In anticipation of strategic planning season, credit union leaders are contemplating how this year’s planning efforts can adequately address the unprecedented and wide-ranging needs of today’s members. With so much uncertainty around the long-tail economic, cultural and behavioral effects of COVID-19, it will be tricky to understand where a particular credit union can have the greatest impact.
Yet, the promise of data analytics makes planning and “seeing ahead for members” and the credit union feel much more achievable. And to do that, leveraging the predictive power of data is key.
The events that have occurred so far in 2020 have triggered something of an inflection point for credit unions. The movement’s foundational principles are more poignant and arguably needed more now than at any other time in our history. Ensuring the industry is well-positioned to help those who need us the most will require expansive thinkers who are ready to bring about real change – both for the movement and the people it serves. As such, we need to ask ourselves three critical questions:
What does transformation mean for us? America is in the midst of sweeping societal evolution. How can credit unions of all sizes smartly see around the corner and get in position to help members prepare for what’s next? Digital and data transformation is not the exclusive domain of big banks and big tech – nor even just the largest credit unions. Small credit unions have just as much opportunity to become the nimble, digitally-forward and data-centric organizations today’s consumers need to achieve financial success . . . even as the world as they know it is changed forever.
Is it better to build or buy? Fintech ceased being a “disruption” years ago; it’s now the rule. Consumers expect hyper-personalized, predictive banking experiences, and that requires supreme data competency and access to sophisticated technology. Credit unions must confront an age-old question for a new era: Do we build or do we buy? Digital transformation calls on credit unions to be agile and capable of executing fast. Fintech partnerships with like-minded innovators can add a layer of agility over a solid member-centric foundation.
How do we innovate with intention? The pace of innovation can detract from the root need for change. How can credit unions develop and fine-tune a strategy to stay focused on who and for what they are innovating? The people-helping-people spirit continues to ring true in the hearts and minds of the industry’s leaders and the members it serves. As credit unions design their individual transformation roadmaps, it will be important to hold true to the movement’s foundational principles.
I’ll discuss more on this topic at the Discovery 2020 Conference in a panel titled “People Helping People in the Digital Era,” and I hope you’ll consider joining us – the virtual event has been hosted free and online for 11 years, so it promises to be a highly engaging conference full of practical ideas you can implement during this year’s strategic planning sessions.