Summit Credit Union Starts Webinar Program for Members

summit-cu-logo.jpgSome credit unions are investing in their members by offering free financial seminars, which is of course a smart move in a society that lacks many basic budgeting skills. A common problem with these seminars is getting people to show up – people see the value, they just have so many other commitments and time constraints.

Summit Credit Union in Greensboro is trying an interesting way to get around this problem – starting January 17th, they’ll be hosting financial education sessions by Webinar. Summit CEO Sam Whitehurst will present a one-hour session starting at 6:30 pm that will help members understand how to raise their credit scores and lower their costs of borrowing.

Glenn Kirk, who is Summit’s VP of marketing and business development, told me the credit union has been offering financial education seminars for more than a year, but it’s been a struggle to get people to participate. Summit’s SEG-based membership is scattered throughout the Triad and other parts of the State, and getting an audience to come to Summit’s headquarters location on Market Street has been difficult.

The Webinar allows members with a broadband connection to see and receive the presentation, plus ask questions. It’s also easier for the Summit staff – no set-up and clean-up of the meeting room … all they have to do is turn the camera on and off!

A typical in-person presentation would have fewer than five people in attendance, and Kirk said that twelve people registered to participate in the Webinar in the first couple of days after the announcement went out to members. The early success and interest in this first Webinar has convinced Kirk and Whitehurst that they’re on to something, and they are already planning more of these Webinars a little later in the year.

In addition to this high tech approach to reaching members, Summit is also doing SEG visits specifically to offer financial education to members and prospects.

Kudos to Summit for figuring out a much more convenient way of delivering vital information to its members! With the subprime mortgage mess unfolding and many folks struggling with credit card debt, it’s clear that this type of education is needed.

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8 Responses

  1. Congrats to Summit CU for using this tech to reach their members. A webinar is just more convenient for more people. Makes sense that there would be a better response. I’d be much more open to sitting down at my computer for an hour or so than I would be to sitting in the CU lobby.

  2. Why not save and archive it on your website for viewing whenever the members want? I know Camtasia Studios offers a product that will let you do this and it puts things on the members timetable! Great idea and Congrats to Summit CU!!

  3. We are using WebEx and they do offer this solution. We plan to add the link to our website. Thanks for the encouragement. Wish us luck with being able to make the technology work the way we hope it will. Mainly we are concerned about the members on the other side who may not have used WebEx or have older computers. We will see!

  4. Sam: Good luck with the launch! We’ll look forward to hearing how it goes and where this new opportunity will take you!

  5. Another good reason to host these virtually is the shame some people feel about acknowledging their shortcomings publicly. It may seem silly, but some folks just don’t feel comfortable walking into a classroom, even if it’s filled with a bunch of other folks who don’t know diddly either.

  6. The webinar was a great success for us. We had over 15 members attend compared to just 4 at our Saturday lunch and learn at our administrative office. The technology worked for all but one attendee, even through this was the first webinar experience for over 1/2 of the attendees. We even had one member attend from Maryland and another from South Carolina. Without the webinar format they would not have been able to attend and get this valuable information. Before I got home I received the following e-mail from an attendee:

    You are probably inundated with emails and I apologize for adding yet another. I wanted, however, to thank you for taking the time to present the ‘webinar’ about increasing credit scores. You provided a wealth of information in a relatively short amount of time. The seminar was great. I had watched a seminar (no available participation) on the internet concerning this subject presented by someone with too many interests in the “seminar”. I felt like I needed to take a shower afterward. In participating in your teleconference I am grateful to receive valuable information from someone credible and from a credible institution. I am so happy I belong to Summit Credit Union! Your taking the time to present the information and to talk with members speaks volumes.

    Your employees are also extremely helpful. After applying for the credit builder loan I met with an employee at Winston-Salem branch. In addition to completing the paper work for the loan she also gave me valuable information concerning managing credit and increasing credit scores. She also provided me with information concerning mortgages and home ownership. It was amazing not to feel like a “number.”

    Thank you so much.

    Stephanie

  7. Thanks, Jeff, for bringing this story to us, and congratulations to Sam Whitehurst, Glenn Kirk and Summit CU for a resounding success- a true win/win for both CU and members. This topic of Member Webinars is now also being discussed on EverythingCU.com

  8. @Jeffry: Outstanding point! Money is such a personal thing for people, and hopefully this format helps people not feel so vulnerable.

    @Sam: Thanks for the follow-up! What a wonderful result, and what great feedback to get immediately from a member/attendee! Good luck with these in the future – and keep us posted.

    @Morriss: Awesome! Everything CU is a great resource for folks to check out, and I look forward to watching the conversation unfold there.

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