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Is your credit union or bank struggling to retain accounts? Let's change that.

The first 90 days of an account holder's experience can make or break your relationship with them. But you can't wait a week or even a few days. Retention begins the moment someone opens an account.

Learn how to increase account holder retention by using proven strategies leveraged by both traditional financial institutions and the world's leading fintechs. 

Hey, I’m Kelly.


I'm a former credit union and FinTech marketing executive.


I've built multiple retention programs in the banking and FinTech industry. I've been able to reduce churn by more than 10%.

In my retention programs, I'll guide you step-by-step on how to increase retention with the right content at the right time.

If you're struggling to increase retention, the fix doesn't take fancy AI or a 6-digit marketing investment.


There's an easier way to start.

Kelly Chambers Headshot

"It was a refreshing experience to work with Kelly Chambers. He skillfully handled our complex content and product challenges. We soon discovered that his extensive, practical experience in fintech and credit unions gave us a much stronger edge and valuable insights." 

Reagan Bonlie
CEO & Founder 
Nudge, Inc.

Programs designed to retain accounts.

A winning combination.

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Ready to grow your loans and deposits at the same time you increase retention?


I've partnered with Digital Growth Institute to help your credit union or bank grow. With Digital Growth Institute's Website Secret Shopping program, you'll get a Website Optimization Gameplan to increase your loans and deposits.


Register for both programs to receive 10% off my Onboard & Activate program.

Ready to grow your loans and deposits at the same time you increase retention? Let's talk.

Your goals, my process.

My Process

Case Study: Decreasing credit union member churn by 10%

Credit Union Quick Facts:

  • Asset Size: $450M

  • Geo Market: WI and IL

  • Branches: 10 with large digital field of membership

  • Core Products: Checking and Auto Loans


Onboarding Program:

  • 90-day email and direct mail sequence based on first product adopted

  • Main goal of driving enrollment and usage of digital banking

  • Secondary goals of introducing members to the full product suite and sending helpful financial content

Monthly Retention Program: 

  • Post 90 days of membership, monthly emails were sent to 5 distinct target member personas

  • Mix of financial advice and guidance and product solutions

  • After "positive interactions" members would be encouraged to refer friends and leave positive reviews in app stores and on Google

Decrease in member churn compared after implementing program:

  • Year 1: 7%

  • Year 2: 7.5%

  • Year 3: >10%

Ready to discuss your credit union's retention strategy?

How can credit unions and banks increase account holder retention?

After working in marketing leadership roles in both the credit union and fintech industry, I've seen a consistent pattern in what actions increase member or customer retention.

Assuming your financial institution has the products and services to meet the needs of modern consumers, this simple equation represents how to increase retention:

Increased Engagement


Increased Trust


Increased Retention

A note on trust: We're not only talking about account holders trusting that you won't lose their money or keep their data safe.

  • We're talking about your members or customers trusting that you have the products, the guidance, the technology, and the people to help them live their best financial lives. Trusting that you are the answer to their problems.

  • This is why engagement comes first. You need to engage with them with content about products, guidance, technology, and people to build that trust. That engagement starts the moment they open an account.


But keep in mind that once your members trust you, you still need to engage with them year after year. It's a cycle -- and it's one of the most important factors to consider.

In fact, according to research from MX, trust is the #1 factor for consumers in choosing a financial institution, with 58% saying the level of trust they feel regarding an institution is one of the most important factors.

But how do you increase engagement and trust? Especially in an evolving digital world.


First, we need to know which behaviors members who engage with and trust us take. Behaviors beyond the fact someone has opened a loan or deposit account with our institution.


Based on data analysis and industry experience, the following two member behaviors are normally highly correlated with members or customers who remain loyal (and profitable) to your institution:

  1. Engagement with digital banking services

  2. Engagement with your content across channels


A fiserv banking study found that:

  • Digital banking users were 35% less likely to leave.

  • Following enrollment in digital banking, monthly revenue per customer increased by 10.7%, compared to a 4.5% increase for non-digital users.

  • The average total product holdings increased 58.4% after digital enrollment, compared to negligible growth for non-digital customers

Consistent with the fiserv study, as a credit union CMO/CTO and executive at multiple FinTechs, my data analysis always found that users of mobile apps and online banking platforms opened more products and churned less compared to non-digital users.

Put simply, increased use of digital banking is an indicator of both increased engagement and increased trust. Digital banking channels are a single location where account holders can engage with content, use services, and open new products.


Beyond digital banking usage, engagement with your institution's content can be a key indicator of retention. The more members or customers read, watch, and share your content, the more they trust you over time.

Research from the customer engagement platform Braze found that regular communication with at least one channel pays off:

"Using one channel alone helps banking and financial brands boost sessions per user by nearly 5X ... and raise 90-day retention by 74%, compared to users who received no messages."

According to Braze's study, using more than one channel pays off even more, increasing sessions per user by another 2.5X and raising 90-day retention by another 23%.

I've seen similar positive results from engagement programs in FinTech. For example, while leading marketing for an investing startup, I managed an email sequence with 12 strategic messages over each user's first 30 to 45 days. Additionally, we sent interactive bi-weekly newsletters designed to drive app logins. Through testing strategic messaging paired with a referral program, we saw a 3X increase in newsletter engagement and a 14% increase in the referral rate from users.


If your content provides value to your account holders, increased engagement increases trust, which leads to additional product usage and referrals of their friends and family.

Simply put: Increasing engagement builds trust and increases retention. In a recent Alkami analysis of financial institution data, account holders with the lowest engagement were 15x more likely to close their accounts than those with the highest engagement.

The engagement-trust flywheel...

If we view a successful, lifelong account holder relationship as a value-creating cycle, or flywheel, it looks like this:

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It's a never-ending cycle of engaging account holders to maintain trust -- and when they need a financial service, they choose your institution.

Now that we know the general levers (engagement and trust) to focus on to increase retention, what are the steps we need to take?

First, here's what not to do:

  • For onboarding, don't send one or two welcome emails and a letter in the first week and then stop. You need to send many more strategic messages over the first 90 days of an account holder's relationship with you.

  • For monthly content, don't send an email newsletter that is simply stuffed with updates, product information, and community events. I call these newsletters the "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-newsletter" when every member or customer gets a long, boring newsletter with too much information. (If you're interested, here's how to create a better newsletter.)

Here are 2 things every credit union or bank should do:

  1. Send a 90-day onboarding sequence of emails, along with push notifications and text messages if the technology is available. The sequence should contain at least 15 emails and closer to 25 to engage account holders and build trust. Here's an outline to get you started on the first week.

  2. Develop an ongoing strategic content plan designed to retain account holders. This is a mix of monthly newsletters, articles, emails, videos, and push notifications, all designed to drive engagement with digital banking tools and valuable content. The secret is using tactics to increase engagement -- like quizzes, polls, and behavioral nudges to increase engagement and collect data on your members to learn more about their needs. 

Generally, the more you can layer in data plus automation to provide personalized and real-time content, the more effective your retention efforts will be. But don't let a lack of budget or time stop you. Advanced data strategy is important but not needed to improve retention numbers. Most institutions have a lot of opportunities for improvement without large investments in data and technology.


You can take steps with the data and technology you have to start improving retention by focusing on sending the right engaging and trust-building communications at the right time. It all starts with implementing a strategic onboarding email sequence and an ongoing monthly content plan. 

Ready to discuss how we can improve your retention?

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