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CO-OP Financial Services Blog: Insight Vault

If I Can Thank You There, I Can Thank You Anywhere

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is saying thank you to Credit Unions for Kids and CO-OP Financial Services in a New York-sized way by running an ad on an enormous electronic billboard in Times Square.

Times Square is Manhattan’s world-famous entertainment district (just ask anyone who lives there), attracting more than 1.5 million per day.

The “Thank you” ad (see artwork below) is running from January 26 through February on the billboard at 1500 Broadway, strategically positioned across from the also world-famous NASDAQ sign.

The CMN Hospitals ad appears one time per hour for five seconds, 20 hours per day (the billboard that serves the city that never sleeps actually goes dark for four hours daily). You can’t miss it – the ad is 29 feet by 56 feet, for a total of 1,624 square feet of eye-popping viewing space.

Credit Unions for Kids, the industry’s philanthropic organization founded in 1996, is now the third largest contributor of funds to CMN Hospitals, which helps children’s hospitals across the country to care for sick children regardless of ability to pay. CO-OP Financial Services contributes $1 million per year to CMN Hospitals annually via matching funds for Credit Unions for Kids fundraisers.

In extending this kind word of thanks from CMN Hospitals, CO-OP answers “You’re very welcome. And we thank you for all you do to provide critical treatments, equipment and charitable care for kids in our communities.”

For credit unions interested in the Miracle Match by CO-OP program, visit

January’s Top 5 Must-Reads for Credit Unions

General / by Senior Manager, Market Analysis

1.  Top 10 Trends and Predictions for 2015

The Financial Brand’s Top 10 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions for 2015 have been crowdsourced from more than 60 global financial services leaders including bankers, credit union executives, industry analysts, advisors, bloggers and fintech followers.

2.  6 Ways Mobile Invaded the ATM

They aren’t the most obvious pairing, but ATM and mobile sometimes work together with experience-enhancing results.

3.  Customer Analytics Are the Key to Growth

We’ve all heard about big data, but it’s far less common to see a well-constructed, detailed case for the use of analytics in credit unions: “[Analytics can help] financial marketers extract more value from internal and external data sources, guiding product development, customer communication, innovation and growth.”

4.  Mobile Payments Reach a Tipping Point

Deloitte forecasts an eye-popping 1000 percent growth for mobile payments in 2015. Will NFC-enabled transactions finally reach their tipping point?

5.  No Longer Hip to Be Square?

PayPal Here is PayPal’s answer to Square. Will it knock out the competition? Although EMV is conspicuously absent from this “new” product, it’s a nicely integrated POS solution that appears to go further than Square. Was that a PayPal debit card at the end of the video?

Don’t Wait to Integrate

General / by Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

Let 2015 be the year you integrate. You know why:

Your members are all over the place. They’re online. They’re on mobile. They’re at the ATM. They have 12 different passwords, none of which are easy to recall or type.

Your systems need to work together. How many times a day do you regret not being able to fulfill a request because your systems don’t connect?

You aren’t finished upgrading your technology. Think you’ll be able to get everything working together by next month? Great, except that once everything is up and running you’ll have to add new apps, upgrade software or sync up with Apple’s new iWatch.

You want to go fast. One of the primary values of integrated technology is speed. You access information or add upgrades quickly. And your members experience transactions and updates at the lightning speed they’ve come to expect.

Admittedly, integration hasn’t always been the easiest issue to tackle. Credit unions that have patchworked systems together over time now find themselves in a bit of a tangle. But given the pace of change and an ever-accelerating need for speed, integration must be a high priority.

As CO-OP moves into 2015, continuing integration is at the top of our to-do list. Look for integration to make everything better, from the process of adding new mobile functionality to the possibilities for an enhanced member experience across channels. Integration makes your big data efforts bigger, your new technology launches simpler, and your ability to adapt to changing times greater – and that’s big news for members and for you.

This is the year you get it together.

