LAS VEGAS-For $669-million One Nevada Credit Union, the omnipresent watchful eye of "Big Brother" is a good thing.

SVP-Marketing Greg Barnes told Credit Union Journal that One Nevada intends to increase its use of data mining and targeted marketing to drive growth in 2013. He said One Nevada uses what is called "big data" data mining, a reference to George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984," in which the government relentlessly spies on the population.

"There is a lot of data out there, and this is a new way to market," Barnes said. "For example, when a member comes to our website we put a cookie on their machine. If they go to a car-buying site and fill out a contact form we can capture that information. We get a real-time list of our members that are active car shoppers, allowing us to send an immediate pre-approval or loan offer.

"This is similar to the targeted ads on Yahoo and other sites," he added. "Once someone shows interest in a company online, ads follow them."

Increasing targeted marketing to build the credit union's brand in its service area is just one of three initiatives planned by One Nevada for the new year, Barnes said. It also will be enhancing product delivery and developing new products geared for the Las Vegas market.

On the product delivery front, One Nevada CU will be testing video-based product delivery this year, including video tellers or video loan officers. It recently signed with Google Wallet through PSCU, its credit card processor, and Barnes said a major goal is to improve mobile check deposit. Also, it plans to implement merchant rewards through online banking.

"We are trying to be more advanced in the technology we use to deliver products and services," he said.


'New Start' Visa

Product development will be highlighted by the reintroduction of a "New Start" Visa card for people who cannot get a credit card from another provider. Barnes said it will be a fee-driven card product that is similar in concept to the CU's "New Start Checking."

"We have a specialty auto program for that same audience that has a higher rate for borrowers other places will not touch," he said. "In addition, HARP 2.0 mortgage loans will continue to be part of our products to serve our market."

In 2011 One Nevada posted a loss of $4.8 million, including more than $1.7 million in assessments. In 2010 it lost $4.2 million, including more than $1.6 million in assessments.

One Nevada CU CEO Bradley Beal has had a running joke with Credit Union Journal over the past two years as the former Silver State CU slowly dug itself out of a deep hole left by the recession. Even in the face of improving numbers, Beal resolutely insisted "things are less bad" rather than using positive terminology.

In contrast, Barnes acknowledged there are "some indications" that conditions are "almost down to pre-recession levels" in loan delinquencies, and home prices are improving.

"We have worked our way through and now it seems the loans that were going to go bad have, leaving us with a pretty solid credit picture," he said. "For the first time since 2008 we managed to make a net profit in 2012, which is nice. Things are finally a little bit better."

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