The University of Hawai’i Federal Credit Union was spearheaded by 10 UH colleagues in the mid-1950s. Now, the credit union serves more than 30,000 members, including employees, students, alumni and family members of the University of Hawai’i. 

UFCU partnered with Zogo earlier this fall, and has seen an enthusiastic response from hundreds of students and community members who have downloaded the gamified financial literacy app to learn about personal finance — and get rewarded while they do it.

Zogo content coordinator Hannah Lang spoke with UHFCU vice president of marketing Bari Carroll about financial education, the credit union’s success with Zogo and how our company can continue to improve in the future.

Zogo: When did UHFCU begin its partnership with Zogo? 

Carroll: We just launched our partnership with Zogo at the beginning of September. It’s exceeded our expectations! The feedback from our members and community has been amazing, and we’re excited to be offering this new way of financial education that is both accessible and very engaging.

Z: What drew your team to Zogo?

C: We had evaluated a lot of other options when it came to financial education programs, but we weren’t wowed by them. We felt a lot of them included material we could create ourselves. Other credit unions in our area had tried some of these programs, and we hadn’t heard any buzz about them. We were looking to try something different.

We wanted something that would excite students and motivate them to learn without having material fed to them in a typical classroom or lecture style. And we felt like a gamified experience would really make all the difference in creating buzz and excitement for an otherwise dull subject for most students.

Also, we wanted something more in line with “the new normal.” With the pandemic and the shift away from traditional learning channels, we wanted students to have financial education at their fingertips, remotely. 

Zogo checked all of these boxes and more, for a very affordable cost. And you all have been a joy to work with! Implementation has been smooth and easy — in fact, it’s been set-it-and-forget-it since launch. 

Z: We’re happy to hear it! What has the response been like since launching? 

C: In just our first month, we garnered over 500 users, mostly through word-of-mouth. Roughly 66% are non-members, which is of course great for exposure. 23% are interested in learning more about loans, and 6% are interested in becoming members so far. I check our online dashboard multiple times per day, mostly because it’s encouraging to see such rapid growth!

It’s been 100% positive feedback, including from the University we serve.  We’ve received several requests from University staff to learn more, and we’ve introduced them to our Zogo account manager for their own remote meetings to ask questions.

Z: What is the role of financial education at UHFCU? How do these kinds of initiatives fit into your organization’s purpose?

C: Our credit union was founded by University of Hawai’i professors in 1955 and, as you can imagine, education has been a core value of ours ever since. We’re committed to providing members with the tools they need to live a successful financial life, and financial education is a critical part of that. 

That’s why it was so important to us to find a method of providing that education and that financial literacy in a way that was engaging and accessible — especially for our younger members who are just beginning their financial lives. Zogo does just that.

Z: What are your thoughts on how the new generations — millennials and Gen Z — could change the future of finance?

C: I think we’ll see a move from paper-based transactions to instant, digital fulfillment, with financial institutions serving more of a role as the trusted advisor. I think we’ll see members of younger generations looking to their institutions as a guide or companion in that way. 

As essentially a community-owned, not-for-profit version of a bank, our goals are aligned with that of our members — to help them save and earn more than they otherwise might with a traditional bank.  We want to be there for all of the important milestones in their lives.

Z: What’s something you think Zogo could be doing more of? 

C: As a University-based credit union, my opinion has been that Zogo could benefit by allowing educators the option to create their own “leaderboard.”  That would enable them to design a custom curriculum to track students and focus them on one of the many areas of study available, like using a credit card, buying a house or any other category within the Zogo app. 

I brought this up to your team — and to my surprise, they’re considering it and have asked for more input. That’s a refreshing response from a vendor! You all also consistently ask for feedback or suggestions on other new enhancements. It means a lot that the team at Zogo is so willing to listen.