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Credit Union 1

Founded over 55 years ago, Credit Union 1 is Alaska's second largest financial cooperative. The credit union’s mission is to help its 52,000+ members across the entire state of Alaska achieve their financial goals by focusing on excellent service and value. In a state that is huge geographically, but tiny in terms of population, the credit union faces stiff competition to gain new members as well as trying to maintain its existing membership base. To entice new members to join the credit union and reward existing members, Credit Union 1 needed a state-of-the-art, comprehensive member rewards program. Their choice was one of the top software development firms focused on the credit union industry: CUBUS Solutions, Inc.

Leslie Ellis, President and CEO of Credit Union 1, explains “Our ‘1 For All’ member rewards program is a key part of our business strategy. We really view it as a worthwhile long term investment.” The development of this sophisticated program took a great deal of work for both the credit union and CUBUS Solutions. Leslie recalls, “We worked closely to develop the interface and design the program to our specifications. We have had an excellent relationship with CUBUS over the years.”

Using their years of credit union experience, the software development team at CUBUS Solutions tied the “1 For All” application into the credit union’s in–house UltraData core data processing system. According to Leslie, “it was a huge undertaking to completely integrate the program with UltraData, as well as with our statements and online banking modules. But everyone worked together well and the effort has been worth it.” 

The next step involved extensive employee and member focus group testing. Again, CUBUS Solutions and Credit Union 1 worked closely to ensure that the final product was easy to use, and drove the desired behavior from members. Leslie notes “after plenty of internal testing, we went live early in 2005, with the rollout to our members going very smoothly.”

In action, Credit Union 1 members earn points for many of their financial activities such as checking, savings, certificates, loans, e-statements, bill pay, and debitcards. Each month members are awarded points for their financial relationship with the credit union, and they can easily and securely track their points on the credit union’s website. Leslie points out that “we are rewarding our existing members and showing them that we appreciate their loyalty with this program, plus we are looking to add new members to join us and be rewarded for just doing the things that they would normally do. It is really a practical and easy to use program.”

This last statement is proven by the fact that the credit union has noticed that redemption rates are rising every month, spurred by word of mouth and the credit union’s branding efforts. Lisa Monsen, Executive Vice President and CFO at Credit Union 1, stated “a couple of areas where we can definitely tell that the rewards program is helping is with cross selling of services as well as with growth in signature based Visa debit transactions where we earn interchange revenue.” Case in point: the credit union’s signature based transactions actually increased 41% from November 2005 to November 2006! As for cross selling benefits, Lisa explains that “our rewards program helps our member service representatives to cross sell other services when they can show the new member the points they will earn and rewards they can receive from opening additional accounts.”

In terms of redemption, members have numerous options: a higher dividend on a certificate of deposit; gift cards for $5 - $100 at local and national retailers and movie houses; discounts on loans; and iPods, free boxes of credit union checks; free creditxpert reports; to name some of them. Recognizing its role in the community, the credit union’s most recent addition to the program is the capability for a member to donate their points to charity. Leslie points out that “members are now requesting enhancements to the program and we solicit feedback via ongoing member surveys. CUBUS has done a nice job helping us with the enhancements to make the program even better.”

In addition to the “1 For All” member rewards program, CUBUS Solutions has helped Credit Union 1 implement a comprehensive member notification service using its CUNotify program. This next generation financial application helps members stay on top of critical alerts about their accounts whenever and wherever they need them. Credit Union 1 has rolled this service out as their “Money Messages” program. 

Leslie confirms “this is a very good and stable program that has been well received by our members. Whether it is a member alert or a member rewards program that they wish to implement, we highly recommend that any credit union work with CUBUS Solutions.”

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