West Coast Bank goes custom

West Coast Bank’s new(er) homepage takes some cues for the likes of Yahoo, Google, and Live and let’s the users of the site customize their own homepage. It appears that the WCB site is actual hosted and managed by Digital Insight, their online banking provider. Look at the source code on the page, and nearly the whole page is redirected to DI.

While I love the idea of CU’s, err, financial institutions, letting their members/customers customize their homepage, I’m not sold on the way in which WCB has put it together. While I applaud their attempt of bringing some Web 2.0 stuff out, the page could simply look better. That being said, it’s still a step in the right direction!

What’s important to your members?

I recently attended a regional Raddon conference reviewing our CU’s results. Paired with our recent member survey, some of the results were mind-blowing and very surprising.

Part of Raddon’s member survey is a “Zone of Performance” where the members rate how important a certain factor is in their financial institution and how well we deliver on that factor.

The ranking of the 20 factors initially seemed completely backwards to me. Bill Pay fees were dead last in importance. Interest on Deposits and Online Banking were in the bottom six. Even variety of services, a measure of innovation in my mind, was in the bottom five!! Here I am always preaching about innovation and new products, and our members don’t care!

After digesting the chart for a while, logic took over. Things like friendliness, accuracy and problem resolution where in our top 5, and most of the top 5’s of all the other CU’s. So I did a little quick math in my head. Being budget time, spending money (or not) is on my mind, and looking at the list of 20 factors, most CU’s spend all their budget on things that may not matter all the much to our members. Last place, bill pay fees, cost us an arm and a leg to provide for free!

So how do you spend money on friendliness? Wait longer (and pay for) the correct hire maybe? Accuracy? How often do we ever hear about innovation coming from a core processor? We need to innovate the systems that CU’s use and make them fool-proof so the accuracy is built in! Sometimes CU’s get sidetrack (excited) about spending money on new technologies and we might be missing the whole boat.

When you think about the pain points of your members, think back to the last complaint you might have heard from a friend about their FI, or even one of your members. “Wells Fargo screwed up my checking account!” “WaMu lost my check!” Just look around at My Bank Doesn’t Get It and you’ll see what I mean.

Let’s start spending our money where our members want it. I want mobile banking, instant issue, and kiosks as much as the next guy, do you’re members?

Test Tube

YouTube has launched Test Tube, their new “Idea Incubator” site, similar to Google Labs. (Imagine that.)

CU’s so often put up their website and call the project finished, only making changes when they add products or promotions.

From Karl Long on his blog, Experience Curve:

“For many years web design was an unnatural paring of graphic design, software design and product design, all of these disciplines assumed that there was an endpoint that was “done”. We’re going to build the site, like we’re going to build a monolith, in some cases monument that would stand for long time and would work just as designed.”

See Karl’s full post here.

Some people have a hard time believing that the words beta and money can go together, but I think if a CU has a clear e-channel vision, providing “sneak peeks” in beta form to select web users would get our members excited. And it’d tell us early about expected adoption rates and gather valuable feedback from members.


No, I’m not talking about the drinking game, I’m talking about Motley Fool’s relatively new stock picking game called CAPS. The tagline for the program is “Investors helping investors beat the market.” If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out. It is a very cooperative idea and is very Web2.0ish. No analysts telling you their upgrades and downgrades, just real people using their investment techniques and sharing them with everyone. It of course has blogging, so everyone can share what they are doing and why, and you can “pitch” each stock you pick.

Doug True mentioned CU Pick 24 back in October, which is a type of stock picking game for CU’s to use. I love the idea of CU Pick 24, but when a company like the Motley Fool releases products like this, CU Pick will have a hard time standing up on its own. Maybe CAPS needs some type of team functionality added to it, maybe CU Pick can hold its own because the credit unions using it would be able to have their own contests.

Either way, go check out CAPS. It rocks.

And in the spirit of sharing, here’s my CAPS page with profile, picks, etc.

Stealth Innovation & ROWE

I learned a new term tonight, the title of this post, “Stealth Innovation”. I almost laughed out loud I loved it so much. I was reading this article by Michelle Conlin of business week about Best Buy (BBY) “Smashing the clock”. It’s a must read.

Best Buy is dropping the normal 40 hour week for corporate, and soon to be retail, employees. Want to answer email while hunting? Work for Best Buy. How about getting “paid” for following the Dave Matthews Band around? Sign me up!

Here’s a great summary quote of what Best Buy is doing:

“The nation’s leading electronics retailer has embarked on a radical–if risky–experiment to transform a culture once known for killer hours and herd-riding bosses. The endeavor, called ROWE, for “results-only work environment,” seeks to demolish decades-old business dogma that equates physical presence with productivity. The goal at Best Buy is to judge performance on output instead of hours.”

This is also where “stealth innovation” comes in. For fear of having the idea squashed, many managers experimented with the technique, before having it come from the top down. Pretty soon, others from outside the departments that started it want in. And after awhile, there became such a following that it was a natural migration for the company.

I love the term stealth innovation because a lot of initiatives at CU’s, at least our CU, start off very stealthy and at the grassroots level. Sometimes you need to get the rubber band pulled way back and the energy built up before you get the official OK to let the slingshot fly.

It’s Pay Day!

Here’s fun promotional savings idea: have parents bring their kids in to open a youth savings account, or deposit some amount of money, and receive the board game Pay Day for free!

What’s in it for the parents? We’ll match your pay day!

CNNMoney posted an article about “5 gifts that will make your kids rich” and giving the Pay Day board game was one of those ideas. Read the full post here.

Thanks to Credit Union Finance for posting about the story!

Form 8888 (again)

I want to put an IRS for in our statements.

Sounds kinda weird, huh. I want to put Form 8888 into our year-end statements (see original post here), which contains our 1099’s, and have it pre-populated with our routing number. Give the members a little instruction sheet, tell them what the form is, why they should use it, and the benefits of "savings half, spending half".

The form is still in draft form from the IRS, so we might not even be able to get an official version in time to print and stuff statements.

So what do you think? Will members like the convenience of having the form already populated with our routing number? Can we fill out IRS forms and give them to our members? Or would we better serve our members by letting them know what the form is, how to use and, and letting the go to the IRS site and download it on their own?