Editorial Perspectives

The consulting and marketing team members of Advisors Plus are nationally recognized experts in their fields who regularly share their insights and thought leadership in articles and interviews with leading credit union publications.

This archive of those previously published articles puts that subject matter expertise at your fingertips in the areas of Business Strategy and Branding; Credit Cards; Debit, Checking and Payments; Contact Center and Operations; and Marketing.

Whether you choose to browse the summaries or take a deeper dive by downloading the full articles to read and share, we’ve designed this Editorial Perspectives section to function as solutions central to collect and deliver our freshest thinking straight to you.

Business Strategy and Branding
PSCU’s Advisors Plus Credit Card Experts Help a Nevada Credit Union Change its Members’ Luck
by Tom Chandler
CUInsight, May 5, 2016
 

This article tracks One Nevada Credit Union’s extraordinary strategic and marketing efforts to bounce back following the Great Recession. Determined to be prudent in managing its own portfolio risk, One Nevada turned to the credit card consulting experts of Advisors Plus for portfolio, collections and CLI advice.

Following One Nevada’s own legendary BACON (Bad A$$ Checking One Nevada) checking account acquisition campaign, Advisors Plus Marketing Services worked with One Nevada to create a series of card activation and balance transfer campaigns that introduced One Nevada’s new Visa Signature® card, brought in nearly $5.4 million in new balances and grew average last statement balances from $318 to $737.

 

 
Credit Union Teams with PSCU’s Advisors Plus Consultants to Grow Credit Card Balances
by Tom Chandler
CUInsight, March 23, 2016
 

This article tells the exciting story of how Richland, Wash.-based HAPO Community Credit Union worked with Advisors Plus Marketing Services to capture the top-of-wallet position for its credit card. Building on a calendar of balance transfer campaigns executed through a multi-channel effort featuring direct mail, outbound calling and emails from HAPO staffers, HAPO grew its outstandings by a whopping $18 million over the course of 2015.

 

 
Send Your Credit Union to Summer Camp!
by Arnie Goldberg
CUInsight Community Blog, June 25, 2015
 

The relaxed pace of long summer days has a way of connecting us with the simple pleasures of childhood, and why shouldn't credit unions get in on the fun? Here's a whimsical look at six low-cost, high-impact activities your credit union can schedule to help recreate those magical memories of summer camp fun for your members and your community.

 

 
3 Ways to WOW Your Members with a New York State of Mind
by Arnie Goldberg
CUInsight Community Blog, April 30, 2015
 

A visit to New York City - the "city that never sleeps" - is a tourist's dream, with something guaranteed to be happening around the clock in each and every neighborhood. Yet the Big Apple feels surprisingly like a small town, thanks to New York City's commitment to welcoming its visitors and putting them at ease.

Here are three ways credit unions can take a page from the NYC guidebook in learning to provide seamless, omni-channel WOW service to their members.

 

 
Fortune Cookies for Credit Unions: 5 Branding Lessons from Chinese Restaurants
by Arnie Goldberg
CUInsight Community Blog, March 24, 2015
 

This article serves up five lighthearted but insightful tips on effective credit union branding from an unlikely source—Chinese restaurants. From fortune cookies to iconic take out cartons, find out how your credit union can deliver engaging, personalized member service, no chopsticks required.

 

 
3 Powerful Lessons Credit Unions Can Learn from the Powerball Lottery
by Arnie Goldberg
CUInsight Community Blog, February 25, 2015
 
No one should confuse a lottery ticket purchase with a smart investment choice but the excitement created by multi-million-dollar jackpots can teach credit unions a lot about how to address the motivations, sense of community and financial dreams of their members.
 

 
What You Need to Know before You Can Grow
by Arnie Goldberg
CUToday, January 28, 2015
 
Just about every credit union’s goals include growing membership, revenues or profitability—and often all three. Advisors Plus Marketing Services can work with your credit union to develop innovative growth campaigns, but before you start to pull the levers of growth, Advisors Plus Consulting recommends taking the time to review existing portfolios and operations to optimize your core businesses, reduce risk and create a solid foundation for growth. This article lays out a recommended path from optimization to growth and details the milestones along the way.
 

