EAST WINDSON, Conn.-Credit unions can drive product growth in 2013 by going back and taking a fresh approach to an old standby: their websites.

Jeff Chesky, chairman and CEO of Insuritas, a provider of outsourced insurance agencies, told Credit Union Journal his company works with its CU partners nationally to deploy specific, tactical adjustments to their websites to drive revenue growth and margin expansion. He cited a Q4 2012 by the I-Labs Group of Insuritas that found 84% of CU CEOs surveyed were unsatisfied or somewhat unsatisfied with their current website.

"Not surprisingly, these same CEOs reported they did not have clear, measureable objectives for their websites," said Chesky. "Credit union websites must migrate from 'brochure-ware' to e-commerce sites."


What the Data Show

The I-Labs report found 38.4% of CU members nationally are active users of online banking services, and comScore reported online banking users are visiting their online banking portals an average of 6.8 times per month. Chesky said this combination creates an opportunity with millions of eyeballs visiting CU home pages monthly.

"Specific tactics include only allowing products on credit union portals that can be shopped, compared and purchased online," he advised, adding CUs should include a search function on every web page so a member can get to a product through search rather than waiting for banner ads to pop up or clicking through pull-down menus.

The key, he continued, is a credit union must think of its web portal as an "aisle" in their stores.

"The website must be accountable for revenue growth and margin enhancement," he said. "Credit unions must offer online chat to provide instant answers to product questions while members shop online. They must look beyond basic Google Analytics, measuring how many of their online products feature online purchasing capabilities, how much money is being spent during an online shopping experience, how many products are being bought during an online shopping experience, and what is the 'margin' for every online shopping experience."

Chesky said online shopping on a CU's web portal increases fee income, collapses operating expense and increases member satisfaction. "A credit union's shopping traffic is free, so monetizing it is a critical initiative for 2013."

For info: www.insuritas.com.

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