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How PenFed Home Loans Leverages Consumer Behavior to Create Exceptional Experiences and Growth

What started as a financial services provider for federal government officials inside the U.S. Pentagon in 1935 has since evolved into the largest credit union mortgage originator in the country. Yes, we’re talking about PenFed Credit Union.

V!A Philadelphia 2022 attendees had the opportunity to hear from Chief Marketing Officer, Rich Smith as well as Jerad Bjugstad, Senior Director of Demand Generation for PenFed’s home loan division, about how PenFed has successfully scaled its mortgage business with the help of Jornaya’s TCPA Guardian and Activate products. Jerad brings over 18 years of experience in the mortgage, real estate and lead generation industries and spoke at V!A 2022 about where PenFed started, where they are now, and where they are headed with the support of Verisk’s marketing solutions.

Better Together: Verisk’s Marketing Solutions in PenFed’s Digital Strategy

According to Jerad, PenFed has partnered with a network of vendors like Quattro, Blacklight, Drips, Jornaya (now part of the greater Verisk Marketing Solutions group) and more, to enhance the credit union’s digital and direct marketing. One of the challenges that may not be unique to PenFed is the plethora of consumer data available. How do you pull all this data together to make sense of it? How do you put said data through the sales funnel to really understand your customers?

PenFed has built contact strategies informed by Jornaya’s data set, complemented by public data sources, to pinpoint how to meet PenFed member needs. In partnering with Jornaya, PenFed can enhance their lead capture and online capabilities using multiple Jornaya products.

From a consumer privacy perspective, it was important to PenFed to mitigate TCPA risk when buying and actioning on third party leads, so adopting TPCA Guardian was a no-brainer as it provides them with real-time consent validation and proof of consent on demand. Additionally, Jornaya’s Activate solution gave PenFed insight into where their members were shopping. When it comes to understanding the full funnel of their customers, PenFed was “willing to make this investment to build brand loyalty early in the consumer shopping stages, as consumers are browsing third party websites for mortgage opportunities.”

Taking that even a step further, PenFed has also implemented Activate – First Party Journeys, giving them the ability to see where their members are going on PenFed owned and operated websites. Aligning these first party journeys with a consumer’s other shopping behavior across 3rd party comparison shopping sites, they can more accurately see consumers on their shopping journeys to provide safe, personalized outreach.

Where did PenFed start, and where are they now?

PenFed Credit Union finds itself in a unique position. As Jerad puts it, consider PenFed to be “the largest start-up mortgage company in the nation.” The credit union started by providing financial services to government employees and families and eventually grew into all 50 states with a primary focus on consumer lending, credit cards, and deposits. Today, PenFed serves “2.7 million members, growing to the click of about 60,000 members per month.”

Within their customer base, PenFed had built brand loyalty surrounding their consumer lending and deposit services. The challenge was to get that same customer base to see PenFed as a mortgage lender. In 2021, PenFed saw 350,000 members securing home loans. Leadership knew that to grow in the mortgage space, they would need to invest in building their marketing stack with a variety of vendors to obtain a holistic view of their customers and make sure members know that they can come to PenFed for home loans at a very competitive price.


Curious to hear more about PenFed’s approach to enhancing their digital marketing strategy to build brand loyalty? Watch Jerad’s full presentation here.

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