Financial literacy is a must for credit unions – especially during these uncertain times.
There has never been a more critical time for credit unions to educate members about the financial times we’re living in. Job losses continue to rise as most businesses remain closed, which has increased the demand for loan deferrals and forbearances across the board.
Even before the current financial crisis, the statistics were grim:
- Nearly 80 percent of American workers lived paycheck-to-paycheck. (CareerBuilder)
- 44 percent of Americans didn’t have the cash on hand to manage a $400 emergency. (Forbes)
- Nearly 2/3 of Americans are unable to pass a basic financial literacy test. (Fortune)
After the Great Recession, many credit unions across the country developed partnerships with credit counseling companies to help their members. It was a wise move at the time. However, many programs, such as these, are designed for people experiencing hardships – not necessarily for those hoping to improve their financial standing through the wide variety of financial tools credit unions offer.
Starting now, credit unions can be instrumental in aiding their members by offering routine basic financial education. Put these tips in practice to make the most of educating your members during this time.
Be There for Your Members
Right now, you have the opportunity to become an authority on all financial matters for your members. While it is great to share financial content from various sources on social media, you want to be the one offering invaluable advice, information, education, and guidance to your members. You want them to see you as the one with the answers.
This not only helps to boost your credibility; it also improves the lives of your members. Education builds trust. Trust builds loyalty. More importantly, educating your members forms connections with them in ways no other traditional marketing efforts can.
Educating your audience doesn’t “feel” like you’re marketing to them. It completely bypasses their innate filters that tune out advertisements.
While some are under the misguided impression that today’s younger audiences don’t read as much as generations past, that simply isn’t the case. Today’s youth read MORE than any generation before them. And, college attendance is at an all-time high.
What has changed is HOW they read. Think about it:
- Social media posts go viral quickly
- Blogs get shared, and shared, and shared
- Online news sites get read more than paper newspapers
Young people are consuming these as they go about their days, and you have the perfect opportunity to be part of their daily reading.
As a credit union, you’ve been devoted to helping your community from day one. Now, you have the perfect opportunity to utilize your blog and social media to shine and lead the way. Let members know how you are continuing to support local charities and business partners during this crucial time.
Remind your members why credit unions exist. Many may not be aware that credit unions were created to meet the needs of people with modest means in the wake of the Great Depression. Offer them a history lesson about how President Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act in 1934, paving the way for federally-chartered credit unions in all states.
Do’s and Don’ts of Producing Content
You may think educating your members is a burden. It does take time to write articles. You may feel that you’re better with dollars, cents, and other financial matters than with words. But, it’s easier than you think to create great content for your members.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow when creating and publishing content for your members.
- DO post educational content on your blog consistently. Send emails, create informational ads on your online banking platforms, and post the information prominently on your home page. The more places you share your content, the more members will benefit from it.
- DON’T forget to consider companies that offer impressive content already prepared for your credit union that you can use to meet the needs of your members. Our CONTENT Program helps credit unions get their blogs off to an excellent start and keep them going throughout the year.
- DO get your employees involved. Work with staff in each department of your credit union and ask them to write down their most commonly asked questions. Devote a single blog post to each of these questions and even consider writing a new blog post that offers short-form Q&As. You can then link back to the longer post devoted to each question and answer.
- DON’T underestimate the effect of sharing your own content. Your institution should be the source of guidance for your members – the authority on all money matters. Relying too heavily on materials produced by others, such as news sites or other financial institutions, can diminish your credit union’s authority.
Doing things like this allows your credit union to BE MORE to your members. Remember that your content isn’t just about offering information to fill spaces. It’s about providing an invaluable educational service to your members. It is your opportunity to be an authority in your industry.
Right now, members need this guidance, and building confidence in your institution is more important than ever.
Get Started Educating Your Members Today
Member education should always rank at the top of your credit union’s marketing plans – now even more so. At STRATIX, we’ve always been passionate about financial literacy and developed our CONTENT Program to help credit unions build a substantial library of helpful, relevant information your members can put to work today.
If you’re interested in the many ways our program can help you build credibility, educate your members, and boost loyalty, Let’s chat.