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  • Writer's pictureRoy Urrico

Credit Union Helps Members (And Non-Members) Achieve Financial Literacy Through Key Fintech Partners

By Roy Urrico

About a year ago, the $1.3 billion Texarkana, Texas-based Red River Credit Union (RRCU), successfully launched Zogo, which provides members and non-members with access to financial education lessons and tidbits, and then rewards them in the process. The financial literacy app was integrated with RRCU’s digital platform, supplied by Q2, through Q2's Innovation Studio.

RRCU wanted to bring financial education access to its 115,000 members, plus its community and local schools. “Financial literacy is a critical part of the journey toward financial freedom. RRCU is dedicated to providing our members, young and old, with the tools they need to build a bright financial future — a goal we can work toward together,” reads the credit union website promotion for its financial literacy program.

Brad Bailey, president/CEO, Red River Credit Union.

“We had tried other ways of financial education, a couple of other vendors that provided videos in-house, and nothing seemed to really work. We knew that we had to do something and be able to reach our membership.” said Brad Bailey, president/CEO, Red River Credit Union.

Zogo’s presentation, a little more than a year ago, “just knocked my socks off. I thought it was perfect for us,” added Bailey. “But the main thing, it had to integrate with our home banking and mobile banking.” Once Zogo assured RRCU it could work with Q2 on integration, “That kind of sealed the deal, right there.”

Red River Credit Union’s use of the Q2 digital banking platform enabled the credit union to offer financial literacy capabilities to its members, explained Johnny Ola, managing director of Q2 Innovation Studio, a portfolio of technologies and programs for fintechs, financial institutions (FIs), and other technology providers to leverage Q2’s open digital banking platform. “We just love the story here because financial wellness is such a hot topic. They have seen amazing engagement from the member base at Red River. We are proud to partner with both organizations to bring this forward.”

A Big Success

Red River Credit Union launched Zogo to its members via its Q2 integration on March 7, 2022. Members and non-members gained access to the financial education platform at no cost. RRCU offers financial courses, presentations, and workshops as an outreach for students (pre-K through 12th grade) and the adult community.

Chuck Long, head of revenue at Zogo.

Users can access nearly 300 bite-sized educational modules. Each module begins by teaching five concepts complete with a five-question quiz. Topics include essential banking basics, budgeting, using credit wisely, identity theft and taxes. “It's about being relevant when important things come up and being able to educate, consumers on what's going on in the world,” said Chuck Long, head of revenue at Zogo.

RRCU users earns points in the form of pineapples for completing each educational module. Users can exchange pineapples for $5, $10, and $15 gift cards, and other rewards.

Before its official launch, the credit union offered Zogo to its staff for several months. “We wanted our employees to get used to it,” said Bailey. “It was surprising that not only the young people, but a lot of long-term employees actually started using it and earning the gift cards. When we rolled it out (to members) it has been nothing but surprising how popular it's been.”

The results so far show:

· About 25,000 members enrolled in the financial health program.

· More than 40% of enrolled members have completed one or more of financial health objectives through Zogo.

· More than 110,000 bite-sized educational lessons absorbed.

· More than 125,000 financial health objectives completed.

Coming Together for Financial Learning

The Austin, Texas-based Zogo, which began in the dorm rooms at Duke University in Durham, N.C., offers a suite of products with financial learning morsels and modules incentivized with rewards. Zogo partners with financial institutions, fintechs, schools, and more to make financial education simple, fun, and accessible for all, Long explained.

After launching in November 2019, Zogo tried appealing to credit unions directly as a standalone program, downloadable from the App Store and Google Play, according to Long. When first contacted by the RRCU team, Bailey asked whether Zogo could integrate within the credit union’s Q2 digital platform.

That led to Zogo working with the Q2 Innovation Studio to create a single-sign on, iframe (inline frame, an HTML component that loads another HTML page) integration that embeds seamlessly within the Q2 digital experience. They got into a testing environment within a week, noted Ola. “It is pretty wildly impressive. We are super excited about that. The great part about it is once Zogo built that integration with us, it can literally be turned on in a week.”

“So now we have this turnkey solution to offer engaging bite-size education and rewards within the app,” added Long. “Q2 was the first platform we integrated with because they made it so easy.”

Zogo provides learn-and-earn sections where users can learn about topics such as lending, budgeting and credit. Long revealed, “With Red River (Credit Union), we offer (members) the opportunity to get rewarded for signing on and using the mobile banking app daily, learning important educational topics, (and) joining our daily trivia game.”

Zogo can also support the credit union in other ways. “We're supporting Red River and allowing their members to get rewarded for signing up for e statements,” Long maintained.

Making Financial Education Work

Johnny Ola, managing director of Q2 Innovation Studio.

Austin, Texas-based Q2 Holdings, Inc. a provider of financial digital transformation, offers its Q2 Innovation Studio that employs Q2’s software development kit (SDK), which more than 400 credit unions and banks can use to integrate different experiences, according to Ola.

Ola confirmed the Q2 Innovation Studio has over 110 fintech partnerships and other related partners. “We've doubled that in the last year. There is a huge appetite, from our partner side to integrate into the Q2 platform to access our 475 banks and credit unions.

"We have over 21 million end users on the platform, it's a great place to bring the financial institutions and the fintechs together,” added Ola. Some 300 financial institutions take advantage of fintech solutions offered through Q2 Innovation Studio; Ola revealed. “We've had about 500 pairings in the last 24 to 36 months.”

New Innovation Model

Q2 Innovation Studio also allows for a quick launch. Ola said, “It’s more about the testing and readiness.” Red River Credit Union (with Zogo), he recalled, took about six weeks. “The old model of an FI and a fintech trying to work together could take six months, a year and a half. We’ve removed a lot of that complexity, and made it a very fast time to value. Then we bring all of that innovation on the platform.”

Ola added then credit unions such as RRCU can pick from various fintech offerings. “We work with them on strategy, which ones to roll out first, how to market those to your members.”

Bailey recalled the RRCU doing its due diligence about financial literacy programs. “We were looking at a lot of different software. The main thing that kept us from going further, they did not integrate with Q2; or it would be too hard or take too long (to integrate). When Q2 decided to create this Innovation Studio, it really opened up the doors for us for different products we could offer our membership. It was a game changer for us.”

Bailey explained, “That (Q2) partnership was key because we deal with other large vendors and it is a lot more difficult to get things done. Six months, a year, is not uncommon to get things up and running.”

Bailey continued, “(Zogo) integrates with our whole financial education area. We have employees who go out to schools that teach in all of our 30 different branches in different cities. We're in four states as well. “We needed to do more for those members who didn't have a branch nearby and who mainly did online and mobile banking transactions. And so, this is just added to what we already do, and it has actually been, extremely successful.”


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