Reach the Underserved

Tips for CUs from a public policy innovator.

June 13, 2013
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Jonathan Mintz
You’ve got products and services you want to market to unbanked, underbanked, and low-income consumers.
Now, how do you get these products into their hands?
Jonathan Mintz, city of New York commissioner for consumer affairs, worries about that question from a public policy perspective as he aims to increase these groups' involvement in government programs.
He offers these tips for credit unions:
►Latch-on to popular community programming. Increase your visibility by finding a way to include enrollment of your products and services with the programming registration of a popular community partner.
The quality of your offerings may be irrelevant if you don’t get it in front of the people who need them, Mintz says.
"I would strongly stress your ability to not only show up with the right product but the right onboarding of that product," he says.
Worry more about transparency than price. Step one should be creating a product or service that is easy-to-understand and use, and sensitive to the needs of the underserved—products such as second-chance checking.
It's important for these offerings to be transparent and simple, Mintz says. And fees are fine.
"It is not that people will say 'no' to spending money on their financial transaction needs," he says. "They are spending money. But too many are spending money in unproductive ways like check cashers."
Mintz addressed the 2013 Annual Conference of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, held in Baltimore June 5-8. He was part of a plenary session, “Innovations and New Directions in Financial Services.”

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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 (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) 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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