Lexington, KY - The University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union (UKFCU) has partnered with Zogo, the gamified financial literacy app, since 2020 to provide engaging, accessible financial education resources within their community. UKFCU membership is not required to use Zogo, and the Zogo app is free to download with no in-app purchases.
Developed by students and scientists at Duke University, the Zogo app offers more than 350 action-based modules in personal finance topics, from opening a bank account to protecting your investments. All modules meet national standards for financial literacy curriculum, and are short enough to be completed on-the-go and fit into virtually any schedule.
UKFCU’s partnership with Zogo allows users to redeem “paw points” earned within the app for rewards including gift cards for popular retailers as well as access to the all-new UKFCU Esports Lounge located at the University of Kentucky. The partnership embodies UKFCU’s commitment to cultivating new technologies and leading their community with innovative resources promoting financial wellness, and users can expect updated content and new features in the latter half of 2021.
“Without financial literacy, it is nearly impossible to achieve true financial freedom, and educating our community in a convenient and secure way is a core value of our credit union,” said David Kennedy, President/CEO. “These are goals that UKFCU, Zogo, members, and students are now coming together and working toward. We are excited to see the next generation becoming more interested in financial literacy, and Zogo has removed any barriers for them to start learning right away at their own pace.”
To learn more about UKFCU’s partnership with Zogo Finance, visit www.ukfcu.org/zogo.
Larky Strengthens its Advisory Board with Appointment of Veteran Community Banking and Payments Expert Doug Leighton
Ann Arbor, Mich., June 25, 2021 — Doug Leighton, a financial industry sales leader with 23+ years of experience at Visa and beyond, has joined the advisory board of Larky. Larky is an innovative fintech company that helps financial institutions connect with account holders at the right time and place.
"Doug's in-depth knowledge of the industry paired with his insight into the future of fintech is a powerful combination that gives him a unique perspective." said Gregg Hammerman, CEO of Larky. "We're excited for him to be a part of our Advisory Board and look forward to continuing to improve on our partnerships with community financial institutions thanks to his expertise."
Doug Leighton has been in the financial industry since 1986. He served a 23+ year tenure at Visa as a sales professional and head of community accounts. During his time with Visa, Doug accumulated deep knowledge and experience in helping community financial institutions succeed.
Doug is excited about advising fintechs that support the segment of community-based financial institutions. This closely aligns with Larky's mission to create better connections between financial institutions and account holders and to support the powerful outcomes of these enhanced relationships.
Doug will help steer Larky on their journey of providing market-leading solutions that connect financial institutions with accountholders in the right moments. Doug can provide actionable advice on making the best value proposition for all involved stakeholders.
I am excited to join Larky’s Advisory Board.” said Leighton. “Larky’s cutting edge technology will support community financial institution increase engagement and transaction. I am look forward to furthering Larky’s goals.”
This partnership is expected to further solidify Larky's position as a leader in engagement technology. Allowing financial institutions to create additional valuable relationships that move the industry forward.
Larky helps community financial institutions connect with their account holders with meaningful and actionable notifications. The Larky nudge code library creates and powers relevant right-place/right-time communications for financial institutions across the United States and Canada.
415 952 7598
Giselle Abramovich, Executive Editor,
Enterprise Thought Leadership
Digital, and mobile specifically, has had a massive impact on how consumers manage their finances—that’s for sure. However, while digital and mobile bank self-service offerings are most popular, new research finds that physical bank branches remain an important touch point.
Three-quarters of (75%) consumers said they still believe physical bank branches matter, a new study by Adobe found, and 70% have visited a physical branch at least once in the past month. Adobe surveyed over 1,000 people across generations in the U.S.
The study found that 89% of respondents use their banks’ Web/mobile offerings, the majority (67%) of whom to check their account balances. More than half (52%) said that most of their banking is conducted online.
