Social media campaign redoubles credit unions’ efforts to improve their online searchability, offer “switch kits”
Pewaukee, Wis. - “Bank Transfer Day” – a social media campaign that has more than 32,000 followerson Facebook and almost 70,000 individuals promising to change their financial institution on or around that day – is prompting credit unions gaining attention from the event to prepare for new inquiries by consumers.
While some credit unions may have extended hours that day, others may not. But for the most part, credit unions are using the occasion to be sure consumers can find them in online searches as well as to remind staff how important it is to be ready to help consumers make the switch.
The social media campaign – begun by 27-year-old Los Angeles art gallery owner, Kristen Christian – has generated upwards of 350,000 Facebook invitations to consumers, urging them to use not-for-profit credit unions instead of for-profit financial institutions with “unethical business practices.” However, the campaign is just one sign that consumers have reached their limit when it comes to fees on financial services.
Media nationwide have heralded the significant savings consumers can realize by using credit unions. And the website that helps people find a credit union – www.asmarterchoice.org – has seen traffic surge, with a 76% increase in searches for Wisconsin credit unions in just the final week of October. Credit unions are fine-tuning the information they have on that site so that people can find a credit union they can use whether based on location or other factors, like an affiliation with their church, employer or occupation.
Most credit unions have “switch kits” to help consumers change financial institutions and they spend time one-on-one with consumers to help them save on loans, credit cards, mortgages and more. In fact, Wisconsin credit unions estimate they have provided more than 30,000 hours of free financial counseling so far this year. Altogether, as part of their REAL Solutions initiative, Wisconsin credit unions save consumers more than $200 million annually in the form of lower loan rates, higher savings rates and lower and fewer fees.
“People are excited not just because of the hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year they can save by using credit unions, but also because credit unions keep money local in a way that sustains jobs and helps the communities where they live,” said Brett Thompson, President of the Wisconsin Credit Union League.