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First for Money Credit Union

First for Money Credit Union, previously Bridges Your Community Bank, is a not-for-profit organisation operating for the benefit of people who live and work in Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Northumberland. It works with individuals and businesses in the region to encourage positive financial awareness and offers a transparent, ethical approach to managing savings and loans.
Project:

Horizonworks was initially commissioned by Bridges Your Community Bank (Bridges) to undertake a market insight project, researching whether or not an online banking system would add value to its offering.

 

Approach:

The project was to conduct a comprehensive market insight and research project, conducting focus groups with members and non-members, alongside conducting interviews with business partners in the region who offered the Bridges Employee Payroll Scheme. We also conducted research into other Credit Unions – analysing their messaging, branding and proposition.

Aside from establishing whether or not the online banking was something current members would utilise, we wanted to gain an understanding of current perceptions of Bridges, how it communicated with its members and how it was benchmarked against its competitors and High Street Banks.

The results of the market insight project suggested that people viewed Bridges positively, seeing it to offer an ethical alternative to High Street Banks, but that the brand, messaging and visual style were off-putting to potential members and not an accurate representation of its proposition, or its ethos. After presenting the results of our finding to Bridges’ board, it decided against implementing the online banking for the present moment and instead re-branding to better reflect its core values of being ethical, transparent and community-focused and to ensure it was clearly articulating its proposition. They also decided to give the website an overhaul to reflect the new brand and demonstrate the full range of services that it offers to members.

Results:

As a result of our comprehensive market insight project, the new brand Horizonworks developed for the organisation encapsulates First for Money’s dedication to providing an ethical way in which both businesses and individuals can manage savings and loans for. The messaging surrounding it highlights its commitment to putting its members first, since, unlike high street banks, First for Money is run by members for the benefit of members. The brand is bright, vibrant and colourful and the photography used across the website focuses on people – emphasising its friendly and approachable nature. In addition, the website is clear and easy to navigate and now offers more in terms of functionality – including a loan calculator with a slider to help customers determine the value of a loan from First for Money.

The new brand and website has helped First for Money to clearly articulate its proposition and convey this to new customers, creating a positive impression and attracting them to the credit union. This will support the organisation in its push for further growth.

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