Thing 21 of 30: Implement a white-label PFM

September is 30 things I would implement or consider implementing at my credit union if I was a credit union leader.

Thing 21: Implement a white-label PFM

Just as soon as we replaced that nasty-10-year-old website at my fictitious credit union, I would jump straight to implementing a personal financial management tool (PFM) inside my credit union's online banking site.

If this PFM term is new to you, imagine the desktop software Quicken or Microsoft Money sitting right inside your online banking system with robust budgeting and tagging (categorization of income and expenses) right there, without requiring your members to download or manually enter transaction data.

Sound impossible? Or futuristic? Not only is it possible and available right now, there are a number of vendors clamoring to offer this service to banks and credit unions.

 

Web service firms like Mint.com have been doing a bang-up job of sucking the data right out of your credit union online banking sites and giving consumers a slick representation of all of their accounts at various financial institutions for a while now.

You can either live with this reality or fight back with a white-label PFM that sits right inside your online banking system and gives your members everything they need without having to rely on a third-party.

I have personal experience with the public Wesabe service, and I would give it five out of five stars. Wesabe is now offering a white-label version called Springboard. In addition, I know of a number of others worth checking out. Jwaala MoneyTracker, Geezeo, FinanceWorks from Digital Insights and a local Canadian company, PennyMinder. I am sure there are more, but this will give you a good start.

I know in Canada, many credit unions are on a standardized online banking system and having a PFM may not be available to you. You need to pressure your provider to put it on their roadmap pronto. There is a tremendous opportunity for credit unions to differentiate themselves if they can implement a robust PFM solution before their bank competitors.

If you believe this is a passing fad for a niche audience, ask yourself, "Why did Intuit, the makers of Quicken, QuickBooks and QuickTax, just pay $170 million for Mint.com?"

Tim