What can credit unions learn from Facebook?

Facebook recently announced their move to translate the site into different languages for use all over the world.  Facebook, facing a massive translation project, did what any good web 2.0 company would do: make their users do it.

Facebook has created an app called Translations that lets users translate phrases and then vote on their accuracy.  What a great way to take on a large and normally internal project.

What could credit unions stand to learn from this?  What could we “outsource” to our members?  Product development comes to my mind first.  Let our members tell us what they want.

Source: Mashable

UPDATE:  The link in the Mashable article to the Facebook translations page doesn’t work.  It seems Mashable got a little ahead of themselves or Facebook had a slight leak.  Either way, the concept is still firm.  How could credit unions take advantage of this trend?

10 thoughts on “What can credit unions learn from Facebook?”

  1. Now thats a creative solution! There are tons of ways credit unions could benefit from member-created products and services. I think it might be difficult to get people interested enough to actually participate. There isn’t really a member driven community out there at the moment. Places like Give.with.us, Young & Free, and Changeeverything are starts. There needs to be a dedicated community before something like this would take off.

  2. Hi Robbie!

    I hope you and yours had a great Christmas. You hit the nail with the member-driven product idea. To that suggestion, I would add member-directed community service and involvement projects.

    Of course, this is popping up already in some quarters (the Give with Us franchise comes to mind), and I hope it’s a trend that will gain momentum over time.

    It strikes me that this form of community involvement is so much better than just writing checks and issuing “we’re involved in the community” press releases.


  3. Empowering members to help create and define new products is also a great way to differentiate your CU. Even holding some type of focus group with a block of your members could bring new ideas to the surface that may help you serve your members better.

  4. Mike

    We actually tried to form a group of youth here at MSCU that would give us feedback on what they would like to see out of a financial institution, but people showed zero interest. We need to rethink what a “committee” is. The traditional group that gets together weekly or monthly and drafts a report isn’t really working anymore, especially for the younger members.

  5. @Andy: Like you’re talking about in your post, I think the younger crowd just has a different take on things than those of yesteryears. The hardest part is figuring out how to communicate with them. Does MSCU have a strong youth membership? If not, maybe that’s why they didn’t show interest in helping out? In today’s society, it seems harder and harder to get things without giving something in return. Maybe it will take some sort of campaign like what Young & Free did with some sort of prize to get your youthful members to chime in and offer their opinions.

  6. Yeah, I hate focus groups. Hate is a strong word, but I don’t like them the least bit. Enthnographic research (the why) combined with our members spending and usage habits (the how) gives us all the data we need. It is all under out nose, we just have to know where to look and what questions to ask. Most of the time people don’t know what they want until it is given to them.

  7. What about pushing something as simple as being able to update your own information in the banking system and credit union databases?

    I am constantly surprised at how the credit unions we work with lack even the basics. Up-to-date addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc. This makes trying to communicate with members really tough.

    We should be able to make the process secure and as simple as updating your info in Facebook and your data will be clean

  8. Robbie, very nice post.

    I like the idea of permitting members to dictate the products and services to a point. Obviously there will be some kookie suggestions, but then you get something like Tim’s suggestion that seems so obvious that it basically slapped me in the face. I can do this at BofA but it is just an online form and the edits get made a few days later. Why cant my banking profile be like my Facebook profile where I can update and edit as I need to?

    I have an idea. When I order checks, my credit union knows how many checks I have passed. Could I get a phone call or email or something from a MSR saying “Hey, we noticed that you are coming to the end of your supply of checks – would you like me to reorder some for you?” It is a minor inconvenience, but my office supply company does it all the time. They figure out how long it takes me to run out of paper and they start calling. Guess who gets my paper business?

    I know it seems lame, but so does running out of checks and ordering them online and waiting.


  9. @Mike

    Its funny because a lot of my friends (all 18-30) have been members for quite awhile and constantly speak well of MSCU. As soon as I mentioned that they we were trying to put together a committee of 20-somethings and younger they bailed on the idea. It isn’t that they won’t get involved, they just hate having scheduled involvement. It feels like work to go into a committee. Obviously we don’t have the strongest youth membership, but the youth that are here seem to love it. I’ve played with the idea of a contest, and am still considering it, but it has to have something worthwhile behind it. I don’t want to see lots of traffic during the contest only to become a ghost town once its finished. I suppose that all depends on the content of the site though.

    @ Tim

    I love the idea of being able to actively update account info. On the teller line I swear I had to get at least 3 overrides every hour for people with incorrect addresses and the like. There would have to be some major security surrounding the system, but it would be awesome and convenient both for the membership and employees.

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