new year's resolutionsAlthough the pandemic made it clear financial institutions were all in the same storm, each credit union's boat was entirely different. For instance, some credit unions have been able to capitalize on rapid digitization, while others may not have been as fortunate. In either case, it's important to learn from the lessons doled out over the last two years and use them to strategically plan for the future. Let's look at three New Year's Resolutions credit unions can use to drive growth in 2022 and beyond.

Deliver In-Demand Digital Banking Solutions

Virtually overnight, the pandemic escalated digital banking solutions from a nice-to-have into a must-have. And there is no going back. It's projected that more than 77% of Americans will conduct banking online by 2022, which isn't a secret. According to a Jack Henry survey of credit union and bank CEOs, 75% are planning to improve fintech investments over the next couple of years. Where will the focus be? Here are a few top digital priorities for 2022 to consider:

  • Real-time payments. Payments-as-a-Service (PaaS) are starting to be adopted more widely with more than 50% of survey respondents intending on deploying real-time payments in 2022, such as Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and Account-to-Account (A2A)payments.
  • Open-banking, third-party integrations. 50% of survey respondents reported being aware of the increasing number of open APIs available to embed fintech and third-party settings into digital experiences. Among these respondents, 87% are planning on executing an open banking strategy before 2023.
  • Digital lending capabilities. Another area of focus is automated loan prequalification, approval, and end-to-end digital loan origination.

Renew Focus on Member Service & Experience

According to a recent 2021 survey by Ascent, 97% of respondents rated the quality of service as the top concern when determining where to open a new account. This means that no matter how modern your credit union is, the importance of personal touch can't be overestimated. Here are three ways you can find the perfect balance:

  • Ask and listen to your members. The best way to understand how your members are feeling is to ask them. Their feedback can serve as valuable intel and guidance that doesn't show up in advanced data and metrics—until it's too late.
  • Amplify member retention strategies. It's much more cost-efficient to deepen the relationship with an existing member than it is to acquire new ones. As such, 2022 is the perfect time to elevate your credit union's member experience.
  • Get member onboarding right in 2022. It's imperative for credit unions to leverage integrated technologies to modernize member onboarding.

Generate Loan Demand and Drive Growth

A third strategic planning initiative for 2022 should be a renewed focus on increasing loans. Although the majority of experts agree increased loan demand is on the way, the timing is still up in the air. In either case, you can ensure your credit union is prepared with the following best practices to increase lending:

  • Review existing strategies. Focus on whether existing practices are conducive to success in today's environment. It's important your strategies are nimble, flexible, and easy for any environment.
  • Provide a fast experience. Applying for a loan shouldn't be a drawn-out and tiresome task. The best-case scenario is that your members will be able to complete the application within five minutes or less.
  • Offer immediate automated loan approval. Most loan applicants expect immediate or almost immediate approval. Meeting this expectation can improve the member experience.
  • Eliminate the need for in-person visits. Driven by convenience, credit unions must enable virtual closings with digital document signing capabilities, such as eSignatures.
  • Get creative with lending. Offering solutions like skip-a-pay, teaser rates, and variable terms and rates are a few ways to use creativity to stand out from the crowd.

Resolved: Streamline Your Credit Union for Success in 2022 & Beyond

While New Year's resolutions are traditionally more like wishes, FLEX core technology can make each one of these goals your credit union's reality. To help you get started, check out our eguide to Digital Lending Best Practices. It can help you boost efficiency in your digital loan application process.

Digital Lending Best Practices

FLEX offers the latest technology coupled with secure banking solutions in a streamlined, cost-effective package tailormade for credit unions of all sizes. Whether you focus on digital optimization, lending growth, improving the member experience, or all three, FLEX can help streamline your credit union for success in 2022 and beyond. If you're looking to start with lending growth, download the FLEX Digital Lending eBook to explore mapping the members journey, digital application best practices, security topics to consider, analytics tips and tricks, and marketing insights. 

FLEX Digital Lending

Topics: Member Services, digital lending, digital banking, direct loan growth, eSignature, Digital-Only Banking, member growth

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