After a decade in financial and customer services, Kathleen Craig, began researching ways for credit unions to better engage with their members. Craig’s passion for technology led her to create HTMA Holdings, Inc.
In January 2013, she launched the company’s first product, Member Jr.Craig was inspired to create Member Jr. to address the need for improved financial literacy for children. With personal finances not covered in most schools and majority (76 percent) of parents reluctant to discuss finances with their children, there was a void that needed to be filled to set the next generation on the path to financial wellness.
The free mobile application is designed to demonstrate the benefits of saving to children ages three to twelve years old as well as give financial institutions the opportunity to tap into their up and coming member base through a branded platform. Member Jr. is now licensed by financial institutions in 22 states.
Last year, Southwest Airlines Federal Credit Union launched Ace Jr., white labeled on HTMA’s Member Jr. platform, to help improve children’s financial literacy by teaching them how to set savings goals and monitor their accounts while playing interactive and informative games. With varying degrees of difficultly, the games and lessons ensure that users are engaged as they play and learn important financial skills.
“We wanted a tool that would help our younger members learn the proper ways to handle money, so when they are adults, they can have a better understanding of personal finances,” said Taylor Rogers, Senior Marketing Specialist of Southwest Airlines Federal Credit Union. “With Ace Jr., we can meet our youth members where they already are with technology. They love that the interactive app shows them what they have accomplished and earned as a result. Our goal was to have 75 percent of our kid members on the app, and in just a few months, we were well on our way to achieving it.”
After the success of Member Jr., Craig set her sights on the needs of the Millennial market.Business Insider reported that more than half of Millennials do not have a retirement account and that the average net worth of a Millennial was less than $8,000. While their findings showed that Millennials want to prioritize savings, many did not actively save or know how to start. Over the last few years, HTMA has conducted extensive research to better understand these needs inspiring the company’s next innovation – Plinqit.
Plinqit is a brandable, mobile-first platform that is elegant and highly powerful at the same time. Unlike any other savings app, Plinqit’s patent-pending Build Skills™ pays users for engaging with content, creating higher user engagement for credit unions and improved financial literacy for its members with a reward.
In 2019, Plinqit saw substantially higher user engagement (55 percent on average) compared to other finance apps that have an average engagement rate of only 36.3 percent. Since its launch in 2018, more than half of Plinqit users have completed their savings goal with the majority of those users starting new goals to continue saving with Plinqit. This increased interaction with the app contributed to rapid growth with total Plinqit deposit growth increasing by 287 percent by the end of last year.
With the savings platform’s success, the company has increased partnerships, now serving clients in over 20 states from $26 million to over $40 billion in assets. One recent credit union to partner with HTMA to offer Plinqit is West Community Credit Union.
While working with St. Louis-based SixThirty,a fintech accelerator focused on late-seed stage startups that have a product, West Community Credit Union was introduced to Plinqit. The innovative credit union launched Plinqit as a better way to introduce themselves to potential members rather than relying on traditional marketing channels.
“At West Community Credit Union, we strive to provide our members with the most innovative technology,” said KorenGreubel, Vice President of Marketing of West Community Credit Union. “Because of this, we regularly explore what fintechs have to offer. With a seamless implementation and a platform that can help our members take steps on the path to financial freedom, Plinqit is an ideal partner for our credit union.”
The app’s success has attracted the attention of the financial industry. In 2019, Plinqit was selected as a finalist for Bank Director’s Best of FinXTech Awards, recognizing its innovative methods to encourage saving and increase customer engagement. The savings platform was also featured at Finovate Fall.
Craig’s passion for financial technology and education has continued to drive HTMA’s growth. In 2019, HTMA expanded its offerings to include Hip Pocket™,a platform that engages mobile and website visitors by using social influence and personalized consultation to generate new, qualified mortgage and retirement leads.
A great complement to HTMA’s existing range of products, Hip Pocket empowers members to grow their knowledge of personal finances while also helping financial institutions provide better digital offerings. The platform was created to help users save money and facilitate deeper connections with members.
With credit unions facing strong competition for deposits, cost effective member acquisition and revenue optimization are top priorities. HTMA’s portfolio of products, including Member Jr., Plinqit and Hip Pocket, provide attractive digital offerings that help credit unions increase deposits, bring in new relationships, generate valuable cross-sell opportunities and increase overall engagement between credit unions and members.