30 Months. 20,000 New Members. $84 Million New Auto Loans.

Pioneer Federal Credit Union ($442.6M, Mountain Home, ID) is adding members and loans alike by analyzing credit scores and inviting new members to join the cooperative.

The Idaho credit union began its Credit Score Analysis program in January 2015. Since then, it has completed more than 5,000 credit reviews and has helped even more members than that boost their scores through refinancing and financial checkups.

Pioneer offers credit score analysis to members and non-members alike in its 14 branches, on the credit union’s website, over the phone, or through email or chat.

“This is an ongoing program that we offer to all our members and anyone in the community,” says Elizabeth Thomas, Pioneer’s vice president of marketing and development.

The credit union focuses on raising credit scores — members with a score of 720 or higher qualify for the 720 Club, which ensures the best loan rates Pioneer has to offer — lowering monthly payments, and eliminating high-interest credit card debt. The result: These programs have helped Pioneer add 19,598 new members from January 2015 through August 2017 and make 4,883 direct auto loans totaling $83.9 million.

“We didn’t set specific goals for the CSA program and 720 Club because we didn’t know what to expect,” says Pioneer president and CEO Curt Perry. “Anecdotally, though, we’ve realized much deeper relationships between our members and employees.”

The deeper relationships result from helping borrowers get out of high-interest loans whenever possible and financial checkups that keep members on the right path, especially when times are tough.

“The best time to strengthen partnerships with our members and community is in their time of need, not just when they’re at the height of success,” says marketing VP Thomas.

Those times of need include during deaths, divorces, or mounting medical bills.

“If we can help them during some of the most difficult experiences of their life, we’ve created great levels of loyalty with them,” CEO Perry says.

Pioneer markets its CSA program through television, radio, web, and print as well as during special events. The Gem State credit union has found personal connections have proven particularly powerful.

“Many of our team members’ family and friends have participated in the Credit Score Analysis program,” Thomas says. “People trust their friends’ word over any marketing tactic we could use.”

Employees can earn $100 for bringing a loan of more than $10,000 to the credit union, but that’s not the sole incentive.

“The success stories are what really drives the program for our employees,” Thomas says. “To save someone five, 10, 20 thousand dollars … is an opportunity for us to build lifelong relationships."

Pioneer now is further building relationships by filling out its portfolio with new mortgage options.

“Many of our members had wanted their full relationship here, but we didn’t have the full mortgage offering that many needed,” CEO Perry says.

So, Pioneer has added options like VA and FHA loans. Funded first mortgages for the first eight months of 2017 topped $11 million, compared with $4.5 million in the same period of 2016.

The best time to strengthen partnerships with our members and community is in their time of need, not just when they’re at the height of success.

“Now, we’re able to meet the mortgage needs of all our members,” Perry says. “On top of that, we’re seeing a steady increase in non-member mortgage applications, which is great news because we haven’t yet spent any marketing dollars on promoting our mortgages externally.”

Pioneer plans to continue to expand the CSA program, emphasizing its value across the credit spectrum and building out the tracking process to keep tabs on how members are progressing through their partnership with their credit union.

“The CSA program is relevant for members in all cycles of life,” Perry says. “Whether they’re in need of improving their credit score or already have A+ credit, we can help them get there or help them celebrate the success they already have achieved.”

Nov. 13, 2017

http://www.creditunions.com/articles/30-months-20000-new-members-84-million-new-auto-loans/

Source: CreditUnions.com: http://www.CreditUnions.com © 2017 Callahan & Associates, Inc. P: 800-446-7453 F: 800-878-4712