Yet consumers also said they're not very impressed with their online banking options: Sixty-two percent said their banks’ digital offerings are just average compared with the rest of their digital lives. More than half (57%) of all respondents said they have never digitally signed a document with their banks, while 41% would like their banks to offer this ability. Most (59%) said they would not do business with banks that didn’t offer digital or mobile services.
“We’re finding that consumers are increasingly engaging with their banks online, especially for quick transactions like checking balances, but banks are just scratching the surface” said Craig Peasley, director of marketing at Adobe. “The data shows that there’s still room to delight customers with offerings that combine the face-to-face service that’s still popular and digital offerings.”
Millennials and Generation Z, in particular, said they prefer banking via mobile apps and were more likely to state they would not bank with a financial institution that had limited or no online and mobile services, the study found.
“There’s a shift that’s occurring in banking right now, and it’s driven by the fact that younger consumers are coming of age and getting their own bank accounts,” Peasley told CMO by Adobe. “These digital natives aren’t looking to just check their balances and deposit checks. They are looking for more meaningful online experiences and, as the study pointed out, 44% of Millennial and Gen Z customers would even like to start and finish applications to open an account without ever walking into a bank.”
The study also found consumers want to feel safe about their money. Indeed, the majority (76%) cited security and privacy as key considerations when digitally enrolling for a banking service, and 50% said they worry about the safety of their finances with online-only banks.
Thus, it's little surprise that security was the No. 1 factor for all age groups when choosing a bank. Digital apps also are important for Millennials and Gen Z, while location of bank branches is important for Gen X and Baby Boomers. Millennials are most likely to avoid in-person signups.
“Similar to other industries, banks need to make every touch point, both online and in person, as frictionless and helpful as possible for consumers, taking into account that everyone has different preferences in terms of which activities they would like to conduct online vs. in the branch,” Peasley said. “Banks need to complement the brick-and-mortar experience with innovative digital experiences in order to continue to engage and retain customers.”
By Mark Arnold, Feb. 11, 2019
As seen on: On the Mark Strategies
Wells Fargo has announced another image repair ad campaign, now featuring an updated logo. This is the third campaign the tainted brand has attempted since its scandalous fallout in 2016.
The problem? Your logo is not your brand.
As we teach credit unions and banks across the country, your brand is who you are. Your logo is simply a visual representation of that brand
Changing your logo and calling it image repair is like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound and calling it healed. It simply doesn’t work.
To be fair, Wells Fargo’s new campaign does rightly focus on customer experience. Ads highlight Wells Fargo programs designed to make banking simple, and even feature real employees serving the bank’s customers.
But are Wells Fargo customers really experiencing what the bank promises in the campaign?
Are executives taking strategic measures to reform culture for the ultimate success of their customers, or are they preoccupied with their external reputation?
Should your credit union or bank find itself in a position of needing to rebrand—whether for unfortunate circumstances like Wells Fargo or simply a merger with another institution—you cannot start with the visual elements. And you certainly can’t throw a new logo into a mixed bag of failed image repair attempts.
You must start with strategy.
The most successful websites and logos our team designs come from leadership teams who have strategically decided to invest in their brand.
Strategy drives creative, every time.
Of course, as my friend Casey Boggs teaches, with the right strategic initiative and solution-oriented response, you can always come back from a brand crisis.
But, and this bears repeating, your brand is not your logo.
by Elizabeth Arnold
Two years ago, I refused to use Venmo.
Today, I don’t go a week without it. Most weeks actually involve five to six Venmo transactions.
My personal change in thinking reflects what many credit union and bank marketers will find when marketing to millennials and their tech-native successors, Generation Z: convenience is everything.
A recent FIS study found that 72 percent of all banking interactions today are digital, with millennials carrying the majority of that lead. Global Web Index says 68 percent of millennials prefer their mobile phone as their most important piece of technology, with nearly all online millennials owning a smartphone. Millennials want constant on-the-go access.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t fit most millennial stereotypes. I still keep my budget on an Excel spreadsheet and would prefer a personal life without social media. So, when Venmo came on the scene a few years ago, I didn’t want anything to do with it.
