If you’re a credit union, you need loans. There’s no question about that. However, chances are pretty good that your credit union is not making as many loans as it needs to. If that is the case, you’re not alone.
It seems that everywhere I go to present or speak at a conference, meeting, or workshop, the one glaring difficulty that I hear about most is that credit unions are not achieving their goals when it comes to loan numbers. I wish there was a magic bullet that would help improve the situation. But there isn’t.
That being the case, there are things you can try to get more loans. I think that one of the mistakes credit unions make is that they advertise their loan products thinking only of how it will benefit the credit union. Obviously, credit union management is worried about the bottom line and their quarterly financial reports. That’s understandable. But the tips I am about to share will hopefully help your credit unions to connect emotionally with your members or potential members. People act as their emotions dictate.
So here goes:
1. Be blunt. Tell people that your credit union has money to lend. – Unfortunately, the majority of stories in the newspapers and on TV are highlighting the fact that big banks are sitting on wads of cash right now. They are unwilling to lend it out. Credit unions need to grab the nearest megaphone and let people know that they are different. Credit unions have money to lend and WILL actually lend it out! Tell people exactly how much money you have to lend out. That’s right – put a number on it. Doing so will create curiosity and hope on the part of your members and potential members. They’ll think – “maybe there is someone who is willing to help.”
2. Put a loan calculator front and center on your website. Then, tell people that it is there. There are a lot of vendors that can provide credit unions with a loan calculator. Give folks a tool where they can input some basic information and will be able to see, touch, and feel a precise calculation of how much they will save by moving their loans, credit card balances, mortgages, etc. to the credit union. And it’s not enough to just put the calculator on the website. You have to put it on your homepage. If people have to search for it, they will not use it. What if you have no room on your homepage? Relegate something to another part of the website. In other words, find room! And think about it – since loans are so important, why would you not put the calculator front and center? And once you get the calculator up and running, send out a mass e-mail to your members telling them about it. Put it in your next newsletter. Take ads out in local newspapers or radio to let potential members know about it. Offer a free demo webinar or something similar. When people see how much they can save, your loan numbers will hopefully skyrocket!
3. Train Your Staff – A lot of loan opportunities are lost because MSR’s, tellers, and loan officers do not know how to recognize an opportunity, cross-sell it properly, and close the deal. Your front-line staff members should be looking for every possible opportunity to move loans to the credit union. Your members have accounts elsewhere. Many of them are credit accounts. Your rates are better. These loans should be moved. But why aren’t they? Chances are that some of your staff members are either not sure how to cross-sell or are unwilling to do it. In either case, you need to take action! Help your staff to become passionate about growing the credit union. Show them exactly how more loans will help in this regard. Show them the numbers and see what happens.
These are just a couple of suggestions. I’m sure that you may have more tips. Please share them by commenting on this post and sharing the post with your colleagues and contacts!
In the meantime, Happy Lending!