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Global Pandemic + Online Banking Outage= Record Success for Midwest Credit Union

Unbanking in UNcertain times leads to Unprecedented results

Financial institutions around the globe are facing new frontiers due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Imagine as you’re shifting employees to remote work, closing branch lobbies and battling fear—your core banking system goes down for days. Most would assume that you would take your ball and go home, hoping to just ride out this storm. But that’s not the Unbanking way. Instead Community Choice Credit Union (CCCU) doubled down on service, marketing and their unique Unbanking culture to lead to the best March by volume in their 67-year history!

In early March, the world changed and as the COVID-19 pandemic stretched across the nation, CCCU made the decision to close the lobbies of its’ 8 branches. “It wasn’t a decision we took lightly,” says CCCU CEO/President Josh Cook. “We know that the community looks to us for service of their financial needs. In addition to traditional services, we knew that we needed to offer unique products to fit this unprecedented situation.” One of these tailored products was “The Paybreak”. This loan deferment program, offers members up to 60 days with no payments on all loans, except Mortgages or HELOCS. Within 10 days of announcing the program, over 1,200 people had applied for the service. CCCU didn’t stop there. They quickly released “The Relief Loan,” an unsecured 24 month loan that offered up to $5,000 in assistance with no payments for 90 days. Upon announcement, hundreds applied.

Just as CCCU was starting to cope with the lobby closures and pandemic fallout, they experienced an outage of their core banking system. This outage led to hundreds of calls, flooding into the call center from concerned members. This coupled with the news story of the coronavirus spreading throughout the United States led to uncertain times for members. “We fielded hundreds of calls from concerned members, “says Chief Operating Officer Tim Wallen. “Fortunately for us, we have a digital software tool that allows us to triage and manage incoming concerns, which provides the member with timely answers to their questions and concerns. Without that, I don’t know where we would be.” The SaaS platform, SimplyFocused allows for accountable friction-free connections between credit unions and members.. The system is core agnostic, and therefore wasn’t affected by the system outage.

How did the CCCU team respond to the influx in digital activity? “We’re probably more equipped than most for this type of volume,” says Senior VP of Lending, Brian Curtin. “Our Account Executives are rock-stars and they took the challenge of providing excellent service for our 48,000+ members. It also helps having a digital lead management system in place like SimplyFocused.” SimplyFocused routed all incoming loan deferment and relief loan inquires. The cloud-based software provided for a smooth transition, as account executives moved to remote working.  At the end of March, Community Choice Credit Union finished with the highest volume March in the 67-year history of their financial institution. Said Cook, “I believe whole-heartedly, that we would not be able to accomplish what we did without a dedicated team of Unbankers, a desire to provide amazing service for our members and the SimplyFocused suite of digital banking solutions”.


About SimplyFocused: SimplyFocused is a FinTech CUSO in Des Moines, IA that answers the question, “How is my credit union going to grow?” SimplyFocused is an enabling technology that leverages the power of human perception to reduce friction in the process of selling retail credit union products. It is a robust solution that enables credit union growth by connecting marketing teams and lending teams directly to their members/perspective members to generate leads. The insights the platform provides to CU leadership allows for broader sales accountability and real time sales funnel analytics to enable better strategic decisions with leading indicators rather than lagging indicators. Credit Unions are relying too heavily on technology to sell products via lengthy applications that have a high abandonment rate rather than utilizing their best asset; their employees to build relationships with qualified leads that come through the SimplyFocused platform.

About Community Choice Credit Union: Community Choice Credit Union is a financial institution in constant and persistent pursuit of providing unexpectedly delightful experiences to its members, its employees and its communities. Guided by the Unbanking spirit since 1953, Community Choice has become trusted as the beacon for financial product and service gratification for thousands of Central Iowans. It allows you to Unbank your way with a blend of retail stores and digital channels offering a full smorgasbord of consumer and business solutions.