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Helping Members “Do Better”


Established in 1935, PenFed Credit Union has a long history of serving its members with a strong brand name and stable financial history, paired with excellent member benefits and great rates. With a mission of helping its members along their financial journey, PenFed recently made further internal improvements to allow them to take even better care of their members.


Gaurav Bhatia, CMO at PenFed, recognized that while his team excelled in communicating with current PenFed members, they needed an even more robust strategy to attract and engage prospective members. In addition, due to challenges presented by the pandemic, Bhatia and his team identified the need to evolve the digital customer experience and become more member centric. Bhatia wanted to supplement his internal team’s efforts with an agency who understands customer experience and could help PenFed leverage best practices in the rapidly changing digital space. He had worked with Mindstream on previous projects and was impressed by the quality of work produced, and knew we had the ability and expertise to help based on the member experience (MX), transformation that PenFed was seeking.


  • MX Strategy
  • Content Strategy
  • Email Growth Strategy

The Approach

The two main objectives of this project were to transform the customer experience and implement a strategy to attract and engage prospective members.


Agility was a key factor for Bhatia and his team at PenFed. After considering proposals from other agencies, they made a team decision to work with Mindstream due to strong previous project results and our agile approach. The PenFed team appreciated our taking the time necessary to understand the objectives at an energetic pace and gravitate toward a solution collaboratively, making the transition between discovery and execution quick, effective, and efficient.


As we defined the initial strategy, small enhancements were needed during development as well as throughout execution. Our ability to be nimble and adjust as the scope evolved over time was significant to the team at PenFed. Bhatia shares, “The biggest opportunity in working with Mindstream is that they’re large enough to offer specialized skillsets that we need but small enough to be nimble and deliver timely solutions.”


Another challenge for the PenFed team was that the pandemic made it more difficult to hire and onboard employees remotely. Through former projects, Mindstream had already established a strategic partnership with Bhatia and his team, enabling us to identify the gaps and integrate our capabilities for a seamless, timely path forward. Whereas previously it may have been more challenging to involve an agency in a particular project or campaign, now it’s become second nature with all teams working virtually, leveling the playing field between internal employees and agency teams. According to Bhatia, “Now, with both our internal teams and agencies working remotely, there’s less of a distinction between the two. Mindstream is embedded as part of our team, can fill in the gaps and can advise us where we need it.”


With urgency top-of-mind, Mindstream was able to identify customer experience improvements that ultimately transformed the complete digital journey experience for prospective and current PenFed members. After conducting audits of the current digital experience, email communication, and content strategy, Mindstream compiled insights based on the data. We made solid recommendations to streamline and improve the MX, while factoring in educational resources and touchpoints at each stage of a prospective member’s path to becoming part of the PenFed family. Through a mix of email and content strategy enhancements, Mindstream helped current members learn more about the range of services and benefits available through PenFed, while nurturing prospects along the path of becoming a member.

The Outcome

Thanks to the evolved customer experience at PenFed, Bhatia is excited about the growth of memberships and is optimistic for the future. “We’ve grown more than 16% over the last year. Most of the memberships are coming from digital, so additional customer experience plays a role in getting people on board and eventually adopting our products.”

The PenFed website has also seen a 16% increase in repeat visits, directly impacting membership growth, product growth, and revenue increase through the improved digital experience.

Mindstream became embedded as a part of the PenFed team, with both working collaboratively on the wisest possible use of budgets. And although Bhatia praises the success of this project, he also confirms that the business should be earned on every project, presenting a challenge that Mindstream is optimistic about pursuing. “Mindstream proved their value and helped achieve our goal of maximizing our budget. Because of this, they’ve become our team’s agency of choice.”

Now, with both our internal teams and agencies working remotely, there’s less of a distinction between the two. Mindstream is embedded as part of our team, can fill in the gaps and can advise us where we need it.”

Gaurav Bhatia | Chief Marketing Officer

Penfed Credit Union

The Results


growth in memberships


increase in repeat website traffic


comprehensive project, 1 team, 1 primary focus: Member Experience

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