2023 Tekkie Award for Digital Transformation: Los Angeles Federal Credit Union
By Roy Urrico
The goal of providing a secure and affordable source for borrowing and saving during challenging economic periods, including the Great Depression, has not changed since the credit union’s founding in 1936. With an initial deposit of $65, a dozen Los Angeles City employees established the Los Angeles City Employees Federal Credit Union.
As the credit union grew significantly and expanded its membership, which began by including immediate family members of City employees and individuals who lived in the same household as a current member. Today, anyone residing in the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area is eligible to open an account at the credit union by either working for the City of Los Angeles, or after making a minimum donation to the Los Angeles Charitable Association (LACA).
The credit union changed its name to Los Angeles Federal Credit Union (LAFCU) in 1987. Today, LAFCU has its headquarters in Glendale, Calif., more than $1.2 billion in assets and 73,000 members, with more than 160 employees and seven branches across Los Angeles County.
With a strong focus on meeting its members' financial needs and giving back to the community, LAFCU needed a way to provide an easier, more engaging digital experience for members to access the financial products they need across all digital channels, for all aspects of their lives – personal loans, auto loans, mortgages– at their convenience.
Finding Its Answer
LAFCU found its answer in 2021 with TruStage Digital Storefront, formerly known as CuneXus, which presented a digital e-commerce storefront. This allowed LAFCU to engage with its members and expand on-demand access to best-in-class financial products and services across all channels covering mobile, desktop, contact center and branch.
“The digital storefront allowed my credit union members to accept their preapproved offer or apply for a loan quickly and easily with just a few clicks,” said Marty Goodman, vice president, head of marketing at LAFCU. He added, “The storefront placed everything in one easy-to-access space from a tab in mobile/online banking. Preapproved members are made aware of their specific pre-approvals via direct mail paper letter, email, and a targeted message in mobile/online banking.”
The strategic planning involved finding a more complete buying and borrowing experience, leveraging data and new technologies to offer a full suite of financing options that make it easier for members to access financial services anytime, anywhere. LAFCU needed a solution that was intuitive and easy for both members and team associates to use, and provided great data-analysis and tracking capabilities – ensuring accountholders do not receive untargeted and irrelevant offerings, or pitches for products for which they do not qualify. The solution also require a tight integration with existing technologies.
The TruStage Digital Storefront provides LAFCU members with an ‘always-on’ digital experience where they can instantly receive relevant products and services that equip them with every opportunity for financial excellence from their trusted credit union. Plus, the fintech already had integrations in place with LAFCU’s existing partners, including Lumin Digital and MeridianLink, making for an easy addition to their lending platform.
More Than a Storefront
Through the storefront, LAFCU can offer quick, convenient, and personalized loan offers and experiences that do not require the member to leave the credit union environment to research their options, particularly vital in today’s increasingly competitive market. These offerings include everything from preapproved loans and consumer loan applications for all retail products down to deposits, mortgages, insurance, wealth management and more. Members can access these offerings as soon as they log onto their online banking and begin their buying experience.
This technology provides members with information of exclusive opportunities — giving them confidence to make smart financial decisions rather than hesitation and fear of rejection by their institution. Plus, LAFCU presents members options upfront as members shop, ensuring the credit union stays at the ready across all stages of the member’s financing journey. This gains members’ trust and increases LAFCU’s potential wallet share.
The credit union acknowledged having more modern technology reduces the need for multiple vendors, systems, and staff resources. It also allows for the automation of processes, and enhancement of efficiencies – such as simplifying the loan application process to a few clicks for preapproved loans; and better positions LAFCU for future growth.
The digital storefront now represents a key member engagement tool for LAFCU, which is currently engaging members across credit cards, auto and personal loans and deposit accounts with plans to add additional products in the future.
Said Goodman, “The results have been better than expected, with more members accepting offers via the (TruStage Digital Storefront) versus prior to hiring them when we only made members aware of pre-approvals every 90 days via direct mail, email and a targeted message in mobile/online banking.”
LAFCU has also run retargeted campaigns to different segments of its membership for those who visited the storefront and engaged in a product but have not moved forward with their application. Even members not enrolled in online banking received digital storefront benefits via email campaigns, enabling them to access a secure landing page taking them to the TruStage storefront.
Since launching this digital e-commerce experience, LAFCU has experienced “incredible engagement,” according to the credit union.
Results during a typical campaign (60 days):
· Over $1.7 billion in vehicle loan offers made to credit union members.
· Forty percent of all members are preapproved for their choice of a vehicle loan, personal unsecured loan, or credit card.
· One percent of preapproved members redeem a loan or card offer from the “My Offer” link inside online banking.
· Other products or services (“Wild Cards”) are promoted in My Offers, like share certificates, investment services, and HELOCs.
Transforming to an Award-Winning Experience
The TruStage Digital Storefront has helped to transform the members’ and employees’ digital experience for LAFCU by providing them with a modern ecommerce experience that provides relevant and targeted products and services. LAFCU no longer provides members with a one-size fits all solution.
Rather they are offering an out-of-box, personalized and relevant on demand experience that shows the credit union understands its member’s needs, ultimately creating a happier more engaged membership, as well as driving significant retention rates for the credit union.
Reacting to winning a Tekkie award, Goodman said “It is an honor and we are very proud. We want to thank (TruStage Perpetual Offers) for providing a valuable service that helped us win this award.”