What Kind of Millennial Are You? See CO-OP Credit Unions Blog

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

As CO-OP’s “Empowering People. Amplifying Dreams” initiative enters 2015, we have introduced a new blog focusing on financial literacy, and we continue to add to our “People Like You” profiles of Millennial credit union members.

Empowering People. Amplifying Dreams is an integrated content marketing and social media campaign developed on behalf of our clients to help consumers – especially Millennials – better understand how credit unions empower individuals to achieve their financial goals.

The new blog – launched in December – focuses on the “how-to’s” of establishing a long-term, secure financial future. This includes education on the products and services of credit unions as well as on the mission and values of the entire movement.

The Empowering People. Amplifying Dreams website at serves as the initiative’s content hub, and provides convenient access to the CO-OP Credit Unions Twitter feed –@innovatebanking – in addition to icons leading to Facebook and Tumblr.

Here’s the blog entries that have appeared so far in 2015 at CO-OP Credit Unions. You might start with finding out “What Kind of Millennial Are You?” – even if you were born before 1980!

How Entrepreneurial Are You?

Why Our Money Situation Is…Meh.

Use Credit Wisely. Expand Your Opportunities.

What Kind of Millennial Are You?

7 Habits of Highly Successful Savers.

In addition to the blog, our library of “People Like You” profiles has reached 10 stories. The latest entries highlight two more Millennials, an entrepreneur and educator (Howard Stevenson) and a business owner who comes “from a family of entrepreneurs” (John Sloan). You can read about them and the eight others at “People Like You”:

Howard Stevenson, Forum Credit Union, Indianapolis, Indiana

John Sloan, Delta Community Credit Union, Atlanta, Georgia

Time to Develop Real-Time?

General / by Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

Let’s just say it: Faster is better. And better still, 2015 may be the year for real-time payments. According to The Fed, 69 percent of consumers and 75 percent of business payees already want accelerated payments. Intuitively, those numbers seem conservative. Given a choice, who wouldn’t want their payments to post instantly?

Beyond the obvious consumer demand, though, there are market forces driving fast adoption of real-time payments.

  • The Fed is looking to speed up the ACH process. Though the Fed is admittedly not known for rapid technology rollout, it is exploring the feasibility of a faster payments system. When and if this materializes, look for expectations to accelerate across the board. 
  • Mobile payments are gaining traction. Though new products like Apple Pay speak to user experience more than fast payment settlement, the adoption of mobile payments is going to create an expectation of speed. Consumers don’t wait three days for a Tweet to post: They aren’t going want to wait three days for their payments to settle. 
  • Real-time options are hitting the market. Look for a growing number of real-time options in 2015, including CO-OP’s new person-to-person payments network called RealPay by CO-OP, due out later this quarter. 

For credit unions, the real speed challenge is implementation. Faster payments are possible – or at least soon to be possible. How do you get them up and running while the opportunity is hot?

Integration is key. If you want to get on board in 2015, you need an option that works with your existing infrastructure – and won’t create a Fed-style delay while you sort out the working pieces. Credit unions should also consider the value of “owning” transactions. Disruptive tech companies and anti-interchange merchants are bound to promote solutions that benefit themselves.

Credit: New and Ready to Grow?

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

On the face of it, credit cards haven’t changed much since their introduction decades ago. Plastic cards are so familiar that they’re iconic. But the inner workings of the credit cards issued by CO-OP’s credit processing clients have changed dramatically in the past 12 months. New options make the credit experience more secure, powerful, flexible and rewarding. If you’re hoping to make credit a growth area this year, offering a new experience may be the differentiator you’re looking for.

Sound like too much to ask of a little plastic card? Consider the developments:

EMV: Cards embedded with EMV chips are now available to clients who use CO-OP in-house credit processing and CO-OP full-service credit processing through The Members Group. EMV-enabled cards improve security on card-present transactions, making them a popular option for members and a money-saver for credit unions.

LEARN MORE at CO-OP’s EMV Resource Center.

