SEATTLE-With some 760,000 members, BECU is nearing 10% penetration with its mobile solution, and one BECU executive believes mobile continues to be a point where CUs can differentiate themselves.

Howie Wu, VP of virtual banking at BECU, spoke as part of CUNA Mutual Group's Online Discovery Conference, and stressed that mobile banking is right for every FI. Where the variables lie, he said, are each institution's strategies and member needs. Wu cited a Javelin study that said that more than 10% of consumers are now switching FIs just because of mobile, which only reinforces the danger of being left behind.

One of BECU's mobile strategies is to push alerts, both to help protect the member and drive adoption. "This is where you make members aware of the value of mobile to them, so it's not just another online banking platform on a mobile device, but it's actually adding value to them because it's providing actual alerts and fraud alerts," said Wu.

While many CUs begin with text banking and then roll out more advanced offerings for Android and iPhone, BECU went the opposite route, in part because its tech-savvy membership wanted something with advanced functionality. It plans to launch text banking later this year.


Demo Parties Held

BECU also held "demo parties" during development and debut of its apps, allowing members the opportunity to preview them.

"We found out that there were things they didn't care about, things they wanted that weren't included, et cetera," said Wu. "It helped with functionality and usability. It is definitely a good approach to get your members to participate. In our membership they were very willing and open."

Wu emphasized the importance of marketing when it comes to a mobile roll out.

"Effective marketing really drives adoption. Make sure your campaigns align with the overall strategy and make sure you get it out there," he said. BECU relies on statement stuffers, online banking, special promotions and more to spread the word about mobile banking.

"You always want to make sure you leverage all of your marketing capabilities" to promote mobile adoption, he said.

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