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Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union Enhances Digital Channels and Messaging to Support Members During the COVID-19 Crisis

To better serve its more than 100,000 members, Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union recognized the need to enhance its digital services and communicate more efficiently with their members. The Clinton Township, Michigan-based credit union recently engaged with Access Softek to implement its online and mobile banking, which also integrates with DeepTarget’s digital experience platform. The platform allows financial institutions to manage a seamless communications experience, ultimately enhancing their overall messaging strategy to improve engagement with consumers and meet their needs.

Like most other states, when the pandemic swept across Michigan, businesses began to shut down to adhere to shelter-in-place orders and keep their employees and members safe. Fortunately, the credit union had recently upgraded their digital services. In fact, the day that the institution ‘officially’ switched to their new banking system was also the first day that a coronavirus case was reported in Michigan.

“As the pandemic sent more people home, online and mobile banking grew in importance,” said Julie Donnellon, Marketing Special Projects Manager, Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union. “Our team at MSGCU realized the need to generate registrations while also teaching our members how to use the system. Having DeepTarget integrated into our system became critical, allowing us to highlight aspects of the new system and link them directly to video tutorials. That way these members, who were perhaps viewing this platform for the first time, could learn more about it.”

As the pandemic progressed, the credit union saw a clear need to update its messaging. The messaging strategy included staying on top of the changing COVID landscape in the surrounding areas (adjusting operations and communications accordingly), promoting the credit union’s new online and mobile banking channel and relying on member feedback to develop messaging to ease member concerns.

Relying on its front line to understand member concerns, MSGCU leveraged the feedback to learn how to evolve during this crisis and to better meet member needs. For instance, as the pandemic continued and stimulus checks were distributed, the institution saw the rise of new scams and a heightened potential for fraudulent activity. To combat this challenge, the credit union stayed on the forefront, educating members about security and dedicating resources to promote security tips as well.

“With dedicated executive and management teams as well as our committed front-line, we were able to strengthen our partnerships and create an actionable plan to support our members all while preserving our mission to the community, business model and specific targets. In building our relief plans, we received a ton of member feedback, expressing their thoughts on our solutions and asking for help. All of which helped guide our response to the situation,” stated Donnellon.

The credit union understood the economic impact of the pandemic on the communities that they serve. Their executive and management teams got to work right away, opening communication lines wider than ever before and providing more frequent updates to develop potential solutions during these stressful times. In their adjustments, the institution made calculated and targeted responses to the changing needs of their members.

With loans, products were repositioned as flexible solutions to provide their communities with the funds they needed or to help minimize their other monthly payment commitments. With deposits, the credit union shifted away from rate-specific messaging and instead highlighted the security that savings accounts offer while the stock market was volatile.

The institution also quickly rolled-out a relief package of solutions to help shelter their members from financial strain, such as zero percent interest relief loans up to $2,500 and have so far loaned out more than half a million dollars. Members also were provided the option to skip payments for 90 days (on both consumer and mortgage loans for free), and the institution has been able to process nearly 5,000 of these requests. Further helping its members, loan extensions and credit limits have been increased for nearly 1,000 members that have made the request. And, with branch lobbies closed and members relying more on ATMs as well as online and mobile banking, their team made the decision to wave fees related to these channels, including regulation D transaction limits, fees for out-of-network ATMs, overdraft transfers and more.

Additionally, the credit union quickly realized the need to measure the performance of its relief plan while also tracking member feedback from direct responses via emails, social media comments, phone calls and more. The institution developed dashboards to manage and track the plan’s performance while utilizing DeepTarget’s reporting to track member responses. Even though the credit union’s previous online banking system included advertising, for the first time ever, their team was able to not only target their messaging, but also track member responses with DeepTarget’s reporting function. 

The institution’s “people helping people” philosophy serves as their guide to all of initiatives as the goal is to continue promoting financial success for their members, which is why it’s no surprise that they have seen a positive response to the shift in their messaging and the relief plan that was put in place.

“As we continue to learn more about the new tools that are available to us, including DeepTarget, there is an excitement across our organization as others start to see how we can utilize it even more. Just last week, our credit team was eager to learn how we could specifically target our members with available balances on their home equity lines of credit, so that we could remind them that they can turn to this line if they need it. This option can also serve to educate members about how easy it is to access those funds. We are thankful that these tools have improved communication with not only our members but also our employees – providing exciting opportunities for cross-department brainstorming,” explained Donnellon.

Although the credit union’s digital services were recently upgraded, the institution recognized the need for continued innovation. A sub-par digital experience often plays into why people switch financial institutions, and MSGCU understands that they need to ensure that their digital channels provide the same high-level service that members expect when they walk into a branch. It is pivotal to incorporate that same personalized experience into online and digital channels.

Rather than bombarding members with general advertisements that may seem like noise, the credit union utilizes DeepTarget’s intelligent digital marketing and sales technology – relying on behavioral data for targeting that allows the credit union to put a tailored solution in front of each individual member that is thoroughly crafted to meet their specific needs. To strengthen their commitment to the community and increase their digital outreach, the credit union is committed to further its digital evolution by listening to its members’ needs and providing thoughtful and efficient solutions.

“Access Softek and DeepTarget have been imperative to our success, both during our online and mobile banking conversion and with our coronavirus messaging. Out of the gate, we had greater controls over the system and a heightened capability to craft custom messaging, which has led to a higher level of member engagement. With more and more members using online and mobile banking as their primary access point to their funds, having our messaging appear across those channels – with the ability to target audiences and change messaging in real-time – was an important tool to have at our fingertips and has been a significant improvement for our team and our members,” said Donnellon.

About DeepTarget: 
DeepTarget helps financial institutions integrate data sources for the purpose of driving meaningful digital engagements that yield more loans and deposits. Their unique solutions help banks and credit unions connect with their customers or members with messages that resonate. DeepTarget’s intelligent digital marketing and sales solutions are used by hundreds of banks and credit unions to provide a seamless communications experience wherever, whenever, and however their customers or members bank. Additional information is available at www.deeptarget.com.

This content is for CU BUSINESS eMagazine , THE TEAM BUILDER (GROUP SUBSCRIPTION), and Special Deal: 2 websites members only.
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