The Official CO-OP Financial Services Blog

CO-OP Financial Services Blog: Insight Vault

‘Empowering People’ On-Stage and Beyond

General, Uncategorized / by Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

‘Empowering People’ On-Stage and BeyondSince CO-OP Financial Services launched “Empowering People. Amplifying Dreams” at THINK 14, the great credit union story is being told to younger consumers from the concert stage, through social media channels and beyond. Here’s a campaign update!

Daria’s Hangiversary Concert

We hope you were able to attend the July 16 Daria Musk “Hangoutiversary” concert sponsored by CO-OP. If you missed it, we will be promoting five more in the coming months. And, you can also relive a portion of the powerful May 21 New Orleans House of Blues show here (as captured by Scott Patterson, Vice President of Analytics and New Business at Callahan & Associates).

Webinar Details Opportunities

Likewise, if you missed our July 10 webinar on how your credit union can get involved in the campaign, you can download a PDF or view the webinar via the (free) sign-in page here.

People Like You

A key campaign component is our website,, which is designed to tell consumers more about the advantages of credit union membership. The website focuses on the Millennial generation’s specific challenges and illustrates how credit unions provide the products and services that not only meet their challenges, but enhance their lives as a result.

We are building up quite a library of very personal stories of Gen Ys being helped in their life journey by credit unions. Visit People Like You to read six such testimonials, including three just added: Arianne Schumacher, Andrew Folkner and Kyle Coleman. More are in the pipleline!

Find a Credit Union

Of course, we make sure consumers can act immediately to find the credit union that is right for them – yours, for instance. A “Find a Credit Union” link is offered at both the top right and bottom left of the website home page.

You Tube, Twitter and Tumblr

We’re also building a library of videos to promote credit unions, featuring campaign spokesperson Daria Musk. The four videos can be found on our campaign You Tube channel.

“Innovative Banking” is also the theme of our content aggregation blogs at Twitter and Tumblr.

In the News

Daria Musk and two other “People Like You” (Dee Collier and Andrew Folkner) speak out in Credit Union Times on what they are looking for in their credit union.

Looking for some tips on how to attract young people to your credit union? A recent story in The Financial Brand spotlights three CO-OP client credit unions that are finding success – BECU, Georgia’s Own CU and Redwood CU.

CO-OP’s report on “Unlocking the Millennial Mystery” was also detailed last month in Credit Union Management magazine.

Our consumer outreach to Gen Ys specifically is giving us the opportunity to tell business publications about how credit unions can help small business owners as well. See the story in Entrepreneur.

Keeping up with the latest technology is essential for attracting younger consumers. What to do about digital wallets? CO-OP had the opportunity to write an OP-ED for Credit Union Times last week. Read it here.

We will continue to keep you updated on our progress.

4 Questions You Aren’t Asking About EMV

General / by Senior Product Manager

4 Questions You Aren’t Asking About EMVIt’s hard to have all the answers about EMV. In fact, sometimes it’s even hard to pose all the right questions. If you haven’t asked the following questions yet – or you haven’t asked them of the right people – here are four queries you might want to post:

1. Aren’t we EMV-ready for debit yet?

We’ve made tremendous progress: We’re nearly there. In fact, CO-OP Financial Services has the systems in place, and we’re helping clients kick off their planning in hopes that we’ll all be ready to roll out soon. Until all of the terminal issues have been resolved so that they work to your satisfaction, however, we think it’s better to go slow.

2. Will it kill us to move now?

No. But because critical terminal issues are still being hammered out, you run the risk of having transactions route in unexpected ways, possibly affecting your profitability. We also expect certifications costs to come down in the near future. Our advice is to wait until details are solidified – another six months to a year – for actual rollout.

3. Will EMV affect our debit-related revenue?

Quite possibly, yes – especially as terminal and network issues unfold. For example, suppose you issue a Visa debit card now, with the Visa common AID. A card is used with a PIN at a terminal that is enabled for EMV, but doesn’t yet have the logic to choose the common AID. That transaction will be routed to Visa, as a PAVD transaction, and not a regional network. This could affect your revenue/expense on that transaction.

4. How long will it take for network and terminal “issues” to resolve?

Industry insiders say to expect some disruption for two or three years. As networks and endpoints work to complete certification, some transactions may not be able to be completed as expected. The industry is testing for 90 percent of the possible scenarios, but with multiple changing players involved in every transaction, it is expected that during this transition period that there will be some bumps. Hang on.

