I started making outbound sales calls to members when I joined our credit union’s outbound call center, in March of 2006. This was a brand-new team for the credit union, and I was one of the first outbound agents they hired. I have been involved in leading and developing outbound call centers ever since.
Outbound calling is one of the best ways to proactively engage your members and create value-adding conversations to learn about and assist them with their financial needs, wants, and dreams. It is also one of the best ways to take control of your credit union’s growth and the impact it has on the communities it services. Why? Because for most credit unions, there is more opportunity being missed than there are new requests coming in.
Missed opportunities comes in two forms. First are the products and services your members are not asking for because they don’t think to ask, they don’t think they are qualified, or they don’t even know they exist. And second are the products and services your members have with other financial institutions. The sum of missed opportunities far exceeds what your members are asking for today. The good news is that your credit union can easily identify missed opportunities and capture them through proactive sales efforts such as outbound calling.
So, what opportunity exists right now that your credit union should be focused on? Here are five missed opportunities your credit union should be calling on right now.
Auto Loan Recapture:
I have listed auto loan recapture first because it is a lead list on which your credit union should always be focused. Recapturing loans is really quite simple when you are able to get in front of the right member. That is the key with any outbound lead list. As much as possible, you want to create lists for your salespeople that are “sales-qualified,” meaning the member has a verifiable opportunity.
Some of the very best “sales-qualified” auto loan recapture leads are those purchased directly from the credit bureaus. These are sometimes referred to as pre-screen leads, pre-select leads, and so forth.
Pre-screen auto loan recapture leads are great because you are able to work with the credit bureau to build a member profile that identifies members with an auto loan currently financed elsewhere that meets your credit union’s credit and rate qualifications. Basically, when the bureau provides a pre-screen list, these members are as close to “sales-qualified” as one will get. Additionally, the bureau can provide the interest rate the member is likely paying on the loan as well as the payment, remaining term, and current balance. Information like that is extremely helpful for your salespeople.
Of course, pre-screen auto recapture leads do have some challenges such as the need to send the member a “Firm Offer to Finance.” Also, pre-screen auto loan recapture leads are not cheap. The cost of the lead list alone can be many thousands, if not tens of thousand of dollars. And the cost of notifying the member is also high with response rates to marketing at only two to four percent. These challenges often discourage credit unions from using them. However, with your sales team making outbound calls, your credit union can significantly increase the response rate. In some situations, as much as ten to twenty percent, driving up the ROI on the pre-screen campaign.
What if your credit union isn’t in a position to purchase a pre-screen auto loan recapture list? There are many other ways to build auto loan recapture lead lists. Two that are easy to build are recent loan payoffs (no new loan financed) and ACH records.
Included in the mortgage category are technically three product lead opportunities. They are:
- Home Purchases
- Mortgage Refinances
- Home Equity
Home purchases have been slowing since their peak at the end of the third quarter 2020, but still represent a significant opportunity. If your credit union does mortgages, it simply makes sense to be the one who finances your member’s home purchase. One of the best ways to identify home purchase activity is with “trigger” leads.
Trigger leads also come from the credit bureau. That does mean they can be pricy, but with a concerted outbound sales effort, your credit union can easily pay for these leads with only a few mortgages.
Triggers work by monitoring your members credit pull activity. When the member has her credit pulled by a known mortgage lender, the bureau notifies you within 24 hours and a salesperson can reach out to her with a mortgage comparison opportunity.
Triggers can notify your credit union of not only purchases but also mortgage refinance and home equity requests. They are ideal for all three mortgage lead opportunities.
In addition to trigger leads, credit unions can identify recapture opportunities based on mortgage record information. This can be gathered through a few different sources that your credit union may have access to already, including other third-party sources. Mortgage record information is public information and so there are many resources into which your credit union can tap.
To identify members who need to refinance, simply look at loan origination dates and compare them with average interest rates from the time they were financed. You can find those at http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.html. If the rate is higher than what you are currently offering, there may be an opportunity for the member to refinance and save.
Lead lists your credit union can build for home equity opportunities would include:
- Members who recently purchased a new home with a large down payment.
- Members who have been in their home for over three years and do not have a home equity loan.
- Members who have a HELOC with a draw period that will expire in the next two years (also ideal for identifying members who still need to refinance their first mortgage).
Similar to auto loan recapture, credit card recapture is a great opportunity to build loan volume and capture a great share of the member’s wallet. The lead list building techniques used for credit card recapture are virtually the same as they are for auto loan recapture.
And don’t pass up the opportunity to target and reach out to members who are not carrying balances on their credit cards as well. According to Nerd Wallet, 75% of adults in America have a credit card and use it in one of three ways:
- Carry a balance
- Make every-day purchases (and pay it off)
- Use in case of emergencies
If your member does not have your credit card, there is a 75% chance he has one elsewhere. Where does he have that credit card? How does he use it? What is your credit union’s value proposition? Can you win his credit card business? All great questions to be answered when making an outbound call to your members who don’t have your credit union’s credit card.
In 2020, deposit growth for credit unions topped nearly twenty percent. This largely came from stimulus funds, savings accrued by working from home, and savings from spending less on travel and other activities suppressed by the pandemic. Needless to say, there are a lot of savings balances your members have with other institutions that can be captured.
There are a few ways to build “sales-qualified” leads for deposits. One of the best ways is to connect with high net-worth members that you can tell do not have all of their savings with your credit union. In many situations, these members have spread their savings deposit out because they do not understand how the NCUA Insurance works. A simple outbound call to discuss possible savings balances and educate the member on how she can be insured for more than $250 thousand at your credit union can net some significant deposits.
Another exceptional way to bring in new deposits is by contacting members who have recently changed employers or are currently on unemployment. These members have often left pension funds or 401k’s with previous employers that can be rolled into an IRA with your credit union.
In March of this year, Yelp reported that more than 500,000 new businesses were opened during the pandemic. The greatest percentage of businesses were opened in the first quarter of 2021. There is significant opportunity for business account growth right now for credit unions, and quite frankly, credit unions are missing the opportunity to serve this part of their member’s relationship.
Many of the businesses your members own are small businesses. These are ideal for the low fee, simple business account services your credit union offers. In nearly every situation, credit unions can offer their members a business account with lower fees and products and services better suited for their needs than banks.
The best lead list to target business account growth is created by scouring loan applications, specifically the employment history section. Make a list of members who reported self-employment income but do not have their business accounts with the credit union.
Until these members have been contacted, there simply isn’t any reason to develop other lead lists to target business account growth.
While the pandemic has impacted the economy and your members’ finances, this is a time filled with abundant opportunity. Credit unions simply cannot sit by and wait for their members to bring the opportunity to them. By doing that, they simply miss out on capturing new business, creating balanced and consistent growth, and providing exceptional value to their membership and the communities they serve.
With the proper compliance requirements met (please refer to your compliance team on rules for outbound sales calling under the TSR and TCPA), credit unions should have consistent outbound sales initiatives in place with lead lists built to meet the needs of the credit union, the membership, and the opportunity. But effective outbound sales initiatives are not easy to build and sustain. Most credit unions with successful outbound sales initiatives created them with the help of consultants and third-party companies to assist in:
- formulating an outbound sales vision and plan of action.
- developing the lead strategy.
- providing customized training for front-line salespeople and leadership to execute the outbound sales initiative.
If your credit union’s outbound sales initiatives are struggling or non-existent, now is the best time to take action.