Union Credit brings an online marketplace to Credit Unions

One CU gained 7 new members in a day

Credit unions are looking to digital lending marketplace Union Credit to grow their membership, gain national exposure and break into younger demographics. Nationally, the average credit union member is 54 years old while the average consumer in the United States is 37, Barry Kirby, chief revenue officer and co-founder of Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Union Credit, told Bank Automation News.

Dupont, Washington-based America’s Credit Union shares the concern about loan volume.
Digital loans are growing at the credit union, Troy Kyle, executive vice president and chief information officer at the financial institution told BAN. The FI is able to fully onboard clients online without branch interaction, allowing it to reach a new demographic; in fact, it processes 175,000 transactions per month, 89% of which are online.

The question is: What will credit union membership look like in three or four years if members start to age out of need for loans

But the $712 million credit union has been seeking avenues to attract new customers and increase its loan portfolio, and its efforts have not been widely successful, Kyle said. In fact, over a two-week period, America’s Credit Union spent nearly $30,000 on advertising and gained just one new customer, Kyle said.

That’s where Union Credit comes in.

Since joining Union Credit’s network, America’s Credit Union has gained up to 7 new members in one day.

National network

Union Credit, which just launched in July, is a marketplace ecosystem that connects credit unions with well-known purchase and financing experience companies to push out pre-approved loans to potential new members in real time, Kirby told BAN .

To put loans into customers’ hands, Union Credit embeds firm offers into the front-end of purchase and financing platforms including Bankrate, Way.com, AmOne and others, Kirby said. Those companies “provide the brands, as well as the national reach that our credit unions need.”

The offers that are embedded into those platforms are preapproved based on each credit unions’ established underwriting requirements and can deliver one-click loan applications to borrowers. The purchase and financing platforms reach a total of 209 million clients that are made aware of credit union offerings through the platforms they are already using.

Union Credit is working with TruStage Digital Storefront, formerly known as CuneXus, a subsidiary of CUNA Mutual Group. Union Credit leverages the existing prescreen criteria that the credit unions have set up inside of the Digital Storefront  to extend offers to potential new customers — Union Credit also supports non-CuneXus lenders.

Real-time monitoring

Union Credit has also developed a tool that monitors how consumers are interacting with credit union offers, adjusting in real-time time based on customer data and the profile of the client, Kirby said. For example, the tool can bring specific offers to the top of the queue based on what the platform knows about the person.

In addition to America’s Credit Union, other credit unions that are live on the Union Credit platform include: $4 billion Westbury, N.Y.-based Jovia Financial Credit Union, and $9.5 billion, Smithtown, N.Y.-based Teachers Federal Credit Union, according to a Union Credit release.

As credit unions look to build their memberships through digital channels, they are able to do so through Union Credit without the need for the capital and resources that a big financial institution has, allowing them to maintain competitiveness, Kirby said.

Other marketing mechanisms and advertisements have not been as successful for credit unions to gain members, Kyle said. “None of that stuff yields anything like what we’ve seen already in the first two weeks on Union Credit.”