 
5 Reasons to Make Santa Claus Your Credit Union’s Role Model
by Arnie Goldberg
CUInsight Community Blog, December 12, 2014
 
Santa Claus is an icon the world over, known for granting wishes to good boys and girls of course, but also for his enviable work ethic in managing the elves, running his year-round North Pole workshop and commanding the global logistics of his annual Christmas Eve delivery schedule. Here's a tongue-in-cheek look at five ways that the Man in Red can serve as a powerful role model for your credit union, not just at Christmas but throughout the year.
 

 
3 Lessons Every Credit Union Can Learn from a Shopping Trip to the Mall
by Arnie Goldberg
CUInsight Community Blog, November 12, 2014
 
Retailing can be a fickle and sometimes cutthroat business but credit unions can learn a lot about how to provide effective branding, marketing and service from visiting a shopping mall. An overheard conversation between two retailers led to this article that suggests three methods credit unions can use to break through the competitive clutter, attract customers and close those all-important sales.
 

 
Credit Cards
How to Turn Risk Management into a Major Opportunity for Your Credit Union
by Michael Gulledge
CUInsight Community Blog, October 7, 2014
 

When credit union credit card portfolio managers discuss their top priorities, risk minimization all too often comes up only as an afterthought. This thinking is shortsighted and results in missed opportunities because enormous revenue and profitability gains can be realized by developing and following a strategic plan for managing and minimizing portfolio risks.

In this article, one of our most popular of all time, Advisors Plus creates a game plan for adopting the risk management techniques that can and should be part of your credit union’s toolbox.

 

 
The Highly Empowered Portfolio Manager
by Stephen M. Thompson
CUInsight Community Blog, December 27, 2013
 
This short blog post summarizes the key metrics that today’s "empowered portfolio managers" must master and integrate into their organizations to create ownership of card portfolio outcomes across all functional areas. There is also a brief case study of one portfolio manager’s personal evolution toward an empowered management strategy.
 

 
Want a Top of Wallet Card Program? Here’s How!
PSCU Visions, December 3, 2013
 
In this special issue of PSCU Visions, the Credit consultants of Advisors Plus pool their expertise to discuss how top of wallet credit card portfolios can create powerful sources of value and loyalty for credit unions and contribute up to 30 percent to annual earnings. This wide-ranging article illustrates how Empowered Portfolio Managers aren’t born, they’re trained, and outlines steps your credit union can take to build its own best-in-class effort like the success story profiled at ORNL Federal Credit Union in Tennessee.
 

 
Move NOW to Variable Rate APRs: Here’s Why and Here’s How
by Christopher D. Joy 
CUInsight Community Blog, November 6, 2013
 
This blog post provides an excellent summary of why Advisors Plus believes it is vitally important to match a credit card portfolio’s funding and pricing approaches. It makes strong recommendations that credit unions take timely action toward 1) marketing all new credit cards with variable APRs and 2) migrating their existing portfolios toward variable APR pricing as well.
 

 
Making the Move to Variable Rate APRs: Why and How to Get Started NOW
by Christopher D. Joy 
CreditUnionBusiness.com, November 2013
 

This comprehensive article expands on the Advisors Plus argument that credit card portfolios with fixed rate pricing remain vulnerable. It makes a detailed case that credit unions should immediately begin to mitigate their risk and protect their profitability by 1) marketing all future credit cards with variable APRs and 2) migrating their existing portfolios toward variable APR pricing.

The article goes on to explain exactly why and how variable rate APR pricing will help protect a credit union’s pricing flexibility and profit potential, and vividly illustrates the arguments with two concrete action plans for re-pricing an existing portfolio.

