John Kenjar, has been the VP Marketing & Community Outreach at US Eagle FCU in Albuquerque, New Mexico since 2018, where he’s earned Winner 2021 CUNA Marketing Professional of the Year, and also Winner 2021 CUNA Marketing Strategy of the Year.
We had a chance to sit down and talk about some of the most important issues of the day with US Eagle FCU’s VP of Marketing and Community Outreach John Kenjar. John has been in the banking industry for decades and is one of the leading lights in the credit union space. Below we discuss the coming revenue recession and the success his federal credit union has had implementing a subscription model to bolster its value to its members and make primacy the focus of their customer efforts.
US Eagle FCU has approximately $1.5 billion in assets under management and nine branch locations around New Mexico. The credit union has been serving New Mexicans and New Mexican businesses since 1935.
John, we’re seeing the acceleration of financial institutions cutting their OD/NSF fees, what strategies have you valued in replacing them?
We’re putting less emphasis on replacing fees and more on accepting the shift in fee structure. We may be in a better position to do that than most banks because we’re a not-for-profit financial services entity.
While we saw an immediate uptick in checking account signups by engaging with StrategyCorps. Those won’t fully replace OD/NSF fee income.
But our goal has been to leverage this quantifiable income shift to qualifiable brand value by not simply saying, “No overdraft fees,” but by creating, and differentiating ourselves with, our URCovered™ program. It’s about more than cutting fees, it’s about knowing you have a financial partner with your interests in mind.
StrategyCorps is fortunate enough to work with you and US Eagle, what motivated you to choose BaZing as a resource for your members?
Chiefly, my personal experience with having successfully launched BaZing at a previous institution and my trusted, long-term relationship with Dave DeFazio. It makes sense to add value to and differentiate your checking offerings.
We’ve been using BaZing for two years now with US Eagle and two years at my former institution for a total of four years.
Are you seeing the value of the service with your members?
When we launched a member testimonial campaign, we had some very positive feedback. Here’s one example of the value some of our members get from their BaZing subscription:
“I used the BaZing app 2 get a discount on food. Me and my fiancé got Wingstop recently. I used the BaZing app and saved $5, plus I got a coupon from Wingstop for some free seasoned fries next time. So, it was a win, win. It was easy to use the BaZing app. I just selected the restaurant we wanted and entered the code and that was it. I recommend using BaZing app to everyone and anyone that wants to save some cash. I've also used BaZing at Macys and Kohls and saved money. U can also use it at hotels. We recently stayed at a Marriott up north and the clerk asked if we had the BaZing app? We said absolutely 💯. We saved 15% off the room and hotel restaurant. You can also use at the movies. Me, my fiancé and 5-year-old daughter went to the movies for the first time in a while. Our daughter got in free, and we also saved $6 off the movie! We've also used BaZing at Top Golf. We saved money on putting and food. So, like I said earlier, if you want to save some money download the app and start saving. I’ve also used it at Car Crafters. Had some body work done. Saved about $69 bucks, which I appreciated. Also, at Supercuts for a haircut. Saved 3$. I definitely recommend using this app!”
Are you seeing deeper relationships (more account/loan openings, etc) with members that subscribe to BaZing, or as your CU calls it, Perks?
Cross-checking our ExecuTrax historic data of checking account holders, I can’t honestly say there’s been a definable shift to deeper relationships. But we’ve recently leveraged loan offers with a $250 incentive to get people to open Perks fee-based accounts.
How do you offer the services to your members?
We spread the word about our Perks offering across all our channels, in-person/branch, online as well as through digital, direct, and mass marketing.