Need to know more about debit and EMV? Join CO-OP for a live Q&A webinar, “EMV: Moving Forward on Debit,” with EMV expert Michelle Thornton: Thursday, July 31 at 2 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Pacific. Register now.

Look for more questions and answers about EMV next week on Insight Vault.

Cards With Benefits: Are You Keeping Them Secret?

General / by Vice President, Credit Issuer Processing

Cards With Benefits: Are You Keeping Them Secret?Card benefits may be one of today’s best-kept secrets with cardholders, and even some card issuers are unaware of the benefits automatically provided on MasterCard and Visa card accounts. Consumers are hyper-aware of data breaches and the concern about card safety has recently escalated. It is important to educate yourself as well as remind your members that credit and debit cards offer valuable protection services, and that their credit union has international brand support behind the cards they issue.

Fraud Protection and Cardholder Support

All MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards provide zero liability to cardholders, as long as the cardholder exercises reasonable care in safeguarding their card and remains in good standing. All issuers are required to provide 24/7 cardholder servicing via telephone for lost and stolen card reporting, emergency card replacement and cash advance services.

Circumstances that make these services valuable are never planned, but when the credit union is the source of support and good news, a bad situation can end up being a great relationship builder between members and their credit unions. While card users should use their cards responsibly by keeping track of their card and the purchases made with it, using a credit or debit card is the most convenient and safe means for making everyday payment transactions.

Benefit Enhancements

Over the last year, MasterCard and Visa have enhanced benefits for all cards, improving consumer appeal.

Now, all MasterCard Credit product types are automatically provided with these core MasterCard-funded benefits: price protection, extended warranty and identity theft resolution services with wallet protection.

MasterCard Enhanced Debit cards also have added core MasterCard-funded benefits, including price protection, extended warranty and satisfaction guarantee.

All Visa Credit consumer product types are automatically enrolled in Visa-funded auto rental collision damage waiver insurance. This is an extremely convenient and valuable benefit to members who travel and rent cars, saving them dollars per day.

Do Your Members Know?

Certain disclosures must be provided to cardholders, and CO-OP Financial Services can help you with that process. Be sure to frequently remind your cardholders that the cards you issue have these benefits. Marketing messages on statements, websites and other printed materials will encourage your members to reach for their credit union card for payment and peace of mind.

For Your Consideration

To differentiate your card program and make it more appealing to a particular consumer segment, you may want to convert your standard MasterCard Debit cardholders to Enhanced Debit (there is no need to reissue cards or account numbers!) and also consider adding customized benefits related to retail shopping value or travel.

Many benefits are available for your selection from MasterCard and Visa, and CO-OP can help you evaluate benefits and pricing, as well as support you with enrollment and cardholder notification. Ask your CO-OP representative for more details.

CO-OP, TMG Marking Partnership Milestones

General / by President/CEO

CO-OP, TMG Marking Partnership MilestonesToday is the first full day of programming for the 2014 TMG Executive Summit, which runs through tomorrow in Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Last night I had the opportunity to make some opening remarks during the conference’s Welcome reception. Now is a good time to reflect on the two and one-half years since we invested in The Members Group and formed our “Leaders in Innovation” strategic relationship.

This partnership combines the strengths of the two companies to deliver the industry’s largest array of cutting-edge payment solutions for credit unions, full-service credit processing chief among them. Together, CO-OP and TMG service about half of all credit unions in the United States.

We inaugurated the partnership in January 2012, and it was a natural fit:

  • Both companies are credit union–owned;
  • Both conduct business with the same people-helping people philosophy of the credit union movement; and
  • We share the same perspectives on how to service and create long-term relationships with clients.

The CO-OP-TMG partnership has led to contract wins with two of the top 10 credit card-issuing credit unions in the U.S., along with many other new agreements in the past 12 months.

Since the formation of the partnership, we have been able to offer the credit union movement:

  • Full-service credit card processing via TMG.
  • Springboard integration that allows full-service credit union clients of both CO-OP and TMG to have a single point of access to credit and debit reports, and a single view into credit and debit programs.
  • In-house credit card processing using CO-OP’s debit rails.