 

 
The Top 5 Strategies for Creating a Top of Wallet Card Program
by Stephen M. Thompson 
CUInsight Community Blog, August 8, 2013
 
Every credit union wants its credit cards to be "top of wallet" but do their card suites have what it takes to attain that status? As credit card lending takes off again after several years of lackluster growth, this article lays out a "Portfolio Greatness 101" roadmap of five key actions that CUs can take to move their card portfolios off autopilot and accelerate toward robust growth.
 
Debit, Checking and Payments
The EMV Era: Three Key Considerations for Managing Your Payments Portfolio as Chip Cards Gain Traction
by Norm Patrick 
CUES Management, December 2015
 

The implementation of new EMV fraud rules ― which shift liability from issuer to merchant ― is only the most recent example of how the credit union card payments landscape will continue to shift in the year ahead. Despite a turbulent economic cycle, new regulations, advances in technology and new market players, debit card programs still represent an area of opportunity for credit unions that typically contributes between 20-40 percent of noninterest income.

Moving forward into 2016, three factors on the payments landscape may warrant extra credit union attention and risk mitigation efforts: changes to how networks and merchants process transactions under EMV, the effect of interest rate increases on credit card portfolios that hold significant non-variable-rate assets and the rapid pace of innovation in mobile wallet technology.

 

 
Outsmarting the Risk of Overdraft Revenue Loss
by Kari Anne Arnosk  
Credit Union Times, September 11, 2015
 

With revenue from Courtesy Pay overdraft fees often accounting for as much as 15-20 percent of a CU’s total noninterest income, current regulatory initiatives aimed at curbing such overdraft fees could mean not only significant risks to noninterest revenues but problems for consumers trying to avoid payday lenders and other non-mainstream providers.

This article outlines four proactive product and channel strategies for credit unions to consider that will maximize value to their members and create growth opportunities in serving the underbanked.

 

 
3 Ways to WOW Them on Your Website
by Kari Anne Arnosk 
CUInsight Community Blog, April 14, 2014
 

While credit unions and big banks have been fighting each other for new checking account business, a disruptive, new group of online-only competitors, the "neobanks" has joined the scene and quickly become a force by emphasizing customer needs, stressing product simplicity and reintroducing the WOW factor to checking.

To compete more effectively, credit unions must 1) use their website homepages to spotlight their WOW, 2) utilize online, mobile and social media more effectively to flaunt their strengths, and 3) deepen existing checking relationships through more effective cross-selling.

 

 
Payment Industry Trends in 2014
by Norman C. Patrick, Jr.
CU Times, February 14, 2014
 

With so much happening in fields as diverse as payments security, the mobile arena, and emerging technologies such as EMV and mobile wallets, it can be a challenge for credit unions to separate the signal from the noise in determining which issues to prioritize.

This article discusses broad trends in projected credit and debit card growth, issues and timetables for EMV implementation, and various new mobile wallet technologies before recommending priorities based on economic and industry projections for 2014.

 

 
Want to Order Up Some Sizzling Membership Growth for 2014? Check Please!
by Michelle H. Hillenbrand-Whale
CUInsight Community Blog, January 13, 2014
 

When credit unions analyze what attracts and delights new members most, checking accounts turn out to be the most effective tool of all. The humble checking account may be basic but it’s the strongest indicator of a member’s primary financial relationship.

Here’s a look at steps your credit union can take to maximize the effectiveness of its checking products as relationship tools that help create and define your credit union’s WOW factor.

 

 
Does Your Marketing Checklist Include Checking?
by Jessica Duncan, Advisors Plus Marketing Services 
PSCU Visions, January 24, 2014
 

When Advisors Plus Marketing Services clients ask for a high impact, cost effective campaign that will jumpstart new member and deposit growth, we always recommend a customized direct mail Checking Account Acquisition Campaign.

This article looks at two case study success stories and discusses the program’s track record, not only in giving your credit union an immediate "gift of lift" in new members and new accounts for existing members, but as the gift that keeps on giving through increased advertising visibility and engagement within your prospective member community.

