CUs Exchange Onboarding Best Practices

Empower employees to serve new members during the account-opening process.

October 25, 2012
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“The first 90 days is crucial for making or breaking a new-member relationship,” says Kevin Roland, delivery channels director for FedChoice Federal Credit Union, Lanham, Md. Roland was part of a panel discussion of onboarding strategies at the CUNA Technology Council and CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council’s joint annual conference in Las Vegas.

“We sign up about 125 members per month, but we lose a similar amount,” says Roland. “Our goal is to get new members to sign up for five products or services in the first 90 days.”

Roland describes a 2-2-2-6-1 onboarding strategy developed by cuStrategies:

“We also send a ‘honeymoon’ letter right after members sign up for membership welcoming them to the credit union and asking them to take a short survey on their experiences up to this point,” says Roland. “We’re getting a better response rate now [about 30%] using e-mail for these letters and surveys.”

“We track new members who have only one service,” says Linda Fedrick, vice president of member relations for Anheuser-Busch Employees Credit Union, St. Louis. “In 2008, 64% of new members had only one service. We’ve been able to reduce that to 29% today.”

Fedrick says Anheuser-Busch Employees CU does separate surveys for new and longer-term members. She says her credit union has a net promoter score of 92, while her peer average is 83. New members have an average of 2.43 products and services after 90 days with the credit union. Member households at her credit union have an average of 3.82 products and services.

“You need to move quickly with new members,” says Steve Langley, vice president of sales, service, and training at Travis CU, Vacaville, Calif. “Don’t wait two months to pull credit reports on new members and look for loans they might have with other lenders, and then see if you can convert those loans to your credit union.”

“Go over members’ credit reports with them and teach them how to read their reports,” Langley advises.

Langley said CUs should empower their employees to serve new members during the account-opening process and then hold their employees accountable for earning new members’ business.

Hand Written Notes

Mark Arnold
October 29, 2012 8:50 pm
The steps outlined above are great ones to help onboard new members. I would also recommend that a branch manager or new accounts or loan officer write a hand written note to the new member as well. Writing a hand written note is extremely powerful way to stand out in this digital age.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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