MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT: A LOOK BACK, AND A LOOK AHEAD
Looking back, 2016 was an exciting and productive year for the FICANEX Services team and THE EXCHANGE® Network. One that I believe has set the stage for strengthening our network, as well as setting a foundation for transforming our company.
We continued our efforts in expanding our network effect by focusing on increasing your staff’s awareness and knowledge of the network, growing ATM distribution and adding new members and strategic partnerships. We also spent a significant amount of time looking to the future, analyzing opportunities to diversify our business and develop our strategy and plans for the next decade of our evolution.
We now know that a lack of awareness among customer facing staff at any member financial institution is a key reason why cardholder awareness is lower than it should be. Inconsistent or non-existent messaging can erode one of your financial institution’s key value propositions, which is convenient account access across Canada.
To support increasing awareness and network utilization we rolled out various programs including our first-ever employee tutorial; with a call to action for all employees to become “Exchange Certified”. In 2016, over 2,000 employees are now better equipped to discuss the unique value of our network to their cardholders and understand the money they save their employers in unnecessary interchange fees. We will be doing this again in 2017 and hope to have even greater levels of participation.
We kicked off the summer with a WIN Your Withdrawal contest, focusing on the promotion of the 830 Exchange ATMs that are now available in select Mac’s, Couche Tard and Circle K convenience stores across the county. This was a contest sponsored by Manulife Bank and saw a total of $2,920.00 being paid back to cardholders during the contest period.
We also rolled out a “Celebrate Summer with THE EXCHANGE Network” initiative, designed to provide financial institutions with material that could be used to promote the unique value of the network at local events and festivals in the communities that they serve. We are proud to say that we were present at 25 events across the country; further promoting our value from coast to coast! Again, this is something we expect to expand and continue in the coming year.
As we look back at Canadian cardholder transactions in 2016, Exchange cardholders performed approximately 9 million Canadian Exchange transactions. Looking at withdrawal transactions, Canadian Exchange cardholders performed over 6.6 million transactions, saving cardholders’ nationally over $19 million in needless surcharges and saving our financial institutions more than $1.9 million in premium interchange.
2016 Canadian Exchange transaction volumes grew by 2% over 2015 volumes. This is a fantastic result, especially in contrast to the general industry trend which sees a 5-6% decline in ATM transactions overall. This proves that increased awareness and distribution provides undisputed value and savings to both your cardholders and your financial institution. We have a lot more planned to continue this trend.
In Q1 2016 we announced our partnership with Collabria Financial, giving the members of our network who offer Collabria Financial credit cards the ability to utilize THE EXCHANGE Network for PIN change and surcharge-free cash advances. We are working with a variety of other credit card processors and individual network members to expand this service and would love to see all credit cards for all members able to capitalize on this additional value. All of this is to ensure that our network participants can provide the same convenience and access to their credit card cardholders as they do with their debit card cardholders. Based on the current project plan, we will see credit card cardholders utilize our unique network in Q1 2017.
In 2016, FICANEX Services welcomed two new members, Habib Bank and Bayview Credit Union, to the network. Both are working on their certification projects and we expect that they will be on the network in the coming months. We continue to work with other Tier 2 financial institutions with the intention of expanding the network effect further and sharing the value of membership.
In the fall of 2016 we partnered with Stanley Security to offer branding opportunities on approximately 250 of their ATMs across the country. We had great interest in this program from members and you can look forward to seeing an increase in the ATM fleet in the coming months as a result. We are evaluating additional opportunities to offer this kind of program with a number of other ATM operators, so stay tuned for other opportunities to expand your brand and distribution in the future.
FICANEX Services Board and Management have also laid the foundation to ensure we continue to build upon our past success and network effect in order to provide a variety of new and valuable services and solutions to you so that you can continue to compete in this ever-changing world of financial services we live in. We have met with many network members already to discuss this strategy and look forward to sharing with all members in the coming months. Please reach out to me directly or to any member of the team if you would like to learn more. We look forward to discussing our future plans with you.
FICANEX SERVICES 2017 CU NEXTGEN™ SPONSORSHIP AWARD
In 2016, FICANEX Services created the first ever CU NEXTGEN™ SPONSORSHIP AWARD designed specifically to give a young and emerging employee from one of the Canadian credit unions the opportunity to connect and collaborate with credit union system peers at the CU NEXTGEN™ Session, as well as attend the National Conference for Canada’s Credit Unions.