 

 
Durbin, Debit Interchange and Rewriting Regulation II: Will History Repeat Itself?
by Norman C. Patrick, Jr.
CreditUnionBusiness.com, October 2013
 
This in-depth article assesses the regulatory and competitive impacts of possible court rulings on the Durbin Amendment, Federal Reserve Regulation II and the overall debit interchange landscape. Timelessly relevant, it provides an insightful, deep-dive look at possible future payments industry competitive and pricing scenarios and outlines proactive ways that credit unions can act to mitigate risk and position themselves for cost saving opportunities.
 

 
Debit Interchange 2.0: Is Your Credit Union Optimized and Ready?
by Norman C. Patrick, Jr.
CUInsight Community Blog, January 13, 2014
 

Federal Reserve Regulation II, which capped interchange rates for financial institutions over $10 billion, has been viewed in hindsight by the payments industry as having been a legislative overreach.

As lawsuits to reconfigure its impact wind their way through the courts, this article argues that not all outcomes are equally likely. That means that rather than sitting on the sidelines while they await the verdict, Advisors Plus believes that there are concrete actions that credit unions can and should take to prioritize and prepare for a limited number of high-odds eventualities.

 

 
Competitive Checking Accounts Can Earn New Members and Boost Loyalty
by Kari Anne Arnosk
PSCU Press Release on October 12, 2011
 
Checking accounts have the power to define which financial institutions get viewed by consumers as their primary financial services provider. To maximize that power, Advisors Plus offers some best practices suggestions designed to help credit unions expand market share and boost member loyalty through aggressive pricing and product enhancement strategies.
 
Contact Center and Operations
Ask This One Simple Question for World-Class Call Center Service
by Frank A. Kovach 
CUInsight Community Blog, June 1, 2015
 

Every credit union call center wants to receive honest feedback about the quality of its member service but few realize that asking callers one qualitative question may provide more insight than complicated surveys or response metrics: “If you owned a customer service company, would you hire the last agent you spoke with?”

How do contact managers do it? What valuable lessons can other managers learn from them? This article explores six key ways that contact center managers prime their organizations for success.

 

 
6 Vital Management Lessons Your Contact Center Can Teach
by Frank A. Kovach 
CUInsight Community Blog, May 9, 2014
 

Contact center managers are likely to be among the best general managers anywhere in your credit union—with some of the most demanding jobs. They are charged with melding large and diverse groups of employees into cohesive teams, keeping a careful eye on productivity and expense metrics, and working to help senior management translate its goals into performance.

How do contact managers do it? What valuable lessons can other managers learn from them? This article explores six key ways that contact center managers prime their organizations for success.

 

 
Go Back to the Future for a Cutting-Edge Contact Center Today
by Frank A. Kovach 
CUInsight Community Blog, March 7, 2014
 
The overwhelming demands on today's contact center managers to collect and analyze Big Data have paradoxically revealed the vital role that "old school" people management skills still play in boosting overall levels of service performance. A meta analysis of all the contact center reviews that Advisors Plus has conducted over a five-year period reveals that one key variable—the degree to which senior management interacts with the contact center by taking the time to visit and talk with the agents and managers—predicts a contact center’s performance with near 100% certainty.
 

 
4 Metrics That Matter—and 1 You Can Safely Ignore
by Frank A. Kovach 
Contact Center Conversations, February 2014
 

The broad array of sophisticated ACD metrics available to today’s contact center manager brings exciting opportunities for deep dives into data but also the very real risk of drowning in a sea of numbers. Deciding which metrics to use, how to apply them, and how to educate senior management to intelligently interpret the results requires a big picture approach that's part science and part art.

This article outlines Advisors Plus's pioneering solution to the challenge, known as SMART Metric Management, and identifies three vital metrics that every contact center should track.

