The real use for Twitter in CU’s (and Banks)

Screw banks and CU’s using Twitter.  It is over rated and doesn’t give you any ROI.  I don’t care if you are having a seminar on credit reports or a shred day.  Pilcher’s Twitter directory is fine and dandy and it does a great job demonstrating that nobody is using Twitter except to regurgigate tired marketing messages.  Twitter could be a real communication tool for your members if it is a medium they are currently using.  You’ve surveyed your members and done your market research so you know what percentage of your membership is on Twitter, right?

Why the hell don’t we actually make Twitter a useful communication tool?  Think about how text banking works.  I text bal to MYCUBAL or whatever and 10 or 20 seconds goes by and my balance comes back.  Whoo hoo.  Why don’t we do the same thing with Twitter?  Log into online banking and link your Twitter username to your online banking account.  Tweet a direct message to your credit union with a command like bal or last 5.  The CU’s application grabs the direct message, looks up the Twitter username in online banking and pulls the balance out of the OFX server or directly from the core.  Then the application direct messages the CU member back.

Duh.  Seems like a no brainer to me.  Let’s get off the marketing band wagon with Twitter and figure out how to actually make it a useful tool for our membership.

Update:  I was just catching up on my feeds and noticed the post at The Financial Brand about the How To: Twitter for FI’s guide.  Look at the bullet points:

  • Promote new products and offers
  • Share personal finance tips
  • Express their brand and reveal their personalities
  • Build community outreach programs
  • Provide information about community events and activities
  • Increase exposure for their charitable and philanthropic efforts

Pick one of those that isn’t marketing and show me one useful thing that a member could use any of that for.  Oh wait, you can’t.

A kid in a candy store

Life is crazy. I’ve got a lot of cool projects coming down the pipe that I can’t wait to share with everyone. I’ve got a super-sweet secret project going with the great Brent Dixon, some kick butt online banking stuff that nobody is doing, and a few other little tricks up my sleeve.

I was in DC for the GAC a few weeks back now, and as usual, it was a tremendous conference. I would highly recommend attending it anytime you can if you can swallow the pill and fork out the dough to say in DC.  

Times are good and I love credit unions.

How well are credit unions prepared for data center outages?

 Back in July, 365 Main, a major data center hosting companies such as c|net, Craigslist, e-surance, and the Oakland Raiders, lost power.  For most of the day.  And 365 Main has the time, money, and resources to make sure that (almost) never happens.  Here is the full story straight from 365 Main.  Jesse Robbins has a slightly more digestible version here at O’Reilly Radar.

 So if a major provider like 365 Main can drop clients for half the day, what protections are in place in our CU’s?  What are reasonable expectations from our members?  Do we need to stay up for 24 hours after a power outage, or just survive until the power company comes out to replace the broken transformer or power pole?  Obviously the most important thing is data loss and, for the most part, as long as the CU has the appropriate safeguards in place to protect against power surges, the servers and data should be safe from melting.  After basic data preservation then comes up time.  As a member, how would you feel if you went into a branch and the teller said that they couldn’t actually do anything on your account until tomorrow because their computer system was down?  You probably wouldn’t have online banking to check your balance and the CU would probably have to limit the amount of cash they could withdraw for members since they don’t actually know how much each member has.  So out comes the pen and paper to hand write which members took how much money.  Not an ideal situation.

Put the members’ hat on.  What would they expect?  I’d be miffed if I couldn’t get cash out, but I’d probably survive.  For a day.