Apple Pay and Tokenization: This was a late entry and a surprise to boot. When Apple announced its new tokenization-driven mobile payments app in September of last year, credit unions wondered how they’d ever get on board. It’s happening now. CO-OP is an engaged issuer-processor for Apple Pay and Visa, which means CO-OP can directly facilitate tokenization service and Apple Pay enrollment for credit processing clients. CO-OP is also helping credit clients get up and running with MasterCard’s tokenization service for Apple Pay participation.

LEARN MORE at CO-OP’s Tokenization Resource Center.

CardNav Card Controls and Alerts: What transforms an ordinary plastic card into a dynamic money management tool? CardNav card controls and alerts enable cardholders to secure, track and manage their card accounts from their mobile devices. It’s not the individual actions that make CardNav transformative – though the ability to turn cards on and off or set spending limits by category are breakthrough – it’s the overall experience that changes the game.

LEARN MORE about CardNav under Solutions/Card Payments at

CO-OP Mobile Rewards: Rewards are not new this year, but the CO-OP Mobile Rewards App is. In the same way mobile card controls and alerts change the cardholder experience from passive to interactive, mobile rewards make incentives more usable, trackable and desirable.

LEARN MORE about CO-OP Mobile Rewards under Solutions/Card Payments at

What’s most interesting about these four developments is that they all materialized during the last year. One year ago today it was impossible to foresee what January 2015 would bring. In fact, what it brings is a substantially different card experience. The cards you issue today may look largely the same as the ones you would have mailed last January. But the security they offer – in person, virtually, and interactively by mobile device – is light years ahead. This year’s cards are mobile-ready, whether members want to redeem their rewards on their smartphones or do a little budgeting with their CardNav apps. It’s a whole new card game for a brand new year.

Does Fast + Brilliant = You?

General / by Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

You can’t solve all of life’s problems using your smartphone. But you can use the Krispy Kreme Hot Light app to receive alerts whenever your nearest location has hot glazed doughnuts on the line.

Think of this as a metaphor for the modern consumer experience. The problems that dog you every day – large, small, and some you never even knew you had – are being transformed by technology. Challenges that once called for laborious searching, painstaking organization or a cosmopolitan savvy are now solved instantly and brilliantly on mobile technology. What do app-oriented Millennials and the rest of our app-obssessed culture want? Fast + brilliant.

What does fast + brilliant look like?

(Click on image below to view the full infographic.)

What’s Member Education Worth?

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Ernst & Young’s “Global Consumer Banking Survey 2014” asked how financial institutions could inspire customers to increase deposits or investments, add more accounts or services, or pay a little more. The top three answers:

73% – Invest in their customers’ financial wellbeing

72% – Provide a plan to help customers reach their financial goals

71% – Find new ways to improve how customers conduct business

Should you be investing more seriously in member education? If member engagement and loyalty are important to you, then member education is gold. In its many forms, education encourages members to adopt and use new products and technology, increases financial literacy, deepens and personalizes member relationships, and extends your “people helping people” ethos in a real, meaningful way.

Better still, member education aligns with the credit union mission at its very core. Outstanding member education is you at your essential best, helping members achieve their financial dreams.

The challenge in 2015 is relevance. If your member education is to have impact – especially with Millennials – it must be current. Some questions to consider:

  • Are you using the best media to communicate simply and effectively about new products and technology?
  • Is your financial education message in line with current reality, particularly for student loan-laden, nontraditional Gen Y members?
  • How do you connect members and prospective members with educational messaging, so that they find these tools and engage?
  • Can your credit union do a better job of building an advisory relationship than the competition can? 

As CO-OP has ramped up the development and introduction of new products, and as we’ve taken on the challenge of reaching out to consumers with information on financial wellbeing, it’s become increasingly clear that education is the link between the present and a robust future for credit unions. The better we are at member education, the better we’ll do.

To this end, CO-OP is hosting a live webinar, “Teachable Moments: Millennials, CUs and Consumer Education,” on Wednesday, January 28 at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern. Senior Manager of Market Analysis Ryan Zilker will host credit union strategy consultant Dr. Brandi Stankovic and Elevations Credit Union’s Vice President of Operations Gary Kindle in an interactive discussion on the need for relevant member education, new strategies and tactics for success, how credit unions are excelling in this space, and how every credit union can deliver on the promise of helping members improve their knowledge.