 

 
Great Expectations: 6 Key Lessons for Today’s Managers
by Frank A. Kovach 
Contact Center Conversations, February 2014
 
Great credit union contact centers aren’t born, they’re made−by great managers and the teams they create. Contact center managers must balance the technical information and performance metrics necessary to deliver consistently outstanding service and apply it to create onboarding and cross-selling opportunities. Integrating those missions requires a set of six general management skills that any credit union manager can benefit from learning and putting into practice.
 

 
Mission Impossible: Will Your Contact Center Accept?
by Frank A. Kovach
CUInsight Community Blog, April 8, 2013
 
Credit union contact centers undertake "mission impossible" every day with the challenge of combining their role as your organization’s warm, beating heart with the coldhearted realities of staffing, expense control and the unrelenting demands of performance metrics. Succeeding at that mission means focusing on the right member service metrics without getting thrown off the game by false or irrelevant measures such as wait time.
 

 
Working the Paradigm Shift
by Frank A. Kovach
CreditUnions.com, August 5, 2013
 

Today’s contact centers are being dramatically affected by the paradigm shifts toward online and mobile technologies and automated self-service. As modern contact centers evolve from simply providing account information to handling the kinds of thorny problems that members can't figure out on their own, call volume and talk time metrics are increasing.

That's because today's callers need both more sophisticated tech support and more simple handholding. To meet the challenge of these conflicting service requirements, the contact center agents of the future will need training, tools and support that empower them for success in their newly demanding jobs.

 

 
Mystery Shopping Confidential: The Secrets Every Credit Union Should Know
by Frank A. Kovach
CUInsight Community Blog, June 7, 2013
 

To fully realize the potential of their onboarding, cross-selling and member service efforts, credit unions must make sure that their client-facing personnel deliver consistent, positive, helpful messages and advice. Mystery shopping can help maximize a credit union’s effectiveness by collecting a wealth of metrics that track how contact center agents and branch personnel perform under various scenarios.

This article describes the mystery shopping process and how it can lead to better service by revealing what’s working—and what still needs work.

 

 
What’s Your (Real) Problem?
by Frank A. Kovach
Contact Center Conversations, June, 2013
 

Whenever a credit union contact center experiences a member service or operational issue, it’s the contact center manager’s job to get things back on track as quickly as possible. But when the clock is ticking, "time is money" thinking can result in acting so quickly that the "real" underlying issues or problems get overlooked or swept under the rug.

This article describes just where those troublesome issues may be lurking in your contact center and how to identify and tackle them once and for all.

 

 
Listening for Dollars: Powerful New Ways to Integrate Service and Sales
by Frank A. Kovach
Contact Center Conversations, June, 2013
 
Contact center agents are often so busy problem solving that they overlook the incredible power that "listening for dollars" can have to provide outstanding, member-oriented service. The numbers show that listening to your members’ needs not only provides the basis for outstanding onboarding and cross-selling programs but builds long-term member loyalty and enhanced agent pride and productivity as well.
 

 
Getting to WOW
by Frank A. Kovach 
CUInsight Community Blog, April 8, 2013
 
The ability to deliver WOW member service is within reach for your contact center on every transaction every day. The key to making that happen is taking an EMT approach—Empowering, Managing and Training in your contact center using the principles of CPR—Chain of command, Penny wise not pound foolish, and Remembering what motivates your agents.
 

 
Harnessing the Power of Incremental
by Frank A. Kovach
CUInsight Community Blog, March 8, 2013
 
When it comes to cost savings, big "home run" projects may get all the glory but often it’s the smaller, incremental wins that mount up, both for a credit union's bottom line and in building employee engagement and ownership as well. Here's how to foster an entrepreneurial, incremental thinking mentality at your credit union by emphasizing momentum and speed of implementation.
 

 
Portal Paradox
by Frank A. Kovach
CreditUnions.com, October 9, 2012
 

Live chat has the potential to be a game changer for member satisfaction, but if the cost and operational impacts of live chat aren’t carefully considered in advance, the technology can quickly open the flood gates to unanticipated problems and strained resources across your entire organization.

This article outlines what to expect from live chat, what questions to ask, and how to manage member expectations before your credit union jumps on the bandwagon of the "next big thing" in customer service.

