Recently I’ve written about how credit unions are woefully behind the times, both in terms of the technology they possess and the policies they build around that technology. For example, my new credit union – one of the biggies in town – has a $500 daily ATM limit. Need $600 on a Sunday? Tough titty.
While I was standing in line the other day waiting to withdraw $800 from my checking account – which I could’ve done at a drive-through ATM at Gigantor Bank – I realized why this branch always seems to be brimming with activity. It’s because my credit union forces members into the branch due to their second-rate technology and 1997 policies regarding that technology.
I’ve also recently written about how credit unions that ignore the cryptocurrency revolution will be crushed by it like a tsunami. Three announcements that I saw earlier this week really drove this point home.
First, the Litecoin Foundation announced that it is working with two other companies to develop a Litecoin debit card. It’ll be a debit card just like any other, except for Litecoin. Stopping at 7-11 to buy a Milky Way? Pay with Litecoin. Did you finally find that mint, sealed copy of The Traveling Wilburys Volume I online? Pay with Litecoin. Soon credit unions will be battling Gigantor Bank and cryptocurrencies for coveted wallet share.
Next, a Berlin-based banking startup called Bitwala announced that it had partnered with solarisBank to create a hybrid account that lets consumers manage bitcoin and Euro through a single, unified mobile app. Makes sense. After all, consumers don’t care whether they’re spending bitcoin or dollars. They just know they’re spending money and they want to be able to spend it all the same way.
Finally, on this side of the pond, my friends at DaLand CUSO announced the Coin2Core Extended Ecosystem Wallet™ (C2C). Similar at least in spirit to the Bitwala product, C2C lets credit unions become the custodians of their members’ cryptoassets. What’s more, C2C lets credit unions do that by leveraging the capabilities of their existing core processing platforms.
When I first heard about C2C, I thought, holy crap, this is gonna be HUGE! Then I remembered how my credit union can’t even get ATM limits right and my excitement fizzled a little.
We can all think of companies that failed to adapt to the digitization of their industries and thus failed, period. Kodak and Toys R Us come to mind. I’m sure the same will hold true for credit unions. Coin2Core and technologies like it will be huge – for credit unions smart to read the writing on the wall. For the others, well, it’s been nice knowing you.