LAS VEGAS-At the recent Annual Meeting and Convention for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, CU Journal asked, "What has your credit union been doing in 2012 to transform new members into members who use the CU as their primary financial institution?"

Teresa Freeborn, President and CEO

Xceed Financial CU, El Segundo, Calif.

We are a SEG-based credit union, not a community charter, so Bank Transfer Day did not bring us a lot of new members-but all the attention did help us deepen our relationships with our SEGs. We ran a "Break Up With Your Bank" campaign at our SEGs. We have separate landing pages for each of our SEGs, which gives us a chance to talk with them.

We know the checking account relationship definitely leads to the PFI relationship. We want to take advantage of the anti-bank sentiment that is still out there. We have worked hard to improve our relationships with people at all of our SEGs that can develop more business.


Marci Aguayo, Regional Vice President

Alaska USA FCU, Victorville, Calif.

We are very informational when people walk in the door. The key for us is giving great service, which translates well to our membership. I can speak for Alaska USA's California division, and I know we offer great convenience. We are always looking to move checking accounts, loans and credit cards from other institutions.


Kyla Hernandez, Branch Coordinator

Cal Com FCU, Torrance, Calif.

We are putting together a marketing plan to make people PFI members. We do not get a lot of inquiries, but there are a few people who stop by and ask us what we do. We tell them we are here to serve the hospitals in the area. We tell them there is no membership fee plus several other incentives.

We will be adding mobile apps, plus other things my generation is interested in, in 2013. We get a lot of people asking if we have mobile apps, so we know that is important to adding new members.


Patrick Miller, President and CEO

CBC FCU, Oxnard, Calif.

Once people become members we sign them up for online services. If they come in for a loan we let them know if they set it up to transfer their payment from a checking account with us they receive a 1% discount off the rate.

Our members really give us a lot of credit for e-services, including mobile banking. Of 20,000 members, 9,000 use home banking and 3,000 use mobile banking. Our brand statement is "Make it Easy," and we make sure our members believe in it. In focus groups our website consistently scores well because we keep it clean and simple, with deliberate white space to make it easy to navigate.


Patty Jimenez, AVP-Business Services

Orange County's CU, Santa Ana, Calif.

We have several programs in place to get people to be PFI members. When someone joins we have an onboarding program that includes postal mail, phone calls and pre-approvals for car loans and other types of loans. We also have a refer-a-friend program where each person gets $50 if the friend comes in and opens a checking account with online banking and direct deposit. Each branch tracks products per new member, so we put a lot of emphasis on this.


Hank Barrett, President and CEO

Valley First CU, Modesto, Calif.

We really have not done a good job of tying everything together with marketing. At this conference free checking was highlighted as a differentiator for credit unions from banks, and I would like to see us market our free checking more.

Another thought I had was we have coin counters in our branches, for which we charge 3% to use. I would like to offer free counting services if someone has a checking account. We need to have more little ancillary benefits like that.


Alan Cortum, President and CEO

Valley Oak CU, Three Rivers, Calif.

We have not done a good job with Bank Transfer Day. We had a strategic planning session that day, and we have a pretty small staff, so we were not even open that day. From this conference, where we heard focus group participants complaining about being charged 50 cents every time they used their debit card for point of sales transactions, we are going to eliminate that fee.

I want to make people much more aware of what our credit unions offers, and especially that we are much more convenient than they think we are. We want to do more with prospective member education.

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