What flipped the switch?
Quite frankly, everyone else was using it.
Zelle found that 75 percent of millennials are using P2P—most of which adopted the service initially due to a family or friend recommendation. Of those, 49 percent use P2P at least once a week. Credit Union Times reports that P2P payments are increasing 250 percent.
As a consumer, here are three things Venmo offers that make the app almost essential to the millennial life today, and what your credit union or bank marketing strategy can learn from it.
Why pay friends with cash when you can just tap a button? And, more importantly, why wait for someone else to pay you back when they too can just tap a button? Venmo, similar to other P2P platforms, gives the user freedom to enjoy life in the moment.
Takeaway: Use journey mapping to put your member or customer in the driver’s seat. What do they need? It’s usually not a checking account. That might be the solution to their need, but what they’re really looking for is the freedom to make purchases hassle-free so they can focus on what they value most. Emphasize that in your marketing and social media materials.
Again, P2P apps like Venmo have the unique ability to make payment fun. For example, I take pride in how clever I can make a Venmo caption when paying a friend for taco night. Others have used Venmo to have entire conversations…in emojis. The app has creatively taken a mundane and sometimes awkward interaction (giving and asking for money) and made it fun.
Takeaway: Make your credit union or bank’s mobile app and website fun to use. Offer a joke every time a member or customer logs into their online banking, give points for every action taken on a mobile app, or let users interact with each other. The more fun you can make it, the more millennials and Gen Z will use it.
It’s one thing if everyone is wearing Levis and you’re the only one still in Lees. It’s a whole other matter if everyone is using P2P and you’re still writing checks. Venmo makes socialization easy, and socialization makes Venmo necessary. It’s like the telephone in the 20th century. The more people who got telephones, the more you needed one to communicate. It’s the same with Venmo. The more people have it, the more necessary it becomes.
Takeaway: Study the behaviors of the millennials you’re trying to reach. Use an outside team to conduct demographic research if necessary. What are they doing that you can be part of? Go where they are, and don’t just think physical locations. Invest your social media dollars on the platforms they spend their time (hint: it’s not Facebook).
Your credit union or bank doesn’t have to compete with Venmo. In fact, I’d argue that you can’t. However, those of us in the financial marketing world can learn from their millennial marketing strategy, grow our brands and better position our financial institutions for years of stable growth.
(Republished with permission from On the Mark Strategies.)
by Mark Arnold | Sep 12, 2018
An interesting TV commercial for Woolite detergent caught my eye a few days ago. Yes, laundry detergent caught my eye. What stuck out most about the ad was its concluding line … “Woolite cares as much as it cleans.”
For most consumers, it doesn’t get much more humdrum than laundry detergent. We typically toss the same brand in the shopping basket as we have for years because … well, because we have for years.
Not much thought typically goes into such a seemingly mundane purchase. Unless, of course, such a banal product focuses its message on something that actually matters to consumers (caring about family, the environment, etc.) as much as it does on its cleaning properties.
According to BizReport, 74 percent of consumers want to feel good about the retailers and brands they use. Branding is becoming increasingly emotion-driven.
And let’s be honest. Your credit union or bank’s products and services are largely the same as anyone else’s. As cool as you think they are, they’re really just boring tools to most consumers.
Checking accounts? Zzzzzz. Online banking? Yaaaaaawn. Used car loans? Snooze city. Consumers expect these tools to work, to perform a specific function (much like laundry soap) and typically only pause to notice any difference when they don’t work (like if your detergent suddenly didn’t get out grass stains like it has for years).
The lesson from Woolite here is to lead with benefits, including emotional benefits, rather than with the tedious details of your products and services. Both your advertising ideas and your staff’s conversational approach to members should follow this benefits-first mentality.
