Posted: Apr 20, 2018
Categories: Marketing
Comments: 0
Author: Lou Grilli

[Editor's Note: This article was previously published in CU Today, and has been modified.]

Amazon’s search for a second corporate headquarters location, dubbed HQ2, is back in the news as the cities rated as finalists put on their best showing to court new business. Many communities have thrown their hats in the proverbial ring to be the new second home of Amazon; some have even gone as far as to offer to rename themselves for Amazon. At the same time, there have been many recent articles describing the downside of having a huge global corporate headquarters in the midst of their city. Along with the good jobs and prestige that comes with a corporate giant, traffic and housing price increases follow.

While Amazon’s move is one of the largest in history, this is not the only example of communities vying to be on the winning end of a bid for a corporate relocation or major expansion to another city. Chicago lured Mead Johnson, maker of baby formula, and with it, 200 jobs. Richmond was able to attract a new research division of the CoStar Group, a commercial real estate data firm, as well as retirement plan manager, ICMA-RC, and software company, AvePoint. Dallas enticed DerbySoft, a hospitality software company to move from San Francisco.  Businesses looking to relocate, or expand, is an ongoing opportunity for credit unions to attract new members. What should credit unions in the winning city expect, and how can those credit unions also come out winners? Marketing is the first task, since many transplants will not know the local credit unions. Hiring a company to assist with this one-time task can pay for itself. Also, locals who get a new job with the new company, potentially with a longer commute, may want a newer car. Since many members are first introduced to credit unions through auto loans, this may be the most important product to market. Creative new home construction loan or home renovation packages could also pay off, as many transplants like to build “new”, or substantially remodel.

On the macro side, opening a new branch, if your charter allows for it, close to the new company campus can be the best advertising of all. Even more of a coup would be an arrangement to have a credit union smart ATM in the new company building. Both of these require budgeting, and negotiations.

According to Filene Research, 31% of survey respondents who moved to a different city in the past three years changed financial institutions. Credit unions need to be positioned to win over new business in a community benefitting from a new corporate inhabitant.

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Lou Grilli

Lou GrilliLou Grilli

Lou is the AVP of Product Development & Thought Leadership at Trellance and is responsible for providing leadership to the organization on emerging payments and industry trends, as well as managing the product portfolio.

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