Credit Union Student Choice, the leading provider of higher education financing solutions to America’s credit unions, announced that it has partnered with Community Financial Credit Union ($1.2 billion; 85,300 members; based in Plymouth, Michigan) to offer solutions for private student lending and student loan refinance.
“At Community Financial, we exist to serve the members of our community, beginning early in a student’s education and continuing through every stage of their lives,” said Tansley Stearns, president and CEO of Community Financial. “College is one of life’s most significant investments, and we believe firmly that access to funding should not be a barrier for any of our members who are working tirelessly to achieve their dreams. We begin supporting strong financial management skills through our nearly 50 student-run credit unions in local elementary, middle and high schools, and we are always embracing opportunities to continue supporting our young members through college graduation and beyond.”
Community Financial will offer Student Choice’s flagship education line of credit for undergraduate students, as well as a student loan refinance option that will help borrowers simplify their student loan repayment to potentially save money over the life of the loan. By offering both in-school and refinance solutions, the program is designed to help members responsibly manage the cost of higher education and navigate financial hurdles before, during, and after college.
“Community Financial and its youth education programs are a shining example of the credit union philosophy, which Student Choice embodies as well,” said Scott Patterson, president and CEO of Student Choice. “We provide educational tools, one-on-one application support, and a college counselor to help families understand the financial aid process. When a member funds their education with a Student Choice partner credit union, they’re getting more than just a loan.”
Student Choice enables credit unions of all sizes to make private education loans that are held on their own balance sheet. Since launching in 2008, the CUSO has helped nearly 300 partner credit unions originate $4 billion in private education loans to more than 115,000 families.
In its ongoing effort to support the growth and development of small credit unions, the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA) today unveiled a new source of funding dedicated exclusively to help its small credit unions improve services to their members.
Through its Small Credit Union Assistance Program, all federal and state chartered CCUA-member credit unions having $100 million-or-less in assets become eligible to apply for grant monies to support their operational needs. The grants, up to $2,000 each, may be utilized for operations, technology and security upgrades, in addition to helping a credit union engage emerging and underrepresented markets, including youth, older Americans, immigrant populations, and people of low or modest means.
CCUA is funding its Small Credit Union Assistance Program through the generous support of its own member credit unions, complimented by the program’s principal sponsors, CUNA Mutual Group and MemberClose.
“CCUA is proud to launch our new grant assistance program which represents the association’s commitment to support our low-asset credit unions and provide them greater opportunities to serve their members,” noted CCUA President/CEO Ron McLean. “A huge thank you to the many CCUA member credit unions, CUNA Mutual Group and MemberClose for their leadership by financially supporting this very important initiative.”
To be considered for a grant, a credit union must complete an application, which CCUA will evaluate based on the credit union's financial need and how the funds will be utilized. To date, CCUA’s Small Credit Union Assistance Program has $75,000 available for distribution.
Asa Named as a Winner in the BECU Fintech Incubator Competition, Powered by CoMotion at the University of Washington
Asa connects financial institutions with customer-facing fintechs in a secure, compliant and easy to implement marketplace. The company today announced its acceptance into a fintech incubator hosted by BECU and CoMotion, the innovation arm of the University of Washington. The year-long program kicks off with a welcome event on July 6.
BECU, the largest not-for-profit credit union in Washington, partnered with CoMotion at the University of Washington (UW) to launch the FinTech Incubator in 2018. The collaboration combines CoMotion's strengths in incubation, partnership, innovation, company formation and technology commercialization with BECU’s expertise in financial services, data analysis and member experience. The purpose of the incubator is to support rising fintech startups, providing mentorship and partnership opportunities to its members.
“At BECU, we aim to provide our members with the right tools and resources they need to reach their financial goals and meet their growing financial needs,” said Mike Zell, BECU’s senior vice president of Digital. “By partnering with UW CoMotion, we support startups who will help foster innovation in the financial services industry and increase the financial well-being of our communities for the long-term.”
Asa is paving a new path forward in financial services, introducing the collaborative banking model. This framework powers growth and opportunity for financial institutions and fintechs while also accelerating financial empowerment by putting the customer in control of their data and finances. With Asa, customers can have the modern technology they crave and the local financial institution they know and trust.
"The industry continues to grapple with how to keep up with skyrocketing demand for innovation in a safe, secure and affordable way," said Landon Glenn, CEO and founder of Asa. "With Asa’s collaborative banking model, financial institutions and fintechs are finally able to join forces, connecting customers with a marketplace of fintechs without ever having to share sensitive data or credentials. Such a model is a win for the bank, fintech and end customer. We are proud to be accepted into the BECU FinTech Incubator, and we look forward to continuing this momentum and growth."
