Is Your CU Ready for Mass Adoption of Consumer Capture?

Since the advent of Check 21, check imaging solutions have continued to gain momentum among all financial institutions, especially as the Federal Reserve pares down its delivery system. As remote deposit capture for business takes hold in the marketplace, a new technology enters the space for consumers-consumer capture.

A recent survey conducted by Celent found nearly half of the nation's top 30 banks may offer consumer item capture before long. Celent's Bob Meara claims that should this occur, it's nearly inconceivable that community banks and credit unions won't follow suit, resulting in mass adoption. According to Meara, "Celent anticipates targeted but significant adoption of consumer capture solutions over the next three years." With the introduction of all new products and technology solutions, successful adoption relies on effective marketing strategies. Consumer capture will need careful strategic planning to ensure that success. Below are key strategies to consider that have proven to be successful.

Key Strategies to Success:

  • Market through channels that directly reach consumers and your existing members, such as marketing in branches or through statement stuffers. Avoid print advertising in trade journals or even in newspapers, as they may not be a common touch point for your target market.
  • Multi-point marketing is the best approach, such as combining Internet banner advertisements with pop-ups in online banking to directed mailers.
  • The marketing plan for consumer capture must be consistent with the overall marketing plan for the credit union. If members are used to seeing your logo on TV or on billboards, then use those same outlets to market consumer capture. Do not attempt new or surprising marketing outlets.
  • Market the solution as one of convenience and trust; not another way to keep people out of the branch. But note that for some institutions, this will be contrary to their culture; therefore, they should proceed with great caution.
After implementing your marketing plan, there are several factors to consider depending on how consumer capture is accepted by your target market. For CUs that have a merchant capture solution in place, be prepared for potential cannibalization of one product to the other. Similarly, be aware that some users may like one interface over the other and may force your hand as to which solution they employ. Also, be prepared for the best and worst case results and be ready to make changes as necessary.

The best case is that everyone loves it and your adoption rates are huge. Be prepared to implement en masse and efficiently manage the volumes and reporting of the new service while understanding the corresponding effect on branch traffic. Not being prepared for mass adoption could lead to significant decreases in member services, resulting in loss of members.

How to Use Worst-Case Scenario to Advantage

The worst case is that you yield extremely limited responses, which may indicate a misplaced marketing effort. Evaluate users that have deposited checks in the past and fit the profile of desired consumer capture users. Then create a more focused marketing plan specifically targeted at this group. When successful, obtain testimonials, use them aggressively and re-start a broader campaign.

The $700-million Arkansas FCU recently developed and implemented a full-scale marketing campaign for consumer capture. Since deploying and successfully marketing consumer capture, CEO Larry Biernacki said the service is "addictive" for members, adding that they have had a phenomenal adoption rate.

By incorporating the strategies mentioned earlier, AFCU increased member sign-up by more than 400 within the first 30 days of launching the campaign. The credit union expects these numbers to continue to increase. The campaign focuses on the convenience and simplicity of depositing checks from members' homes, and includes statement stuffers, billboard advertisements, radio spots (10-15 seconds), in-branch advertisements through posters, digital signage with ATMs, direct mail, Internet marketing and local television commercial spots.

Jon Reneslacis is the director of solutions engineering for VSoft Corp., Atlanta, a provider of check imaging software. For info: 770-840-0097.