BERKLEY, Calif.-Facebook as a lending platform?

One company that has developed just such a solution for Facebook says yes. And it is working with a number of credit unions to do just that.

Shastic has rolled out Calcubot, a social loan calculator for Facebook, that allows credit unions to better engage with potential loan applicants. Credit unions ranging from $3.8-billion Patelco CU, Pleasanton, Calif., to $39-million Members First Community CU, Quincy, Ill. are using the solution from Shastic, which expanded its client base by 66% in Q1, adding financial institutions totaling $11.2 billion is assets.

CEO Joseariel Gomez will be presenting at Credit Union Journal's Grow Show, May 29-31 in Orlando.

"We created the first social loan calculator on Facebook for credit unions," said Gomez. "It debuted last summer and has been very successful. It allows credit unions to really leverage Facebook and engage with their members, rather than just posting. It allows them to generate loans."

Calcubot can be used to get estimates for mortgages and car loans, Gomez said it is "very intuitive, and affordable" at $99 per month for one, $198 for both.

"Calcubot is an application for Facebook that looks like a loan calculator, and it increases engagement," he explained. "It provides value to someone who is looking for a loan."

Gomez said CUs place Calcubot on their Facebook pages where it can be shared with friends so they can give advice. It can be "liked," which places it on users' news feeds and thereby "leverages the Facebook community to promote the credit union's lending programs."

Calcubot can be set to notify members who have used the application when a special loan rate is available, he added.

According to Gomez, the application has had strong usage metrics. In the last 45 days, 83.6% of users who accessed Calcubot completed an estimate. Of users who obtained an estimate, 17.3% clicked on the "apply now" button to fill out an application. Mortgages represent 50.6% of traffic, with auto loans taking 49.4%.


Part Of Daily Conversations

After working with a number of credit unions, Gomez said he and the Shastic team realized the way Facebook has penetrated the daily conversations people have.

"Although there is some skepticism about Facebook, it is a very important platform," he said. "We studied Facebook pages of credit unions and concluded they are not using their pages to their full potential. Because Facebook is a part of peoples' lives, the vision is the credit union's Facebook page should be driving conversations about financial topics. People spend a lot of time on social networks, so leveraging social media turns members into advocates."



Session: Is There Something To 'Like' In Making Loans Via Facebook?

Speaker: Joseariel Gomez

Focus: Learn how credit unions are using Facebook as a way to generate new loans.

What: CU Journal Grow Show

Where: Ritz Carlton, Orlando

When: May 29-31

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