As COVID-19 continues to impact how we live and work, credit unions are seeking new ways to serve and support their members during these uncertain times. While many priorities have shifted, the need for digital capabilities is not one of them. If anything, the pandemic has made it an even greater imperative.
This was made clear during the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), when the SBA leveraged financial institutions to funnel over $525 billion in loans to small businesses before the program ended on August 8, 2020. The night before the PPP was scheduled to go live in April, the SBA made last minute changes to the fundamentals of the program. Those lenders that had flexible, configurable, digital systems in place were able to accommodate the changes and help their small business members secure much needed funds before the money ran out.
As credit unions and their members navigate the maze of reopening phases and evolving local guidelines, it’s clear that the swift adoption of digital capabilities is essential for credit unions to be competitive and stay relevant. Below are three ways to enhance your institution’s offerings quickly and better serve your members now and in the future.
Focus on digitizing one line of business to start
Most financial institutions power their business processes with a variety of disparate, antiquated technologies, resulting in higher costs, duplicative data entry, and a lack of cohesion and efficiency. In an ideal digital transformation scenario, all systems are overhauled at the same time and the institution becomes a fully digital enterprise. However, not all institutions have the budget, appetite, or time for such a massive undertaking—especially when they need new digital capabilities now.
If your credit union falls into the second category, a faster and more efficient way to move forward is to digitize a single line of business, which can solve a specific pain point quickly and at a lower initial investment. Once a market-ready solution is successfully deployed, the financial institution can work toward a larger platform roadmap to digital transform with a scalable, sustainable and future-proof strategy.
Deploy digital deposit account opening and small business lending solutions
Since the pandemic, many people have been limiting trips outside the home and practicing social distancing. As a result, branch traffic has seen a dramatic decrease which may become permanent. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, 40% of people expect to visit their local branch less often after lockdown restrictions in their community end, and 85% of mobile and online users are planning to remain digital post-pandemic. These trends make it clear that credit unions must provide alternative channels to grow deposits and originate loans.
A frictionless, user-friendly digital deposit account opening solution can give members the ability to seamlessly start, continue and complete a deposit account or loan application and fund their new account across any channel, from any device, wherever they are and whenever they want. A digital small business lending solution can position institutions to take advantage of programs such as the PPP and offer their small business members the support they need when they need it. By digitizing these lines of business, credit unions can help protect both their members’ resources and livelihoods, and offer peace of mind during these uncertain times.
Provide tools to empower remote employees
Credit unions must modify business and operational models for two main reasons. The first is to better serve their members. The second is to prepare and empower employees to work in new ways.
When lockdown orders first went into effect, credit union employees found themselves working remotely, often from their home offices and kitchen tables. Those employees whose access to policies, processes and procedures were limited by their location could not serve the credit union’s members to the best of their ability. Enhanced digital capabilities such as a configurable, integrated and cloud-based content management system can solve this problem by eliminating the need for paper files and allowing employees to access what they need when they need it through a central, secure location.
While COVID-19 has changed many things about our lives, the mission of your credit union—to serve and support your members—has not. By enhancing your digital capabilities quickly, you can ensure that your institution will continue to be a steadfast presence in your community, no matter what changes your members and employees face.