With our partnership with TMG, CO-OP is truly the one-stop shop for credit union credit and debit processing. We are able to provide credit unions with a single point of entry to the most innovative, tailored, cost-effective products and services. Combined, both companies offer the best processing platform for each client’s unique needs. And, we provide a scale of processing that is second to none.

We certainly look forward to working with TMG and all our client credit unions to offer their members the most advanced and convenient-to-use services of any financial institution.

Top 10 Must Reads from CO-OP

General / by Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

710Reads CO-OP Financial Services is making news – from new business partnerships to outreach to Gen Y consumers – and offering its perspective in the pages of trade journals on leading industry issues. Here’s a recent “Top 10” of articles that have included CO-OP in their coverage.

WVLSC, CO-OP Enter ATM Network Partnering Agreement (ATM Marketplace, June 26, 2014)

A Remote for Your Mobile Payment App (Transaction World Magazine, July 2014)

Member Business Banking and Shared Branches (CUES Sky Box, June 30, 2014)

Juggling Delivery Strategies (Credit Union Management Magazine, July 2014)

CO-OP Study Focuses on ‘Unlocking the Millennial Mystery’ (Credit Union Management, June 24, 2014)

Ferraro Now CO-OP Chairman (Credit Union Times, June 13, 2014)

Elevations Credit Union Enhances Service With New ATM (Credit Union Management Magazine, June 16, 2014)

CO-OP Partners With SFS in Kansas (CUNA News Now, June 19, 2014)

Financial Technologies Evolve and Advance (Credit Union Management, June 10, 2014)

Gen Y Success (Credit Union Management Magazine, June 6, 2014)

Is Your Member Experience Giving Them Life?

General / by Vice President, Marketing

Is Your Member Experience Giving Them Life?How do members experience your credit union in real life?

Here’s a video showing a day in the life of Rick, a fictional credit union member, whose credit union provides the access he needs to pay bills and friends on the fly, do transactions via shared branching and ATM, handle remote deposits and card security, and even flash a photo of his beloved pup when he pays by credit card. Like the millions of members who actually use CO-OP technology and services, Rick isn’t visiting his credit union only at the branch. He’s engaging with his credit union throughout the day, every day.

When you take a moment to visualize your credit union’s member experience as it really plays out, it’s possible to see both the challenge and the opportunity. Once upon a time, offering a pleasant, personalized branch experience was everything. Now you must connect at multiple points – and the quality of those connections equals your experience.

For the team at CO-OP Financial Services, building and improving those connections has become a near obsession, and for one good reason. When you look at a day in the life of your typical member, you should see clearly all the ways your credit union’s technology and services are making it a very good day.

Are Fast Payments Fast Enough?

General / by Vice President, Marketing

Are Fast Payments Fast Enough?As you can see in the video above, the newly revamped Sprig by CO-OP is here – and with it, the ability for credit unions to participate in a real-time payments network.

What does that mean? Although the term “real-time payments network” seems self-explanatory, the idea is so foreign to most that it’s natural to do a double take. When members make payments using the Sprig by CO-OP app, the money is available in real time. Immediately. They can see it in mobile banking, and they can spend it – right away.

When the Fed surveyed business and consumer payees last year about their preferences for payment speed, 75 percent of business payees and 69 percent of consumer payees preferred “instant” or “one-hour” payments. Yet, these preferences aren’t a reality for most consumers or businesses. The Fed has launched a faster payments initiative, designed to explore the creation of a real-time payments network in the U.S.

But the exploration process is only beginning. And fast payments aren’t truly fast if they can’t be implemented for another five or ten years.

Though we see many real benefits to CO-OP’s new real-time payments network, perhaps the most compelling one is that it’s available now. That’s important, because “now” is when consumers want speedy transactions. “Now” is when people want to be paid. “Now” is when the millions of people who conduct every kind of business instantaneously all day long expect to be able to make real-time payments.

Changes to the payments system happen slowly. Adoption of EMV technology – already decades in the works – is unfolding gradually. Digital wallets have been the next big thing for years, but actual usage is sporadic at best. Here is an improvement that consumers and businesses already want, and technology that you can put to work now. It’s not enough just to move toward faster transactions. If you believe your members want real-time payments now, you have to go fast.

Register now for a live CO-OP webinar, “A Network of Now! Payments in Real Time,” Wednesday, July 9 at 11:00 Pacific/2:00 Eastern. More information here.

Ready for a National Brand?

