As credit unions continue to experience double digit growth, the value proposition the credit union has to its members will be paramount to sustain this. Partnering with the right vendor allows the credit union to remain competitive. An infusion of new capabilities from a vendor, which did not exist before, will keep members interested while opening new markets. Without spending huge resources, vendor relationships can accomplish everything from initial research to product launches. 

After reviewing areas of potential growth in your credit union, spend time on the most effective ways to create these alliances. Often the answers to penetrating new markets are closer than realized. There is an abundance of information in trade journal articles, industry conferences and online. Getting to know a vendor that may be a good fit for the organization can be done through webinars and meetings at trade shows – a low-cost approach, but nonetheless worthwhile. Some of Groovecar’s long-standing clients have been a result of a webinar or chance meeting at a tradeshow. 

 

The vendor relationship plays an important role when analyzing growth initiatives because they are entrenched in a market segment. This relationship is meant to benefit your members and your bottom line. When a company looks to hire for a new position, areas where the company or department is lacking are the qualifications most sought after. The same is true with vendor relationships: Where is the growth potential and how can that area best be filled to go after that market?

 Vendors have the resources to fully penetrate a market through product lines that have been developed through trial and error. Learn from their mistakes so you don’t repeat them. The resources necessary to completely immerse into a new market may be cost prohibitive. With a vendor that is fully established, your market entry may be just a phone call away. Looking at real life scenarios, take the top tiers of loan growth that need attention: Are there opportunities to grow from within? Or can this be accomplished through outsourcing?

A principal concern many credit unions have is how best to keep the member engaged and coming back for more. Will the vendor be sensitive to this need? This question revolves around the value-added services for the member, offering products that move beyond the basics of savings and loans. Reviewing market opportunities will provide a road map of where to target efforts. Currently, the areas of greatest growth potential for 2015 can be found in mortgage originations and auto lending, according to Callahan & Associates. As a credit union, what is the best way to capture a member in the market for these services? An example of this is auto leasing, once only available through larger institutions. Leasing products, available through vendors, have increased auto loan growth for credit unions and provided members with options.

In a changing business landscape, vendors can fill the information gap and become a valuable resource. Capturing member interest and providing the resources to engage in target markets is just one of their specialties. As an online resource to credit unions, our services don’t stop there – full support is provided to clients that cover marketing needs, technical concerns, research, analytics, product support and market guidance. Vendors embrace this role as the source of information to the credit union. The research has been done, we have both feet in the game; we fully expect our expertise to be taken advantage of.

There is nothing more fulfilling than watching an idea spark into a flame. Vendors will deliver that excitement when entering a new market. As interest in loan products grow and credit unions continue to experience market expansion, the responsibility of fanning the flame can be shared. Naturally important to credit unions when working with a new product or service involves how it performs. And, is it important to members? Vendors expect to work at making this next stage in the relationship satisfying. This is accomplished through support services and data to demonstrate member interest.

Gauging members is a valuable tool and is something vendors will provide. This information is telling as to what the behavior patterns are with the new product or resource, and what needs to be adjusted for optimal member satisfaction. This is where technology turns grey areas black and white. As a vendor, we provide the marketing support and guidance for reaching out to members. The analytics show how together we can work to improve the product the credit union member is using.

 Your entry point into any market is much more attainable through a vendor. After doing due diligence into a potential relationship, there should be no hesitation in moving forward.

Frank Rinaudo is senior vice president of GrooveCar. He can be reached at 631-454-7500 or frank@groovecar.com.

As cited in:

Credit Union Times

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