OAKLAND, Calif. – Self-Help FCU is providing its members with financial literacy education in the teller line under a pilot program financed by the National CU Foundation.

Self-Help said the program helps deliver financial education to members at the teller line, when members are focused on their financial decision-making. The pilot program is being conducted at Self-Help’s Micro Branch, a check-casher/credit union hybrid in San Jose, Calif., that is designed to meet the needs of unbanked families.

“By providing educational interventions during financial transactions and coupling them with access to asset-building products and services, Self-Help FCU creates opportunities to transition education into action and effectively change financial behavior,” said Jeannine Esposito, communication and development associate at the CDCU.

As members establish trusting relationships with the Micro Branch, Self-Help said member service representatives will nudge them toward products and services – such as credit union membership and savings accounts – that can assist them in building assets and achieving financial self-sufficiency.

The Micro Branch currently serves 1,538 customers and 20% of them have become members of the credit union. All customers received initial education when they registered with the branch to cash checks.

The Micro Branch said it offers:
* Teller line interventions – delivering targeted scripts and/or marketing materials to customers at the point of transaction that “nudges” them toward an account, a savings product or a credit-building loan.

* Community outreach interventions – using the same marketing materials and scripts when participating in local community events, including neighborhood resource fairs, VITA site days, non-profit partners’ open houses, and other occasions.

* In-branch marketing interventions – creating posters, post cards and other marketing collateral designed to provide “bite sized” education, delivered in an interesting and thought-provoking manner, e.g. “Did you know the average Micro Branch consumer spends more than $300 in check-cashing a year” and “Did you know the average Micro Branch member spends an average of $65 in account fees per year?”

* Cross-selling savings accounts – Interact with customers during their check cashing transactions so they will open a “5 for Me” savings account. Self Help FCU said it has incorporated the behavioral economic concepts of frictionless savings, the power of defaults, and future commitments with its on-the-ground experience in serving the unbanked to create this new savings product.

* Evaluation & analysis – holding regular team meetings to review successful interventions and share best practices, which informs training materials for staff.

* Staff training – incorporating training into weekly team meetings to review the introduction of new marketing interventions, practice teller line interventions and review community event interventions.

During the second half of 2012, Self Help FCU said its in-line financial education activities will consist of:
* Market research (quantitative) – a data-driven analysis of its customer base to determine which customers have progressed along the product suite. For example, the credit union looks at which check cashing customers decided to open an account, how long did it take, etc.

* Market research (qualitative) – conducting phone and in-person interviews or focus groups to understand how customers are using products and what interventions have worked on them.

* Customer profile flags – flags in Self Help FCU’s core processing system of potential clients who share characteristics from their success stories and prime for cross-serving opportunities.

 

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