General / by Vice President, Marketing

Ready for a National Brand?We hear it all the time: You probably do, too. Credit unions shouldn’t be the best-kept secret in financial services. But if they’re going to break the consumer awareness barrier, credit unions need a national brand.

Get ready to take on the challenge. CO-OP has launched a new consumer website,, designed to raise consumer awareness and elevate the credit union brand. We tell the credit union story, introduce the lifelong benefits of membership and provide individual credit unions with the opportunity to connect with new members.

And that’s just the beginning. CO-OP’s “Empowering People. Amplifying Dreams.” campaign also includes ready-made marketing materials to help consumers make the switch to your credit union.

Want to know more? Join CO-OP team members and indy musician/campaign spokesperson Daria Musk for a live webinar that takes you step by step through CO-OP’s new consumer initiative and helps you identify and overcome the challenges connected with raising consumer awareness.

CO-OP Live Webinar
Empowering People. Amplifying Dreams. Building a National Brand of CO-OP Credit Unions
Thursday, July 10
11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern

Register Now:

Top 5 Mobile Must-Reads

General / by Senior Manager, Market Analysis

Top 5 Mobile Must-Reads As we’ve been preparing to launch the newly-upgraded Sprig by CO-OP, news from the world of mobile payments has been dominating our news feed. Here are our top five recent must-reads for credit unions with mobile on their minds:

6 Reasons Why the iPhone 6 Will Include Payments

Everyone inside and outside the payments space wants to know whether or not the iPhone 6 will be payment-capable. Why does it matter? I believe Apple will be pivotal in setting the stage for mobile payments across the board.

The most awesome-est mobile banking app

If you haven’t upgraded your mobile app in recent memory, you might not be the most awesome-est. Tween-speak aside, a credit union mobile banking veteran looks at apps and strategy from the perspective of an enthusiastic user – and urges readers to do the same.

The evolution of money: 5 mobile banking apps you should get to know

Here’s a look at the best mobile banking apps as judged by commentarian Ian Fergusson from the London-based social media marketing firm Tug. Fergusson also offers insights into what makes a great mobile app and how social media might play into the mix.

The Mobile Hub of Gen Y’s Omni-Channel Banking Behavior

Think the mobile card is overplayed in the trade press? This article explains why there simply is no such thing: Any bank or credit union that wants to win Gen Y consumers had better build a mobile-centric strategy or they will likely fall short.

PayPal President David Marcus Leaves for Facebook Job

There’s been a lot of speculation in the press about what Marcus’ job change could mean for Facebook and payments. Most signs point to Facebook making a payments play: Now we have to wait and see what it will look like.

Elevations CU Enhances Service with NextGen ATM by CO-OP

General / by Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Elevations CU Enhances Service with CO-OP NextGen ATM - See more at: 2012 Elevations Credit Union of Boulder, Colo., conducted a study and found just how popular the unique credit union benefit of shared branching really is – more than 200,000 shared branching guest members were making transactions at its 10 branches every year. Add to this the annual number of transactions made by its own members and it translated to quite a bit of in-branch, staff-related activity.

“When we discovered NextGen ATM by CO-OP, we knew we had found a way to leverage our technology investment to increase productivity and provide both our own members and shared branching members an enhanced self-service experience,” said Gary Kindle, Vice President of Operations.

Elevations went live in September 2013 with the NextGen ATM by CO-OP software on one machine for a three-week test. The credit union was so impressed with the results that it rolled out one ATM at a time until all 32 locations were up and running with NextGen ATM by CO-OP in early December 2013.

Shifting the bulk of transactions from human tellers to ATMs meant more time for branch staff to focus on more complex financial transactions and lending. Enhanced capabilities at the ATM also meant their own members had access to new features such as making loan and credit card payments that they had never had before.

“The NextGen ATM by CO-OP lets Elevations expand our reach, while offering new 24/7 self-service capabilities to our own members and visitors from other credit unions,” said Kindle. “This higher self-service standard leverages the infrastructure of one of our most important delivery channels, our ATMs.”

NextGen ATM by CO-OP is an industry first, allowing CO-OP credit unions to offer members the opportunity to select the shared branching option to access all of their credit union accounts, not just those linked to their card as with standard ATM transactions.

You can learn more about NextGen ATM by CO-OP here, and you can download the full case study on Elevations’ experience with the product here.