 
Marketing
PSCU’s Advisors Plus Credit Card Experts Help a Nevada Credit Union Change its Members’ Luck
by Tom Chandler
CUInsight, May 5, 2016
 

This article tracks One Nevada Credit Union’s extraordinary strategic and marketing efforts to bounce back following the Great Recession. Determined to be prudent in managing its own portfolio risk, One Nevada turned to the credit card consulting experts of Advisors Plus for portfolio, collections and CLI advice.

Following One Nevada’s own legendary BACON (Bad A$$ Checking One Nevada) checking account acquisition campaign, Advisors Plus Marketing Services worked with One Nevada to create a series of card activation and balance transfer campaigns that introduced One Nevada’s new Visa Signature® card, brought in nearly $5.4 million in new balances and grew average last statement balances from $318 to $737.

 

 
Credit Union Teams with PSCU’s Advisors Plus Consultants to Grow Credit Card Balances
by Tom Chandler
CUInsight, March 23, 2016
 

This article tells the exciting story of how Richland, Wash.-based HAPO Community Credit Union worked with Advisors Plus Marketing Services to capture the top-of-wallet position for its credit card. Building on a calendar of balance transfer campaigns executed through a multi-channel effort featuring direct mail, outbound calling and emails from HAPO staffers, HAPO grew its outstandings by a whopping $18 million over the course of 2015.

 

 
What You Need to Know before You Can Grow
by Arnie Goldberg 
CUToday, January 28, 2015
 
Just about every credit union’s goals include growing membership, revenues, or profitability—and often all three. Advisors Plus Marketing Services can work with your credit union to develop innovative growth campaigns, but before you start to pull the levers of growth, Advisors Plus Consulting recommends taking the time to review existing portfolios and operations to optimize your core businesses, reduce risk and create a solid foundation for growth. This article lays out a recommended path from optimization to growth and details the milestones along the way.
 

 
Does Your Marketing Checklist Include Checking?
by Jessica Duncan, Advisors Plus Marketing Services
PSCU Visions, January 24, 2014
 

When Advisors Plus Marketing Services clients ask for a high impact, cost effective campaign that will jumpstart their new member and deposit growth, we always recommend a customized direct mail Checking Account Acquisition Campaign.

This article looks at two case study success stories and discusses the program’s track record, not only in giving your credit union an immediate "gift of lift" in new members and new accounts for existing members, but as the gift that keeps on giving through increased advertising visibility and engagement within your prospective member community.

 

 
Want to Order Up Some Sizzling Membership Growth for 2014? Check Please!
by Michelle H. Hillenbrand-Whale 
CUInsight Community Blog, January 13, 2014
 
When credit unions analyze what attracts and delights new members most, checking accounts turn out to be the most effective tool of all. The humble checking account may be basic but it’s the strongest indicator of a member’s primary financial relationship. Here’s a look at steps your credit union can take to maximize the effectiveness of its checking products as relationship tools that help create and define your credit union’s WOW factor.
 

 
The Highly Empowered Portfolio Manager
by Stephen M. Thompson
CUInsight Community Blog, December 27, 2013
 
This short blog post summarizes the key metrics that today’s "empowered portfolio manager" must master and integrate in order to take ownership of a credit card portfolio across all functional areas. There is also a brief case study of one portfolio manager’s personal evolution toward an empowered management strategy.
 

 
Want a Top of Wallet Card Program? Here’s How!
PSCU Visions, December 3, 2013
 
In this special issue of PSCU Visions, the Credit consultants of Advisors Plus pool their expertise to discuss how top of wallet credit card portfolios can create powerful sources of value and loyalty for credit unions and contribute up to 30 percent to annual earnings. This wide-ranging article illustrates how Empowered Portfolio Managers aren’t born, they’re trained, and outlines steps your credit union can take to build its own best-in-class effort like the success story profiled at ORNL Federal Credit Union in Tennessee.