for seasonal variations. Meanwhile, personal consumption expenditures rose 0.4% to $13.7 trillion.Some economists have worried that this pattern of consumer spending increasing at a faster rate than income over the past two years indicates a weakness in the economy. While jobs have been increasing, wages have still lagged and many families are still struggling to make ends meet. continue reading »last_img read more

NAFCU stands by CU at ADA hearing in Virginia

first_img continue reading » NAFCU last week attended a hearing on a defendant credit union’s motion to dismiss an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) case. NAFCU remains active on ADA, engaging with various stakeholders on this issue and working with credit unions that are facing litigation.NAFCU Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt and Vice President of Regulatory Compliance Brandy Bruyere attended the hearing, as well as representatives from the Maryland-D.C. Credit Union Association.The judge, T.S. Ellis III in the Eastern District Court of Virginia, Alexandria Division, heard arguments on issues such as the fact that the plaintiff is not a member or eligible to join the sued credit union and whether the plaintiff has any standing in this case. 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Banking on experience

first_imgWould you bank with Amazon? New research from Fiserv finds consumers are significantly more comfortable with the idea of using technology companies to make financial transactions than ever before. As the potential for disruption grows, financial institutions are evaluating their offerings and go-forward strategies.Expectations & Experiences: Channels and New Entrants, the most recent quarterly consumer trends survey by Fiserv, found more than half (55 percent) of people would be comfortable using a technology company, such as Apple or Google, for various types of financial transactions, compared to 40 percent of respondents in 2017. At the same time, use of traditional financial institutions for bill payments, loans, money management and other financial services remains steady.“Financial institutions are already competing at some level with nontraditional providers and technology companies for mortgages, payments and budget-tracking capabilities,” said Pat Reetz, senior vice president of Product Management for Bank Solutions, Fiserv. “While that disruption can be disconcerting, our advice is to embrace it. Yes, offer innovative products and services but differentiate with personal attention, data-driven recommendations and relationship-building interactions.” continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Which digital ads most positively impact your financial institution?

first_imgThere are MANY different kinds of digital ads out there… including everything from programmatic placement of display ads, to Google Search Ads and Social Media boosted content. But how can you really tell which of these types of ads work best for your Bank or Credit Union? Well here are five ways to measure results that will demonstrate the true impact of digital ads to your FI’s bottom line!1. Look at Conversion Rates on PPC and Social Ads ThemselvesLooking at conversion rates is the first step to assessing how successful a digital ad campaign is. But there’s one key to accurately tracking conversions that many financial institutions struggle with… you have to be able to track a user all the way through the application process to the Thank You page (TYP). This way you can put your final conversion tracking code on this TYP and see exactly how many people started AND also finished your application or target conversion.If your website works with third party application providers, who often make this type of tracking difficult or even impossible, we recommend that you create a Thank You Page on your site where you can place tracking code. Then you can send users back to this page AFTER they finish the application, even on a third-party site. Most of these application providers will allow for you to redirect traffic back to a chosen URL after the application is complete.With accurate conversion tracking you will be able to see exactly how much you paid for each new application, which makes it easy to see if your campaign is running a positive return on investment (ROI). 2. Look at New Lead Conversions from all Your Paid TrafficIn addition to setting up accurate conversion tracking, as explained above, it’s also important to compare one campaign to another. For example, we have found that capturing new leads tends to be much less expensive using social media ads, but these conversions are not always ready to purchase a financial product or open a new account. So often they are what we call Top of the Funnel leads that need to be nurtured with emails and other useful content. Think of them as potential new customers or members who barely know the name of your credit union or community bank. You need to educate them about your mission and how you are different from the larger national financial institutions or online lenders.3. Remember that Not all Paths to Conversion are StraightNow when trying to track ROI of a digital campaign it’s also important to set goals around traffic, brand awareness, and the quality of new visitors. This is because not all leads from paid campaigns are going to convert immediately. And when they don’t these new customers or accounts won’t be easily trackable.We recommend that you also analyze the quality of the paid traffic you’ve generated in addition to trackable conversions. It is common for new visitors to your website to want to spend some time getting to know your brand, BEFORE they make a buying decision. This important brand awareness time should translate to lower bounce rates and increased time on page for those users who aren’t converting. So, set goals around these metrics as well to ensure that when people aren’t ready to buy immediately they are at least familiarizing themselves with your products and services.4. Define What Success Looks Like BEFORE You Start Your CampaignsJust like any marketing or sales campaign, it’s essential that you create goals so that you know what you are trying to achieve with your campaign. You will need to answer the question… ‘what would success look like for this ad campaign?’Keep in mind that paid digital efforts can have impacts on many of areas of your business, from general branding to specific product conversions. You can use paid ads to drive new contacts or leads and to boost future organic traffic to a new page or content pillar page. All of these progress metrics have a place in a well-rounded marketing approach. So, make sure you define your objectives carefully when creating digital ad campaigns.5. Measure General Revenue Lift During and Right After CampaignsFinally, it’s important to measure lift during and AFTER your digital ads campaigns. For example, if you are running a home equity loan ad promotion on Google AdWords you’ll need to take into consideration the closing timeframes for these products when assessing full impacts. If the typical home equity loan takes 45 days to close at your institution you should wait this amount of time AFTER the campaign ends to fully close any remaining loans that have come in, BEFORE you measure the final lift to home equity revenue.Likewise, we suggest using paid search ads to help boost organic results for pages, and you so you should look at the organic lift of traffic to a target page during the campaign but also for 1-2 months after the campaign is over to see if you’ve achieved your goals.Our final recommendation with digital ads is to constantly reassess and remain agile in your approach. With budgeting for the year, give yourself a pool of digital ad funds to work with, but then remain flexible as to what specific areas you will focus spending and be willing to try new approaches when you see results beginning to wane.Want to learn more? Visit the FI GROW Blog today or download our FREE Ultimate Guide to Successful Inbound Marketing for Financial Institutions. 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Meredith Olmstead Meredith Olmstead is the CEO and Founder of FI GROW Solutions, which provides Digital Marketing & Sales services to Community Financial Institutions. With experience working with FIs in markets of … Web: www.figrow.com Detailslast_img read more

7 ways smart leaders start a new year

first_imgAs you prepare to set goals and resolutions for the new year, it is a good idea to take stock of your current skills and behaviors to see what areas could use some possible improvements and growth.Marcel Schwantes, principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, provides seven moves the best leaders make at the start of new yearand encourages us to think about adding these activities into our goals. The list includes:Smart leaders promote the big picture.Smart leaders know what’s needed to keep their most talented employees happy and engaged. continue reading » 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more