Consumers need to know your financial institution cares about them and can relate to the struggles and triumphs of their daily lives. As Teddy Roosevelt said (and John Maxwell famously spread): “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
They also want to know you’re plugged-into the community and active in things that matter to them. In fact, a recent consumer survey from Accenture shows consumers are looking to businesses more than ever to define a social standard that serves their need for a deeper sense of meaning.
For too many years, credit unions and banks have led with product and service features when consumers care more about benefits.
Donald Miller explains in his book, “Story Brand” that consumers don’t care about our feature-focused marketing material because, “that information isn’t helping them eat, drink, find a mate, fall in love, build a tribe or experience a deeper sense of meaning.”
How can your checking account make their lives easier? How can your online banking simplify their financial routine? How can your car loans help them realize the dream of a souped-up dream car, or simply reliable daily family transportation?
This is the sweet spot for your brand, not the 27 bullet points from your brochure that detail the booooooring nuts and bolts of your products and services. (You’d be surprised how often see this issue when we conduct credit union and bank marketing audits.)
From a consumer perspective, it’s very much a “what have you done for me lately?” approach when it comes to relating to what you offer as a financial institution. Or, as Woolite aptly put it, does your brand care as much as it cleans?
Brought to you by: TheKnowledgeAcademy
We can’t all be financial wizards, that is unfortunately and undoubtedly true. But as we navigate through different life stages, the urgency to acknowledge and grasp what numerous financial terms mean becomes ever apparent when making tough financial decisions.
Considering words and phrases in areas such as banking, investment, mortgages and savings are more than likely to feature a lot in an individual’s management of their personal finances – the hope would be for them to have a firm education of commonly used financial jargon. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, as shockingly only 16% of Americans have a high level of financial literacy according to research by financial services organisation ‘TIAA: Investing, Advice, Retirement and Banking’.
Interested in the financial competency of everyday Americans, training and qualifications provider TheKnowledgeAcademy.com analysed findings from YouGov, who surveyed 1,135 American adults to see how confident they are with the definitions of a range of financial words and phrases.
The Knowledge Academy found that ‘savings account’ is the financial term that most Americans are confident about at 88%. Thereafter, 76% claim to be assured by what a ‘credit union’ is. In third position, 72% of Americans feel confident enough to know what ‘net worth’ represents.
Interestingly, the main two aspects needed to work out someone’s ‘net worth’ – ‘assets’ (e.g. homes, cars, jewellery etc) minus ‘liabilities’ (e.g. credit card debt, cars loans, mortgages etc) – 70% of US citizens were equally confident about what is entailed within each of their true definitions.
Moreover, despite the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis causing a severe global economic downturn for several years, just 67% of Americans are surprisingly sure what a ‘recession’ really is in terms of an important stage in the economic lifecycle.
On the other end of the scale, more than half of Americans (52%) are unconfident about what ‘Bitcoin’ really is. Perhaps unexpected, given ‘Bitcoins’ prominent position in the cryptocurrency market and its value noticeably rocketing to sky-high levels at the end of last year (2017). Closely by, 49% are unsure about the proper connotation of an ‘index fund’. Further on, 44% of American public lack certainty about what an ‘asset allocation’ is – a strategy which aims to diversify an asset portfolio based on an investor’s investment objectives and risk appetite.
“Every industry is riddled with jargon, none more so then in the tricky world of finance. It can therefore feel like a confusing mind field when dealing with financial terminology," says Joseph Scott, a spokesperson from the TheKnowledgeAcademy.com. "Regardless of the difficultly, various financial terms have a considerable presence and impact in the minor as well as major saving and spending decisions of Americans. Consequently, a lack of knowledge on financial terms will mean Americans not having the awareness and competencies to make the best possible decisions when handling a range of situations relating to savings, investments and property management. For many, acquiring better knowledge on financial terminology will be essential for them to achieve a higher standard and quality of living”.
by Mark Arnold
On the Mark Strategies
Cue the Mission Impossible theme song. One of the blockbuster movies this summer is Mission Impossible: Fallout. If you haven’t seen it yet, get to a theatre near you for an absolute blast of a thrill ride movie.
