Posts Tagged ‘Robbie Wright’

Robbie Wright; Fi-linx

October 3, 2008

Robbie Wright, Manager of Fi-Linx, a CUSO created by MaPS CU in Oregon, gave a talk on CUSOs at Forum Solutions/Trabian’s Partnership Symposium yesterday.

Deposit Reclassification: Came out of a need that MaPS CU had to reduce reserve requirement with the Fed.

CUSOs are going multi-owned route to gain economies of scale.

Non-traditional CUSOs are being created to help differentiate credit unions.

Ongoing Operations CUSO created for Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery based on 9/11 disaster.

Future CUSO ideas:
• REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust). CU sells its real estate into the REIT, gains a profit, and members can invest in it.

• Geek Squad: A take-home nerd for members.

• Online Safe Deposit Box: Secure and keep private your digital data, with the trust of the credit union.

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Something positive always comes out of conferences

March 4, 2008

Washington DC's ChinatownOkay, I will admit it. Adam Lueb and I are crashing CUNA GAC 2008. We are not invited. We are not official conference goers. We are not exhibitors. But we love our CU peeps so much we made the trek down just to hang with them. When you are a small company, such as we are, it is a risk to come all this way, take time out of two employees busy schedules, and pay for meals, transportation, lodging, etc. So is it worth it?

The answer is a resounding yes. I’ve found that nearly always something positive happens when you do any or all of the following: break your normal patterns, go visit your peeps, understand your customers’ world better, facilitate getting smart people together, make new connections, and/or reinforce existing connections.

Over on OpenSourceCU, some are questioning the ROI of attending a BarCampBank. I have no response to that, other than, if you can’t see the value in meeting smart, creative, passionate people who are willing to learn and share what they know about the leading edge of the industry, then you definitely should not attend.

Tonight, Adam and I hooked up with Robbie Wright of MaPS Credit Union in Salem, Oregon. Last July, Robbie invited me to attend BarCampBank Seattle just a few days before it was about to occur. By chance, I was in Spokane at the time consulting with a CU there, instead of at my usual home base in Western Massachusetts. I had never heard of a BarCamp nor BarCampBank, and after checking out the wiki page for it, didn’t want to rearrange my schedule to hop over to Seattle for the weekend rather than return home to my son whom I hadn’t seen in many days. While I love my son dearly, I am still kicking myself that I did not attend that first BarCampBank in the U.S. when I had the opportunity.

Returning to the present, at Adam’s suggestion, we headed over to Washington DC’s Chinatown for Tony Cheng’s Mongolian Barbecue earlier this evening. While enjoying the fabulous dinner, Adam and Rob got to talking tech stuff. It turns out that Rob faces the same challenge we do in wrangling the NCUA 5300 data on all 8000+ CUs in the U.S. into shape every quarter when it is published. Rob asked Adam if he would be interested if his CUSO developed a way by which we could import it in the blink of an eye, andweimmediatelyansweredYES. So now Rob has direct feedback of the usefulness of a potential product, and we now have a potential source for a process that sidetracks us from more relevant work for a significant amount of time each year. This conversation would not have occured had I not invited Adam to come to DC with me.

As an additional bonus, we discussed briefly the online switch kit that EverythingCU offers to make it easy for a member to switch their previous financial institution to the credit union, and realized that MaPS CU is not offering it to their members. Talking with Rob has reminded me who the person at his CU would be the one to evaluate the product, I’ve sent her an email about it.

This trip is already worth it, and we’ve only connected with one person so far and haven’t even gotten to the main event; the reason why we’re here, the TwittaBloggerSocial MeetUp.

Facebook – Powerful Marketing Platform

January 11, 2008

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you know that one of the very hottest web sites is Facebook. And that’s for good reason. It may be one of the greatest marketing platforms created to date. If you are a credit union, and you hold member education events, you need to get them on Facebook. The first credit union to do this was Beehive CU in Utah, which put on a Credit Make-Over Seminar in April 2007, and created a Facebook Group for this purpose. They had a resounding success, attracting 19 people to the group.

On deck is Laura Baker (bakedlaurabean on twitter), Director of Marketing for Valley Credit Union in San Jose, CA. Her credit union is holding an event, Credit Score Enhancement Seminar, on February 21, 2008. Laura has already invited 20 people to the event, and has posted it to her profile. Chances are good that she’ll attract a good turnout since young adults and professionals, especially in her region– Silicon Valley, are the fastest growing age groups on Facebook.

It’s hard to explain why Facebook is THE place to go to promote your event if you have never used it. In order to understand better, the best way is to get on Facebook, connect with your friends, and watch your feed. You’ll see all the events your friends are going to. You’ll become aware of events that you would have never known about otherwise. If you become friends on Facebook with professionals in your field, you’ll find out about industry events that wouldn’t have known about otherwise. That’s how I found out about BarCampBank Seattle. Robbie Wright, author of Life and Times of a CU Employee, who I hadn’t yet met in-person, invited me to come a couple of days before the event. I was sorry that my schedule prevented me from getting there.

This is how and why Credit Unions need to put their events on Facebook. First of all, it’s completely free to do so. Secondly, it’s quick and easy to do it. But the best part is that once several of your members sign up for the event on Facebook, THEIR friends will see that they are going. Friends, family members, and colleagues of your members will see that your members are attending your event. You can’t buy that kind of publicity. Especially with the younger generation’s natural aversion to advertising, this kind of exposure is worth ten times the equivalent traditional ad exposure. Because it’s a PERSONAL ENDORSEMENT, and in it’s own way, it’s viral exposure. The more people who go to the event, the more people see that others are going to the event. Imagine how powerfully compelling it is to see that 7 of YOUR friends are attending a seminar on the ins and outs of improving your credit score. That’s going to make you at least want to check it out and see what the big fuss is.

Because of the social nature of Facebook, one of the keys to getting good exposure to your event on Facebook is to entice gregarious people to attend your event. There are many people on Facebook with hundreds of friends. It will get more exposure for your event when these “connectors” attend, than someone with only a dozen Facebook friends.

If Laura’s event does not draw a large crowd via Facebook this time around, it’s not because it’s not the right thing to do. It would only be because she’s ahead of her time, or because she hasn’t yet cultivated a large enough Facebook following among her members yet. But holding the event, and getting the word out there is the beginning of cultivating those member relationships on Facebook.

I covered the basics of Facebook event marketing at the Lake George World 2.0 workshop that we did in December, and look forward to the opportunity to speak to more credit union groups in 2008 about this exciting new marketing channel.

Washington CUs descend upon Spokane

September 12, 2007

After giving a talk about Bringing Your CU into World 2.0 to the Credit Union Association of Oregon in Tigard, I flew up to Spokane to join the festivities at the Washington CU League’s annual convention. Upon checking in at the conference hotel, I immediately recognized Trey Reeme of Trabian and OpenSource CU in the hotel lobby, and said hi before he had to go prepare for his talk the following morning. Trey let me know that Robbie Wright was still up and about, and so I also got to finally meet him in person, as well as fellow Trabian, Brent Dixon. Also in the mix were Matt Vance, Marketing Director for Industrial CU, David Bennett, Director of Public Relations for the league, Benny Haagen, Director of Lending for Educational Community CU in Everett, and Gaye White, Branch Manager at Peninsula Community Federal CU on the Olympic Peninsula.