Coast to coast connecting and collaboration have been essential in our company’s success and we believe contribute to the success of the annual National Young Leader’s Committee’s CU NEXTGEN’s™ 2-day event.
With this in mind, we are excited to announce that FICANEX Services is once again sponsoring this exclusive award, giving a young and emerging employee from the Canadian credit union system the ability to connect and collaborate at the national level. The National Young Leader’s Committee’s CU NEXTGEN’s™ 2-day event is being held from May 7th – 10th, 2017 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Award brochure and application has been sent out nationally. Don’t delay! The application deadline is March 17th, 2017. For more information please contact Michael Barr at Michael.Barr@Ficanex.ca. Good luck to everyone!
In each issue of our Member newsletter we spotlight network Members from across the country that have come up with creative ways in reinforcing the unique value of THE EXCHANGE Network to their cardholders; all to let out the best kept secret that their network rivals that of the BIG banks and to stop paying those nasty surcharge fees! #SurchargeFREEdom!
In this issue we put the “spotlight” on CUA (Credit Union Atlantic) in Nova Scotia, Nelson & District Credit Union in British Columbia and Rapport Credit Union in Ontario.
We kick-off our Member spotlight with CUA! CUA’s social media initiative, FACT FRIDAYS, hits a home run reinforcing the benefits of being a CUA member. Thank you CUA for highlighting THE EXCHANGE Network #FactFriday and letting your members know that your ATM fleet rivals the BIG Banks!
Thanks to Nelson & District Credit Union for bringing this great idea to our attention, THE EXCHANGE Network now has advertising visuals for mobile banking applications and websites for all to use. Your cardholders have access to thousands of ATMs coast to coast to coast; you know this, but do your cardholders? If they don’t, they will now! Use these mobile banking and website visuals to encourage cardholders to find the thousands of ATMs they never knew they had and STOP paying surcharges!
No matter the season or reason, Rapport Credit Union is always finding ways to communicate the unique value of THE EXCHANGE Network to their cardholders!
In December of last year Rapport Credit Union advertised their free ATM Locator App as a “bright idea” in finding the thousands of surcharge-free ATMs coast to coast to coast that their cardholders have access to. Way to go, Rapport Credit Union!
If your financial institution has advertised the unique value of our network to your cardholders we would like to hear from you! Contact Michael Barr at Michael.Barr@Ficanex.ca. Good luck to everyone! and we will “spotlight” your financial institution in an upcoming issue of our newsletter!
CELEBRATE CARDHOLDER SAVINGS WITH THE EXCHANGE® NETWORK!
THE EXCHANGE Network plays a critical role in providing unparalleled service to your cardholders whether in their local community or travelling throughout our amazing country!
We know this and you know this, but do your cardholders or people within your community? Our team is committed to working with you to enlighten Canadians in every region of the country by supporting your efforts in celebrating the unique value of our network to your cardholders.
Let’s communicate and celebrate THE EXCHANGE Network together! Send us details of an in-branch, community event or other marketing initiative you have in mind and we will customize marketing collateral to meet your needs. For more information, please contact Megan Brab at Megan.Brab@Ficanex.ca.
“EXCHANGE CERTIFIED 2.0” EMPLOYEE TUTORIAL AND CONTEST IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!
In 2016, FICANEX Services rolled out our first ever employee tutorial encouraging all employees to become “Exchange Certified”. This short 8-minute tutorial was designed to equip employees with the unique value of our network when serving their cardholders either in-branch or over the phone. We were delighted that over 2,000 employees became “Exchange Certified” in 2016.
There have been many changes to the network since the tutorial release so we are rolling out “Exchange Certified 2.0”! And along with the latest release rollout we will be holding an EMPLOYEE CONTEST encouraging all employees to become “Exchange Certified” and have a chance to WIN weekly cash prizes! The tutorial and contest will run in April. Stay tuned for further details!
CONNECT WITH THE FICANEX SERVICES TEAM
Conferences and events throughout the country are a great way to meet many of our financial institution Participants face-to-face, and support the events that are important to you. We are in the process of finalizing our spring conference line-up, and have confirmed the following events:
Atlantic Central AGM & League Savings and Mortgage Company Information Session
April 5-7, 2017, Halifax, NS
Central1 Conference and Trade Show
April 26-28, 2017, Vancouver, BC
2017 National Conference for Canada’s Credit Unions & CU NEXTGEN™ Event
May 7-10, 2017, Halifax, NS
Payments Canada Payments Panorama
May 24-26, 2017, Toronto, ON