By Susanne Waltemyer
It comes around every year… the annual report! It’s a required publication intended to give information about the credit union’s financial performance and activities throughout the year. If your credit union is like most, your annual report consists mostly of financial information: the balance sheet, income statement, President and Board Chairman’s reports and so on.
At CommonWealth One, we take a different approach. Not only does our annual report present our current financial condition, it also highlights our engagement with the communities we serve, for example; scholarships awarded, donations made, and community events held. It even acknowledges the new select employer groups (SEGs) we brought on during the year. Those additions make our annual report a very effective tool to use for Business Development.
Here is how we use our annual report to engage our SEGs and potential SEGs:
Once the report is printed, we use delivery of the report as a special reason to visit our SEGs. While there, we talk about some of the highlights and community activities we have done throughout the year. This also gives us an opportunity to talk about the health of the credit union and how our products and services have helped members including their employees over the course of the year.
We also use our annual report as an opportunity to meet with potential SEGs. This report is an effective tool to use when attempting to persuade potential SEGs to partner with your credit union. However, I do want to give you some words of caution to keep in mind when using this report. If you are not already familiar with the financial information the report contains, get familiar with it. You may be asked some questions about the financial condition of your credit union, so definitely be prepared for that. Your CFO would probably welcome the opportunity to go over the financial information with you.
If you are using this report for potential partners (SEGs) make sure you know your prospect fairly well before using this report in an attempt to woo them. It is important that you hit the right points from the report with the each potential partner company. If you are highlighting all your community efforts it may fall on deaf ears with your potential SEG if they aren’t active in the community themselves. Perhaps your prospective SEG is more interested in knowing “What’s in it for me?” or that you are a stable institution that will take care of their employees’ financial needs in an easy and convenient manner, not that you provide financial education for all students within your local school system. When talking to the prospect, use the report to best represent your potential SEG’s interests. The rest is just a bonus.
Our annual report also gives us an additional reason to contact State and Federal politicians as well as our local city council and governing bodies. It highlights our good work in their community. This brief and concise report provides a great deal of information about our credit union, while reminding our political leaders of our positive impact on the communities we collectively serve.
CommonWealth One’s Annual Report has been a great tool especially in reaching out to our SEG’s and local politicians. It has been my experience that everyone wants to get the “Big Picture” in a condensed manner - the credit union annual report serves this purpose perfectly. It doesn’t cost much more to print additional copies for SEGs and politicians when placing the order.
So… think like a master marketer and breathe new life into that required report! Your members, Board, SEGs and potential SEGs will all be glad you did. And be creative! The uses listed above are just a few ways to use the report to your advantage. I am sure you can think of more!
Susanne Waltemyer, CCUFC, is Business Development Manager at Commonwealth One Federal Credit Union.