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Altra Federal Credit Union Gives a Masterclass on Financial Wellness Support

November 23, 2021 by Emily Fagan, Brand Strategist for Segmint

73% of Americans rank their finances as the number one stress in their life.1

To solve for the significant gap of overall financial health and wellness that has plagued the financial industry, look inward: at your data and your offerings.  The problem is two-fold: a lack of tools and financial education programs to empower those account holders suffering from financial stress; and the inability to proactively identify those who are in or on their way to financial hardship.
Financial institutions traditionally have not done enough to bridge the gap, and account holders today expect their primary FI to anticipate and solve all of their financial needs. Whether an account holder proactively reaches out for help or not, financial institutions are the experts and need to initiate outreach on all channels with tools, educational programs and advice.
The picture is not as dire as some experts may believe, with the commitment of FIs like Altra Federal Credit Union (with locations in six states across the country) stepping up to support their members’ financial health needs...we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

"Altra took a hard look at industry trends, and our own data...we realized that one of the best opportunities for us to better serve our members was by increasing our focus on their overall financial wellness." says Kelly Bauer, Marketing Analyst with Altra.

“Our Vision Statement is ‘Helping You Live Your Best Life’ - how could we do that without addressing the financial education of our members?”

– Kelly Bauer, Marketing Analyst with Altra

As part of their multi-pronged approach, Altra Federal Credit Union recently launched a Financial Wellness Quiz powered by Attune, and built out a dedicated resources section on their website. Not everyone is comfortable asking for help, or even aware that they’re falling behind where they should be financially.

Cheryl Dutton, Vice President of Marketing for Altra says, “We are providing a new level of service that will help us establish long term relationships and develop brand trust with our members.”

“Using Financial Health KLIs, we are able to run proactive outreach campaigns to our members who are showing signs of financial stress, without them needing to seek us out."

– Cheryl Dutton, VP of Marketing for Altra Federal Credit Union

Credit unions are uniquely positioned to provide complimentary practical education and services, as well as necessary financial products that support savings, investing, and provide easier access to credit.2 Yet even with access to colossal amounts of data, it’s hard to make sense of all the information available to truly help customers reach their full financial potential.  Credit unions can expose hidden information through analyzing recurring financial spend patterns and credit transactions, providing insights to build audiences based on lifestyle, needs and preferences, oftentimes revealing signs of financial stress.  All financial institutions have an obligation to ensure account holders are in the best financial state they can be in.2 Making overall financial health and wellbeing a fundamental principle within an FI’s ecosystem, can oftentimes result in a positive direct impact on account holder relationships and financial stability, revenue, long-term brand loyalty and relevancy.
Make a conscientious effort to market relevantly to those audiences whose behavior says that they are in need of support, and offer them the right product or service. Done intelligently, the FI will be proactive and ready before consumers are willing to admit they need help.

How can FI’s reduce stress for account holders...

Armed with information about account holders’ spending and earning behavior, and with the right fintech partner, an FI can tailor outreach programs to assist and empower people with their unique financial situation.
Here are some suggestions for financial wellness education and offer opportunities, all of which should be targeted to specific segments of your overall audience, to maximize success and minimize overcommunication:
● Set up a knowledge center on your website to educate members about programs and products, while also providing free easy to understand advice.

● Make the process fun by utilizing a quiz for members to learn where their strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to financial health.

● Author a series of emails aimed at educating your account holders about their options when it comes to their finances.

● Record or host live Q&A events with in-house mortgage, loan and investment specialists.

● Communicate through teller, and in-branch signage that financial counseling is available by appointment, for free.

● Offer products, such as balance transfers, to those making payments to multiple held away credit card providers.

● Communicate personal loans or increased balance credit card offers to those who recently stopped receiving payroll deposits or who began receiving unemployment payments.

● Offer to delay a personal loan, HELOC or mortgage payment to the end of the loan, giving account holders more money in their pocket now, when they need it.

● For those who have a recent increase in their payroll deposits, offer timely  product offers and events around the topic of investments.

If you don’t help them...someone else will.

Strategically, financial wellness conversations open the door to lending opportunities. PYMNTS research found that roughly 11% of the population, equivalent to 29 million individuals, have used Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) vendors at least once over the past 12 months. Nearly half of all consumers who use BNPL also said they would like to get that service from their bank or credit card issuer.3  

While BNPL vendors may be currently targeting shoppers in order to offer their services as part of the ecommerce experience, not every provider is so niche. Direct competitors are seeing the benefits of offering financial counseling services and options for small personal loans. They are actively targeting advertising campaigns to account holders, across all marketing channels.
At a time when competition can be fierce, targeted programs can assist consumers when relevant advice and services are needed. Now is the time to make financial wellness a fundamental principle for the future of banking providers.2