Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

How Credit Unions, Small Banks Can Compete with Big Banks




 Eight strategies for the underdog financial institutions



Big banks have a major trust gap with the average consumer, according to a study, which has created a marketing opportunity for credit unions and small banks.

Several years later,  Americans still blamed the big banks for the financial crisis back in the Great Recession.

At least, this is according to a study released in 2014 (scroll down to see an infographic).

Reading the contract Stock PhotoSeventy-one percent of responding consumers believe the big banks haven’t been held accountable for their risky behavior.

Sixty-six percent are still angry and 49 percent of them prefer to bank at a local institution.

This came to light in a study by Harris Poll.

It was underwritten by more than 200 community banks and credit unions with Kasasa, a provider of a national brand of rewards checking and saving accounts.

Marketing opportunities

Consumer angst over the big banks’ behavior is an opportunity for credit unions and small banks.

Small institutions can compete against the big banks with strong branding and marketing.

They will — if they make every effort to make certain they don’t have a trust gap like the big banks.

Here are eight basic strategies:

1. Management should develop objectives and a complete, action-oriented strategic plan covering all goals from deposits to loans. Profitability should not heavily depend on interest rates and fees.

2. Value propositions should be easy-to-communicate and understand.

3. Using digital and traditional media, the marketing plan should create a dominant top-of-mind awareness and include cross-promotion strategies with benchmarks to obtain the desired return on investment.

4. For long-term growth and sustainability, the focus should include mobile marketing and strategies to attract and retain young people.

5. It’s necessary to develop a consistent branding strategy for positive consumer experiences from tellers to loan officers.

6. Credit-union member or bank-customer experience policies must be published in a formal manual.

7. Employees must be fully trained to understand how to build trust, the meaning of exemplary customer service and in the cross-promotion of products and services in synchronization with the branding.

8. Marketing should have a seat at the senior-management conference-room table along with human resources, lending, business development, finance, compliance and information technology.

Consumer Banking Insights Study

From the Coach’s Corner, related articles:

Security Precautions to Take Following Citibank’s Second Reported Online Breach — Citibank’s admission that private information of 360,083 North American Citigroup credit card accounts was stolen by hackers in 2011, which affected 210,000 customers, serves as a warning for all businesses and consumers to take precautionary steps. The bank’s May 2011 security breach wasn’t reported until weeks later. Originally, Citibank said 200,000 accounts were affected.

Major Banks Are Too Big to Fail, But Not to Break Them Up — The time has come to break up the big banks. There are 5,000+ banks in the U.S. However, just a dozen of them dominate with 69 percent of the assets in the banking sector.

Why Bank Woes Provide Lessons for All Companies Seeking Growth — Many banks have customer loyalty issues. In fact, banks need new approaches because they are only satisfying 21 percent of their medium-sized business customers, according to new marketing research by TNS. Actually, the challenges faced by banks in trying to grow include principles that are applicable to all business sectors that want opportunities for growth.

Banks Have Credibility Issue with Affluent Women, Study — More than half of wealthy women are frustrated with their banks, according to a study.

When Marketing Financial Information, Be Careful in Choosing a Medium — If you’re in the business of communicating financial data, don’t succumb to the charm of state-of-the-art technology, especially online video. In choosing a messenger medium, a conservative approach is best. Trust is paramount.

“No matter how much the boss likes you, if you work in a bank you can’t bring home samples.”

-Eddie Cantor 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.