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Mobilizing Members

DAVENPORT, Iowa-Tellers Stephanie Holmes and Emily Wilson at The Family CU here surely turn heads. They wear fuchsia t-shirts emblazoned with curious barcodes.

The tellers are meant to attract attention. The t-shirts, bearing a large Quick Response (QR) code, are the latest push to get members to use mobile services at the $111-million CU.

Emily Wilson and Stephanie Holmes

Meanwhile, at $50-million Eaton Family CU in Euclid, Ohio, staff listens carefully when members call to check account balances, sleuthing whether the member is using a cell phone, said Fred Siegel, business development manager.

Staff asks the member, "Are you on a cell phone? Would you like an easier and faster way to get your balance? Try our mobile banking solution," Siegel said.

At The Family CU, each 10-by-10-inch QR code is embedded with a link to download the CU's free mobile application for Apple iPhone. Members use an iPhone QR reader application to snap a picture of the code on the t-shirt. The reader automatically directs the member to The Family CU mobile app in the Apple App Store. The app offers a branch and ATM locator and a loan calculator.

With the QR t-shirts and the tagline "Know Us. App Us." The Family CU avoided being "boring," said Kris Lundquist, VP-marketing. "QR codes are a fairly new concept in marketing. We thought the QR codes might be intriguing, at least for the youth who recognize the convenience of apps."

The QR code is part of a larger mobile campaign, which includes QR-laden digital billboards, TV, postcards, floor wraps and a YouTube contest. Lundquist said. The Family CU isn't able to track the number of times the app has been downloaded since launch in April, she said.

The locator app and QR code functionality is provided by Silver Oaks Communications, Moline, Ill. The Family CU also offers web- and text-based mobile banking provided by Fiserv, Inc.

Cell phone sleuthing at Eaton Family CU is "the best opportunity" to promote mobile banking, said Siegel. "We know members are calling on cell phones because they sound kind of fuzzy, and the area codes are funky on caller ID. In the branch, we see people with phones."

About 2% of the Eaton Family membership is using the CU's web, application or text-based mobile banking services, offered via CO-OP Financial Services.

Baxter CU (BCU) of Vernon Hills, Ill., sees a dramatic adoption spike each time it introduces new mobile functionality, according to Scott Schmidt, director, e-services. "We've been able to increase usage at a higher rate than anticipated in the industry."

BCU launched Android and iPhone mobile banking apps in December, for example, causing total logins to rise from 44,000 logins to more than 71,000 in March, while web-based mobile banking logins remained constant, Schmidt said. Mobile deposit services launched last year resulted in a 50% increase in traffic over four months, he said.

Also successful in promoting mobile are web banner ads and a browser sniffer, which redirects mobile users from the main website to the mobile site, he added.

The $1.4-billion BCU built its own web-based mobile banking, but app and text mobile banking are provided by Wescom Resources Group, Pasadena, Calif.

Android and iPhone applications set mobile banking on fire at Texas Dow Employees CU (TDECU), suggested Brad Clutter, online banking product manager at the $1.6-billion CU, based in Lake Jackson, Texas.

"Mobile subscriber growth has been consistently 5% month over month, but growth skyrocketed to 20% since the launch of our mobile app in April," Clutter said. Mobile transactions increased by 28% since the app launch. TDECU uses QR codes to promote the apps, among other tactics.

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