But enough of the movie review. What does Mission Impossible have to do with a credit union or bank? Actually, quite a lot, especially when it comes to your marketing.
Whether in the classic TV show version or the movie franchise reboot, every Mission Impossible doesn’t just start with a catchy tune. It begins with the classic line, “Your mission….should you choose to accept it….” I get goose bumps every time I hear that line!
For the sake of this post I want to modify that line just a bit to say, “your MARKETING mission….should you choose to accept it….”
Here are three vital marketing missions to undertake at your financial institution:
Just like Tom Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt and his team assume a great deal of risk with each mission, taking on the above assignments in your marketing takes risk as well. But in the end the hardest missions yield the greatest results.
Jen Shefner, Strategic Business Analyst
If you’re considering or are about to enter a digital transformation, its no news to you there are many pieces to the puzzle to consider. In this article, we’ll review how your credit union can come to a common understanding of what a digital transformation is, why now is the time to act, and the 6 digital transformation trends CU Engage is seeing across clients and projects.
The Digital Conundrum
The word “digital” can mean so many different things these days. When asked, financial leaders define “digital” in a variety of ways.
Digital is not:
On the flip side:
Your online/mobile banking platform and vendor can become a launching pad or frustrating barrier for how you conduct a digital business. It’s truly, just one piece of the overall puzzle, but it is an important one. It’s the most common touch point you have with your member. But that’s not all. It’s a member-facing portal that integrates with many of your other systems – including cards, mortgages, account opening, loan origination, etc. The flexibility, integrations and user experience created by your digital banking platform affect the member experiences your users have with those services as well.
Before selecting a new digital banking vendor, we recommend that credit unions set a corporate digital vision and be ready to answer tough questions about your commitment to achieving that vision. Without doing so, the voice of the current culture can limit your transformation.
Why NOW is a strategic time to act
According to the Digital Banking Report, when financial leaders were asked about their top three priorities for 2018, 72% selected: “redesign or enhance the digital experience for consumers.” The next priority at 51% was the “use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics and cognitive computing.”
It’s probably not a surprise to you that these were the top priorities reported last year as well. Financial institutions have spent the last few years talking about digital transformation – painting a picture of where we need to go to meet consumer expectations. We want to:
Mobile banking usage is at a volume where leaders must act. Raddon predicts that mobile usage will surpass 60% of consumer households in 2018, and 85% of millennials already use mobile banking monthly.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re meeting users’ expectations. In fact, an online poll of 1,600 users conducted by Harris Poll and D3 Banking Technologies found a majority of users were frustrated with digital banking during the past year: 68% of Americans overall and 73% of Millennials felt this way. Furthermore, 32% of Americans are willing to leave their current banking relationship for a better digital experience.
79% of banking operation leaders say their org existence could be threatened if they don’t update technology according to a 2018 Accenture report.
6 Digital Transformation Trends CU Engage is seeing across clients and projects
As we look at the digital banking space, we’re seeing some common trends...
1. Consolidating platforms:
We still have many clients that have been using separate online and mobile vendors or platforms. Consolidation can create better experiences for their members across channels and can lead to potential operational efficiencies.
2. Migrating off legacy UX:
Credit unions on legacy systems can see their user adoption and engagement is lacking and are demanding improved user experiences to meet member expectations. In the past, decisions might have been driven more by vendor price, but credit unions are willing to pay more now because of the indirect value of a better experience.
3. Demanding flexibility:
When we start an evaluation project, we spend a day with executives and operational teams to understand their requirement and goals. Often clients are looking for the presence of a Software Development Kit (SDK), an Application Programming Interface (API) and a partner culture that allows for customization, but many clients today aren’t equipped today with the development staff to immediately act on these requirements.