DeepTarget’s 3D Story On The Go™ Powers Immersive & Adaptive 1-to-1 Personalized Experiences for Email, SMS and Social Media Marketing
DeepTarget Inc., a Fintech company that simplifies digital marketing for banks and credit unions by utilizing data insights and AI to deliver personalized offers and experiences across digital channels, announced the addition of its new 3D Story On The Go™(OTG) product extension to its Digital Experience Platform (DXP). This significant expansion of their product portfolio uses consumer/business intelligence and AI to power adaptive and immersive 1-to-1 personalized experiences for consumers by plugging into campaigns driven by any marketing automation, email, SMS, and social media marketing platforms.
Given their high ROI and widespread usage, a large number of financial institutions rely on email, SMS and social media for outbound communications. The average email open rate is 19.8% with Financial Services’ average being 24.9%, the click-through rate is 11.3% and marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue. Text messaging is also incredibly effective and is growing in usage for marketing by FIs. SMS open rates are as high as 98% (Gartner) with 82% of consumers opening every text message received. Finally, social media, where an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes per day is spent by each person, accounts for the largest single share of our connected media time, making it vital for FIs to utilize in order to increase touch points with consumers.
Banks and credit unions can now use 3D Story On The Go™ to elevate and compel engagement through these three channels with immersive and adaptive, prismatic user experiences for onboarding new customers, sending personalized offers and promotions, communicating single product information and much more. Examples of the consumer experience can be found here, here, and here. The fusion of visually appealing experiences combined with AI and insights-based 1-to-1 personalized offers and messages adds enormous value to any email, text or social media post.
“After working very successfully with DeepTarget’s DXP, I am excited to use their new product which works as an extension to our current campaigns in online and mobile banking,” said Michael Hostetler, VP of Marketing, Crane Credit Union, a beta customer of the product. “We use email extensively to communicate with our members based on DeepTarget’s AI-based predictive campaigns. With 3D Story On The Go, it will be great to easily deliver a new, elevated level of AI-based personalized experience to our members.”
Recent Financial Services industry surveys show that consumer expectations of personalization are extremely high. Yet, financial institutions are rarely meeting these demands. 3D Story On The Go™ enables FIs to combine their considerable amounts of consumer data with AI-powered insights to efficently and at scale drive adaptive 1-to-1 personalized experiences in a consistent way across multiple touchpoints, thereby meeting modern consumer demands. Thousands of email or SMS recipients will each be treated to their own unique 3D Story experience of personalized offers and messages, ensuring relevance and response.
“Today’s consumers are digital users first and expect their financial institutions to deliver seamless, personalized, relevant experiences,” said Preetha Pulusani, CEO of DeepTarget. “As much as personalization is a growing expectation for consumers, achieving it is a growing challenge for many financial institutions, especially in understanding how and when to leverage consumer data. Our mission is to simplify digital marketing for FIs by giving them the tools to create and deliver campaigns that compel connection. With 3D Story On The Go™ used with email or text, they now have a canvas that combines dynamic, adaptive visual experiences with relevant offers to not just meet but exceed contemporary consumer expectations.”
3D Story On The Go™ will be available in production to all customers later this month. More product information can be found here.
Computer Services, Inc. (CSI) (OTCQX: CSVI), a leading provider of end-to-end fintech and regtech solutions, has been recognized on three distinguished Forbes’ lists for 2022, including Best Employers for Diversity, America’s Best Employers for New Graduates and, announced earlier this year, America’s Best Midsize Employers. Presented by Forbes and Statista, Best Employers for Diversity honors organizations demonstrating a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, while Best Employers for New Grads, for which CSI placed 22nd out of 300, acknowledges companies most liked by new workforce entrants.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are integral factors in fostering a positive workplace, and characteristics CSI fully embraces. Further, the company views all employees, including new graduates, as potential future leaders. Founded in 1965 with a handful of staff, CSI now employs nearly 1,300 individuals nationwide. While the company continues to achieve business milestones each year, it also places heavy emphasis on ensuring the success of employees. CSI also is deeply committed to maintaining a service-oriented culture that supports employees with rewarding careers, access to continued learning and opportunities for advancement.
“At CSI, we strive to cultivate an environment that makes each employee feel valued and respected,” said David Culbertson, CSI’s president and CEO. “We encourage our employees to view their respective backgrounds as strengths that cultivate collaboration with their colleagues. CSI’s inclusion on the Forbes’ Best Employers for New Graduates, Best Midsize Employers and Best Employers for Diversity lists demonstrates our ongoing efforts to create an inclusive environment where employees can thrive and grow.”
