The financial industry is undergoing constant evolution, presenting credit unions with both challenges and opportunities. In response to this dynamic landscape, The Lab at Filene, was established with a central focus: How can credit unions adapt and thrive in today's marketplace?
In collaboration with credit union sponsors, The Lab focuses on conducting "quick and nimble" tests rooted in Filene's research and market engagement. Last year, during its inaugural Lab Symposium in San Francisco, The Lab at Filene posed this question while crafting its testing agenda for 2023. Four ideas rose to the top for further exploration.
Can these four ideas help credit unions grow, increase member satisfaction and engagement, and drive differentiation? We have completed the testing and are set to publish the results at the end of the calendar year.
In the meantime, here is a sneak peek of the results:
1. Subscription-based Pricing Models
Can subscription models for financial products and value-added services increase member engagement?
Through this test, Filene partnered with six credit unions to gather insights on the desired components of subscription bundles. Insights from member focus groups, in which 105 participants actively engaged, along with staff interviews revealed members are receptive to new products and services, as part of subscription packages, especially when they are perceived as valuable.
Top subscription-based products/services recommended:
- Titanium or premium credit card with abundant benefits/rewards
- Round-up tools, money transfers, and discounts
- Discounts/buying power
- Concierge services
- Financial planning and management
2. Digital Engagement for Indirect Lending, in partnership with Ignite Sales
How can credit unions best relay what they can offer to indirect members and successfully expand their relationships?
Ignite Sales provides credit unions with customized digital dialogue guides
designed to align members' needs with credit union products. The test, which included eight credit unions and approximately 18,000 indirect members, unveiled essential email engagement strategies and performance metrics.
Top three email engagement approaches:
- The first email outreach received the most engagement across the board.
- Simple emails achieved the highest results and receptivity.
- Using common words in subject lines, email text, and guide text led to a 26% higher rate for opens, completions and actions.
Key performance metrics:
- 37% of indirect members who started guides completed them.
- 47% of those that completed a guide took action (to open/apply).
- The top product overall was online banking/digital banking at a 28% sign-up rate. Credit card products came in a close second at 24%.
- For most, the pilot opened new doors and ideas for new campaigns.
3. Financial Wellness as an Engagement Strategy, in partnership with Pocketnest
Can credit unions deepen member relationships by providing tailor-made plans to improve their financial well-being?
Built on behavioral science and psychology, the Pocketnest app gives actionable and customized advice to help members get their finances in order. During the test, five credit unions participated in the initiative. A sample of nearly 4,600 members who actively engaged downloaded and utilized the app for three months. Additionally, credit union staff were surveyed to collect their sentiments.
User stats collected by Pocketnest:
- 63% of users had no emergency cash reserve.
- 27% of users report having credit card debt.
- 20% of users report having no retirement accounts.
Credit union staff survey feedback:
- 83% felt Pocketnest aligned with their organization's strategy.
- 67% felt that Pocketnest had the potential of strengthening member financial wellness.
4. Re-thinking Physical Space
How can credit unions re-think the function and design of their physical spaces to enhance member experiences?
Through this test, Filene partnered with two credit unions to gather insights from nearly 40 credit union members in ways to optimize credit union branches. Member and staff feedback revealed key considerations for creating high-value spaces, emphasizing the importance of positive branch experiences, and retaining human staff.
Member and staff feedback:
- Positive branch experiences play a key role in strengthening loyalty.
- "Open concept" designs are favored, with private spaces for financial discussions.
- Conference rooms and educational centers are appealing for in-person events.
- Balance is crucial; members want a professional, clean, and aesthetically pleasing space but not opulent or extravagant, keeping in mind that it represents their funds.
Building on these insights, The Lab at Filene partnered with La Macchia Group, who designed 2D mockups to bring the envisioned spaces to life and will be showcased in the final output.
How to get the full report
The results of these tests are slated for publication at the end of December 2023. Be sure to sign up for Filene’s newsletter to see future updates on the test results. In the meantime, watch the replay of our webinar to learn more about The Lab at Filene, Year 2 Tests.