The pandemic forced businesses around the world to shutter their doors, and sadly for many, they will never re-open. Among the businesses that were able to adapt and survive, many did so by turning to digital technologies to solve problems and conduct transactions that were traditionally done in-person. This has created a boom in technology that has implications for many different sectors of the business world and economy.
Of course, not every type of business can supplement digital solutions for in-person interactions. But for the credit union world, embracing the trends in technology and taking steps to improve the CU’s digital ecosystem is an effective to remain competitive in 2021 and beyond.
Knowing what your members want
2020 saw a boom in e-commerce, the rise of digital wallets and mobile banking, and the continued entrance of fintech companies into the financial space. It’s now clear that we’re living in a digital era and technologies are solving problems people once did. However, even before the pandemic began, the American Bankers Association found that over 80% of people surveyed preferred digital banking to traditional in-person banking. In other words, the trend towards digital solutions in finance is nothing new—the pandemic just accelerated it.
Today, credit union members are accustomed to quick, digital solutions to support their banking needs. Especially when it comes to younger millennials and Generation Z, they’re simply not going to put up with slow, outdated technology from a credit union or any other institution. That means if CUs want to maintain their member base and attract new members, they must keep up with the pace of technology.
Here are some of the features members expect from their credit union:
- Mobile banking
- Online banking
- Remote deposits
- P2P options
- Digital lending services and eSignature options
- Online account opening and a seamless onboarding process
- Personal and accessible member service
- Safety and security
The truth is that members want to do everything they could do in-person at a branch, digitally. If CUs don’t rise to the occasion to provide members with these digital services, another FI will. In fact, in today’s financial climate, there’s no shortage of competition.
Moving forward with your digital ecosystem
Credit unions have some tough questions to answer moving forward. For example, how can CUs adapt to the digital world while continuing to provide friendly, community-based services to members? Also, what is the future of branches and how can they remain useful for credit unions? While the current climate demands adaptability and action, CUs should take their time to answer these questions before making any major technology decisions.
Here are a few other steps CUs can take:
- Review competitors. The days of just competing with other CUs and banking institutions are over. The rise of fintech companies over the past decade has seen P2P solutions PayPal, Venmo, ApplePay and GooglePay encroach into the financial space. These app-based digital services have made it easier for consumers to shop online and transfer money, and their ease-of-use has contributed to changes in consumer behaviors and expectations. Some of these companies, like Zelle, offer integration into your core processing solution so you can offer the same benefits that come with a P2P solution.
- Reduced third-party vendors. While your CU may need to partner with third-party vendors for certain digital services, try to keep it at a minimum and create a digital experience that is seamless and user-friendly for your members. Using the right core data processing technology can help alleviate the need for various third-party vendors.
- Partner with innovation. Partnering with an innovative credit union core data processing solution is the foundation of your digital ecosystem. A core system should develop software that delivers enhanced digital banking services and a seamless user experience allowing members to self-serve on a moments notice, all while reducing manual labor for credit union staff.
The bottom line is that having the right credit union core processing software will drastically improve your digital solutions, as well as increase overall efficiency so that your CU remains healthy and sustainable during these difficult times.