EAST WINDSOR, Conn.-Credit unions can boost their bottom lines by transforming their websites from "brochure-ware" into "e-commerce ecosystems."

That is the advice of Jeff Chesky, chairman and CEO of Insuritas, a provider of outsourced insurance agencies. He said CUs own the only websites where their households visit their websites an average of seven times per month, every month, to access free online banking services.

"So a credit union, unlike all other website owners around the world, gets constant, repeat web traffic, all for free," he said.

At the same time, Chesky noted, CU members shop, compare and buy products and services online every day. He said online shopping rates are spiraling higher, but lamented that CUs have "failed" to start engineering their web portals into e-commerce environments. As an example of need, he said 71% of Americans report they start their shopping experience for insurance products online.

"Credit unions sell all kinds of insurance solutions to their members, but all of it is distributed through direct mail, statement stuffers, rack brochures or links to third-party sites," he said. "Credit unions must build websites that are e-commerce sites, then demand that any product that they make available to their members must be designed to be shopped, compared and bought online. Many credit union vendors will tell you that you do not need online solutions, or that they are not available. Our suggestion is to fire these vendors. If you do not, your member will fire you."

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