This webinar is free. To register now for “Teachable Moments: Millennials, CUs and Consumer Education,” click here.

New in 2015: Experience Counts

General / by Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

A Top 10 of Credit Union Benefits from MillennialsWelcome to a new year! We’re kicking off our 2015 coverage with “then and now” comparisons on hot topics for credit unions. First up: Member experience.

If you scroll back to last January, you’ll see that the industry was abuzz about member experience in early 2014. What’s changed for 2015? If anything, credit unions are even more sanguine on the subject. That’s with good reason:

  • In Ernst & Young’s 2014 Global Consumer Banking Survey, 32,000 customers worldwide selected “the way I am treated” as the second most important reason for trusting their financial institution. Only “financial stability” ranked higher. 
  • Customer experience was the most common reason for opening and closing accounts – more so than fees, rates, locations and convenience – according to Ernst & Young. 
  • In a recent Gartner survey on marketing and customer experience, 89 percent of companies expected to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience by 2016, versus 36 percent four years ago. 
  • By 2017, Gartner says, 50 percent of consumer product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations. 

Credit unions aren’t lagging in customer experience. In fact, Forrester’s 2014 Customer Experience Index showed credit unions rated second only to USAA in customer experience – well ahead of the big banks. Yet, there are significant challenges ahead that may change the conversation in 2015.

First, the “omnichannel experience” that headlined January 2014 has moved from the front page into everyday life. It’s news to no one that we are a mobile culture – 83 percent of 18 to 24 year-olds own a smartphone. But the extent to which our lives play out on alternate channels is remarkable. In 2014, consumers got their first taste of Apple Pay. They bought Kindles equipped with “mayday buttons” that connected them with live support anytime, anywhere (no surprise: Kindle ranked number one overall in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index for the year).

Credit unions were introduced to a few member experience innovations as well. With CardNav by CO-OP, members learned to “remote control” their payment cards, turning them on and off for security purposes and setting budgeting limits that turned their cards into financial management tools. Real-time P2P payments made their debut as part of Sprig by CO-OP, turning a frequent source of frustration – slow payments – into a real point of differentiation for users.

Where do we go in 2015?

No question, customer experience is making giant strides both inside and outside the credit union industry. Not only is the experience more technologically capable, but it’s also more integrated and personalized.

Expect to see new technology that’s easy to add, easy to use and more integrated for a frustration-free member experience. Look for new ideas around member education, because making a connection with members around their financial issues and goals is a key builder of trust. And get ready for a re-emergence of personal service as part of the overall credit union experience.

Last January, we heralded a new era of member experience. This year that focus hasn’t changed, but the definition of an excellent member experience has. Today, omnichannel encompasses the best technology, surefooted operations, personalized service and the human touch. It’s good news for members, but also for credit unions. This can be your year.

Top 10 Posts of 2014

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Top 10 Posts of 2014It was an amazing year. Insight Vault began the year with the intention of covering news, trends, products, opinions and industry sentiments – a tall order. But no one anticipated the whirlwind that was 2014. The 125 posts published on this blog in 2014 catalog a year of rapid change, exciting growth and many surprises.

With 2014 at a close, here’s a look back at the top 10 posts on Insight Vault for the year:

1.  4 More Questions You Aren’t Asking about EMV


2.  Will Tokenization Eat EMV’s Lunch?


3.  A Top 10 of Credit Union Benefits from Millennials


4.  6 Must-Reads for Credit Unions


5.  Top 5 Must-Reads for Credit Unions


6.  “Network News” on EMV


7.  Did Apple Create a Tokenization Crisis?


8.  Does EMV Use Tokenization? Your Questions Answered


9.  Mobile Wallets: Hurry or Wait?


10.  Top 10 Must-Reads on “Empowering People, Amplifying Dreams”