Vancity ranked in top five online banking sites in Canada.

This morning when I checked my Google Reader to see if there was any news about Vancity since yesterday, I came across a nice little surprise.

An article in one of Canada’s top national daily papers, the Globe & Mail had an article entitled TD rides customer service strategy to top of online survey ranking.

Yeah..? So..?

The article is about a recent analysis by Surviscor of the top Online Banking sites in Canada. I was so pleased to see Vancity ranked number four, nestled in between our top national banks, who can outspend us like crazy.

Here are their rankings:
TD Canada Trust 69.27
Royal Bank of Canada 64.40
Bank of Nova Scotia 61.85
Vancity 53.44
CIBC 53.13
National Bank 51.90
Bank of Montreal 49.45
Coast Capital Savings 49.33
President’s Choice 42.34
Desjardins 41.30
ING Direct 31.34

For me, representing a small player among the big national Canadian fish, this is amazing news. Here’s their commentary about

Vancity proved that they can play with the big boys in terms of offering a good online banking product, relative to the other Canadian banks. The online offering offers customers the basic features and functionality but does lack the additional features required to enhance the online experience. There is still room for improvement as its score suggests.

Fair enough. Happy we’re meeting the basics, and it’s true that we don’t offer all the things the big guys do. But I’m working on it, and hopefully the next time this is run we score better and even better the year after that.

In case you’re wondering, here are Surviscor’s categories of review:

  • Getting Started
  • Website Design
  • Customer Support
  • Website Transactions
  • Service Rates and Fees

One more thing. This absolutely proves the co-operative model. If we were left on our own to run our own online banking system, we couldn’t afford to compete with the national banks. We’d be on our own. But we’re not. Because of our partnership with Central 1 Credit Union, the credit union central covering BC and Ontario, all BC CUs come together and decide our online banking future together. We share costs and see ourselves united (well, most of the time) so that our members don’t have an inferior online service experience compared to the banks. This report shows that the model is working.

Hats off to Kelly West at Central1, in so many ways this is truly his accomplishment.

BC credit unions launch mobile banking commercials.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about Mobile Banking launching at Vancity. At the time we had just introduced it, as did many other BC credit unions. In fact, 80% of credit union members in BC now have access to this new feature. I also mentioned that all BC credit unions came together to advertise mobile banking province wide.

Credit unions in BC have been working co-operatively for quite a while now (Gene, do you know how long the Province-Wide Advertising Committee has been around?) to advertise our shared differentiators. You can see a bunch of recent BC credit union ads on YouTube.

Each addresses a different perception in the marketplace that we’re collectively trying to address in the minds of consumers. We know we have the emotional, or heart, attributes like giving back to the community, being local, etc… What we need to move the needle on is the intellectual, or head, attributes. These commercials deal with issues like accessibility (Ding Free ATMs), full service options (That Guy, one of the less successful ads in my opinion). And now with the mobile banking ads, we’re dealing with innovation.

I’ve embedded the two mobile banking ads below, so take a look, and let me know what you think. I don’t sit on this committee so be honest. Personally, I like these commercials, and I also like many of the recent commercials credit unions in BC have run (That Guy excepted).


PS: For those of you who wonder, that is NOT Gene Blishen as the dad in the second ad!

Mobile Banking with VNCTY.

First of all, my favourite quote about Mobile Banking this year has got to be by Avi Pollock Head of Applied Innovation at RBC who simply said at Net.Finance East “I know Mobile Banking is important, I’m just not sure why.”

I feel the same way. So I’m excited to say that Vancity has launched Mobile Banking to our Online Banking members. It’s pretty simple SMS banking where you register your cell number within Online Banking and then when you text to the shortcode VNCTY you get your balance or last five transactions.

Mobile Banking

So it could come in handy if you need to know your balance in a hurry and you’re not near a computer.

But the powerful thing here is getting members’ cell numbers into Online Banking, because that paves the way for text alerts which are of a much greater value. It also starts down the path of a more full-functioning Mobile Banking offer where our members can use an ATM/Branch locator, pay bills and transfer funds via their smart phone. That’s starting to get more interesting.

So I’m excited and proud of this baby step and need to acknowledge the unsung hero of this initiative, one of my favourite strategic partners, Kelly West, the Director of Product Management at Central1. He wrote an awesome Mobile Banking strategy for all credit unions in BC and Ontario. Thanks to him, we’re headed down the right path. Thanks Kelly!

Of the seven principles of a co-operative, the sixth is Co-operation among Co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

One of the things I love about my work is that I get to collaborate with other credit unions in the province. At the end of 2008 80% of BC credit union members will have access to Mobile Banking. We worked on it together, we’re launching the same product to our members and next up, we’ll advertise Mobile Banking as a credit union innovative difference to BC residents. I’ll post more about that ad campaign when it launches in the New Year.