Through no choice of their own, credit unions across the country have been forced to shutter their doors, left struggling with the "now what?" conundrum of trying to continue serving members with the same dedication and personal service as always. Members are traveling on a high-speed learning curve of how to accomplish their to-do lists, while not actually going anywhere. New services and options are popping up everywhere. COVID-19 has pushed companies--and people--to adapt quickly and try new things. The adoption curve is being forced to shift, and now is the time to show members that you already have the services they need.
For example, in the first weeks of statewide stay-at-home orders, online grocery ordering and delivery saw an incredible surge in popularity. People that preferred to shop in person were faced with compelling reasons to try something they may not have otherwise. The interesting part is this service has been gaining momentum for the last couple of years with early adopters, but now has been forced into the mainstream. Many of these remote services aren't new at all: the difference is the peoples' willingness--or necessity--to try them.
When it comes to credit unions, we've been seeing waning attendance at branches for years. Millennials may never have even stepped foot inside one of your lobbies. To counter that trend, and keep members happy, CUs have been layering in as many remote options as possible. Now is the time to make sure your members know that almost anything they can do in branch is still available to them online.
If your credit union already offers a mobile app you're certainly well suited to handle this strange time. Offering deposits and transfers via a smart phone makes the banking process a snap for members. Online Bill Pay options through internet banking or mobile app will certainly be useful. With these shaky financial times and unemployment on the rise, credit card services and digital lending are going to be more valuable than ever.
One word of advice is to reach out to your older members who may struggle with the change that so many of us find natural. These are the folks that show up to the branch regularly to do their banking. Many can be distrustful of internet-based transactions and oftentimes prefer a helpful human voice. A special campaign to make MSRs available, via phone or webchat, to help them overcome their concerns and gain comfortability with online banking will go a long way in maintaining the strength of those memberships.
Allowing people to fulfill their needs remotely is a trend that's been gaining momentum for years and has now been rocket-launched into the public, blasting through the normal hurdles to adoption. When it comes to credit unions, how do you adapt to closed branches? Continue doing what you have been doing: stay creative, innovative and available to your members while encouraging the use of your remote services.