4. Deeper Integrations:
Integration is one of the key factors that credit unions consider when evaluating vendors. Again, digital banking is a portal that touches many other systems, and the depth and type of integration strongly impacts member experience. More and more credit unions are demanding API integrations over Single-Sign-On integrations.
With this type of integration the user interface is typically created by your digital banking provider or, in some cases, by the credit union themselves. Many credit unions are moving their full-service credit card integrations from Single-Sign-On to API integration.
5. Dreaming of Big Data:
As we saw earlier, the use of big data and analytics is the #2 priority of financial leaders in 2018. As CU Engage works with clients on vendor evaluations, we hear it’s a priority too, but most tend to say they don’t have a data warehouse or data lake yet, but that’s it’s a strategic initiative on their roadmap for 2018 or 2019. Vendors have noticed this as well. In some cases, they have built their own data engines that help bridge the gap.
6. Card Management:
As mentioned earlier, integrations with card processors are a top priority for many credit union’s today. Not only are credit union’s looking to integrate card balances, history, and payments into the mobile experience, but card controls, alerts and reward balances. Travel notices and dispute claims that route automatically to card processors are also an attractive API feature in demand. Card processes often offer these features within their own sites or standalone apps, but we see credit unions wanting to provide members with a single unified experience.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to update your digital banking technology to be more flexible and capable of supporting innovation. Perhaps this is already what’s keeps you up at night, and you can relate to one or more of the above 6 Digital Transformation Trends. Here are some final thoughts to consider when going through a digital evaluation:
Originally posted on CUES Inside Marketing February 2018.
Make it easy for reporters to connect with your organization.
I’ve visited hundreds of credit union websites over the years, conducting research for various projects and reviews. Many of them are excellent. In the last few years, the quality has gone through the roof in a good way with compelling graphics, helpful text and vastly improved layouts and navigation.
But there’s one section that seems to be lacking on most of these websites: a media or press section for reporters and editors.
Why? Well, here you can get a quick history of recent company activity, milestones, new customers/clients, issues and trends or events. It’s a one-stop location for a quick glance at everything your credit union in this case is doing. Editors love this stuff, and I would think your members would, too.
The media section is a smorgasbord of content for anybody looking into your organization. It’s all right there. A good media section will include:
So why don’t more credit unions have a media section? Not sure. But I do know it would be wise for more to create these pages and make it easier for reporters to research the latest activities occurring at your shop. This section increases the possibility of your credit union being included as a resource for a story in the local newspaper, an appearance on the evening news, a news spot on the radio or a resource for a well-known financial blog.
Editors and reporters don’t have a lot of time when producing stories. Deadlines always loom and anything you can do to make their jobs easier and more efficient is a huge win. Believe me, they will remember. It will prompt them to come back to you again and again—especially if you provide them with great, helpful content that benefits their audience. This, in turn, benefits your credit union with increased, educational exposure.
One of the most common themes I hear at credit union conferences nationwide is “we need to be relevant,” “we need to tell our story,” or “we need to share what we do in the community.” And the media is an excellent place to express these messages, which can be received by the masses easily. That’s what you want, right? Media exposure saves a boatload on advertising dollars and gives you additional material to share on social media and create a new conversation.
There are numerous benefits to working with local, regional and national media. I’ve written about this subject many times in the past : Doing so essentially propels you to a trusted leadership position in your area of expertise. So, again, why aren’t credit unions making it easier to connect with reporters?
One editor friend (CUES’ Lisa Hochgraf) told me: “If you’re not in your local media, you’re not in your community.” So true.
If you want to become a trusted and consistent news resource, create an informative and easy-to-use media section with pertinent contact information on your website. And be proactive in letting your local media know about this section so they know where to go when a finance-related story arises and they want a go-to person to get the information they need.
Sounds like a winning scenario to me. What’s stopping you from creating a media section on your website today?
Author: Mike Lawson
Married to a most gorgeous and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.