PHOENIX-A new product is available for credit unions that its provider says helps members better manage small businesses.

Known as Bode Tree, the product was originally designed as a direct-to-consumer product.

"We really set out to build a finance tool for people who hate finance," said Christopher Myers, Bode Tree co-founder and CEO. "It's designed for the average business owner who doesn't want to dig through the numbers, doesn't have any background in it and, frankly, despises that type of work. Most people didn't get into business to crunch through spreadsheets."

Bode Tree works automatically with QuickBooks to provide analytics tools to business-owners to help them understand business valuations, set goals and create financial reports, among other things.

Myers explained that while the product is available direct to business owners, Bode Tree is reaching out to FIs as a way to spread the word about the product and to help credit unions and banks provide added value for small business members/customers by providing an at-a-glance view of where the business currently stands, past performance, and how future performance is trending. Myers said those features make it easier for CUs to provide the right products at the right time for their members.

"If somebody comes in and wants to talk about opportunities for this business and products that might help them, the relationship manager can get an at-a-glance view of (how the business) compares," he said.

Measuring ROI

Bode Tree retails to individuals for $25 per month or $250 per year, but Myers said the company is making it available to FIs at a discount, with the recommendation that it be a free service offered to members because it can help drive cross-sales opportunities. Bulk sales run between $175 and $225 per license, depending upon how many licenses the institution purchases. There are no additional costs beyond the one-year charge. Bode Tree is customizable to reflect credit union branding.

Myers said that if a CU buys 300 licenses, the investment generally pays for itself after approximately 20 members take out an additional product from the credit union.

"This stuff is a value that credit unions can provide to their members, keep the members engage and it's a huge value differentiator for the CU," said Myers. "They're a financial partner and a real trusted advisor; if the goal is to deepen relationships, then this is the best way to do it."

The only requirement for business owners to use Bode Tree is that they must be QuickBooks users, which Myers says applies to more than 90% of all small business owners in this country.

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