For more information on the Forbes lists, including full eligibility criteria, visit www.forbes.com.
Allegan Credit Union and Rivertown Community Federal Credit Union Jointly Announce their Intent to Merge
Allegan Credit Union, and Rivertown Community Federal Credit Union are excited to announce their plans to merge pending regulatory approval and a membership vote. If approved, the combined organization will operate under a unified brand but will continue to keep their individual names. The organization’s combined assets would be approximately $160 million, and would serve nearly 14,000 members with 5 branches in Western Michigan.
The famous Helen Keller quote “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” is a perfect symbolism of what this merger represents, a partnership between two future-focused credit unions committed to providing amazing service and a wide competitive offering of products and services for the members and the communities they serve. In a financial services sector that is constantly shifting, this merger represents a collaborative pooling of resources and talent coupled with the commitment to serve members, employees, and the community. Together these organizations would be in an even better position to leverage resources to continue to expand their product, service, convenience, and technology offerings.
Critics may be quick to point out why credit unions shouldn’t merge, however in today’s highly regulated, high-tech environment, it’s becoming more difficult for smaller credit unions to compete at the same level as the bigger players. Left on their own, it is becoming more and more challenging to offer the wide range of products and services that members (who are consumers) want. Attracting new members and new employees in this highly competitive market is also becoming increasingly difficult. This partnership brought together for the benefit of the membership at the forefront of the decision-making process, is one way in which credit unions can compete on a larger scale in today’s market, while continuing to maintain their unique brand identity.
Kristopher Lewis has been serving as dual President/CEO of Allegan and Rivertown Credit Union and states, “As the CEO of Allegan Credit Union for the past 7 years and Rivertown for the past year, my viewpoint on mergers has evolved. Serving in this dual role, I see our similarities and I see our differences, and both should be celebrated and preserved. I have a passion for our industry and for helping the greater good of credit unions, members, and the communities we serve.”
Lewis was part of the start-up Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO), designed to offer Accounting & CFO services to credit unions unable to afford internal resources or with a gap to fill. “Being involved in CUSOs and serving as a dual CEO, I have gained a greater perspective on what we can leverage and accomplish together as one for our members and our communities.” Lewis goes on to say “Our mission at Allegan is community over credit score, relationships over revenue, and people over profit. And Rivertown was built for hard-working people who had a genuine interest in helping those that couldn’t find the financial resources from the big banks. This partnership is a perfect way to live out our mission and to go back to why we exist, creating relationships and helping those that don’t have the financial resources on their own. It doesn’t get any better than this! We’re excited about this partnership and hope it’s just the beginning of many more positive relationships and partnerships to come. When your partnership is rooted in a commitment and passion for serving members and communities and doing the right thing, you can be proud to work in this industry!”
As Member-owned cooperatives, and under the guidelines of the National Credit Union Association, full merger approval is contingent upon Rivertown’s member approval. Upon that approval, the entities will become one sometime in late 2022 or early 2023.
As the merger process moves forward, both credit unions will provide information to their respective Memberships via their websites (www.allegancu.com and www.rivertowncu.org), and other applicable communication channels.
ALM First and DDJ Myers have officially joined forces. The well-known leadership development firm is now DDJ Myers: An ALM First Company. The two firms will continue to operate largely independently and retain their own headquarters locations, ALM First in Dallas and DDJ Myers in Phoenix. Clients can expect the same high-end service from the team members they know and trust, while enjoying expanded educational opportunities and solutions to help optimize both people and financial performance.
“ALM First was founded in 1995 to serve our clients by putting their best interests’ first,” says Emily Hollis, CFA, CEO of ALM First. “Over the years, we’ve continued to expand based on what our clients need. By bringing DDJ Myers under the ALM First umbrella, our clients will directly benefit from executive search, leadership development and strategic planning best practices that complement our focus on financial performance.”
“Our philosophy of advancing leadership success aligns perfectly with ALM First’s guiding principles and purpose-driven strategy to serve clients,” says Deedee Myers, PhD, MSC, PCC, CHIC, Founder & CEO of DDJ Myers. “ALM First’s team of experts complements what we do and can create a powerful difference for our clients through unbiased advice and proven strategies to enhance financial performance.”
Interested organizations may learn more about the educational resources and solutions offered at www.almfirst.com and www.ddjmyers.com.
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.