It is no secret that credit unions are struggling to close the talent gap like any other industry, however, we believe credit unions are positioned to succeed in the current job market because of the industry’s collaborative nature.
As shared in an article published by CUInsight, “In this financial marketplace dominated by Goliath banks, credit unions stand apart due to their collaborative nature and commitment to service.”
The article states that CUSOs help credit unions compete with large financial institutions, offering several benefits including access to innovative technology, an expansion of services, and economies of scale.
We became a CUSO in 2021 and recently acquired another CUSO to expand our services to meet the needs of credit unions of all sizes. In our experience working with credit unions over 10+ years, we have found the sharing within the industry is critical to its ability to compete with big banks and fintechs.
Last year we partnered with Filene Research Institute on a new research project to understand credit unions’ technology infrastructure and cybersecurity readiness.
Filene surveyed 59 credit union managers including CEOs, COOs, and VPs for IT, and it was discovered that credit unions have complex views about the current state of their technology infrastructure and cybersecurity. 93% report that they are compliant with IT regulations, but less than half (49%) believe their IT is up to date.
- 49% believe their IT is up to date
- 42% believe they have needed personnel
- 32% believe they have needed data analytics
Many credit unions appear to have a formalistic (or reactive) approach to IT and cybersecurity, focusing more on compliance and security, but less on long-term or transformational investments.
While the pandemic helped accelerate the transition to the cloud for many credit unions, they struggle with talent, advanced technology and knowledge of the data compliance landscape, risks and opportunities for improvement.
Credit unions struggle to compete in the war on talent to attract and retain experienced IT professionals with the capabilities needed to drive a digital transformation. In many cases they simply can’t afford to hire qualified CISOs nor have the staff sophisticated enough to bring in vendors with capabilities needed.
When servers and critical network infrastructure such as switches, routers and firewalls aren’t monitored regularly to ensure systems are running optimally and efficiently, credit unions can be at risk for cyber breaches or infrastructure failure. Unfortunately, for small credit unions, they simply don’t have the teams or expertise to handle the level of monitoring needed.
As shared in the same article referenced above, technology-focused CUSOs can help credit unions enhance technology capabilities, “CUSOs enable credit unions to share the risks and costs of providing services to members. CUSOs could specialize in a given product or service which enables them to provide higher value products and services at a lower cost (per unit) to credit unions.”
In addition to building capacity to effectively monitor systems, perhaps most important to ensuring credit unions are able to better serve members is the development of an IT strategic plan that aligns with a credit union’s business plan.
Technology planning requires input from all areas of an organization. With partners like us, credit unions gain expertise in technology that can foster better conversation among the team to understand pain points, current processes and what is working and not working, help develop goals, and a roadmap and budget getting there.
Improving capacity to undergo robust digital transformation that allows credit union employees to focus on creating exceptional digital experiences for their members is the number one benefit of cloud adoption and partnering with CUSOs.
At a webinar we hosted with CUInsight back in the spring, Chad Ritchie, Chief Information Officer for Ventura Credit Union, shared, “Digital transformations eliminate the need for staff to do manual functions all day. With the right partners in place who can provide 24/7/365 managed services, credit union IT teams can focus on business strategy and member experiences. It’s hard to compete with Amazon, Microsoft, Google. But we no longer need a deep bench of expertise. We can create development plans to help people who want to learn and partner with vendors who provide the deep bench of expertise.”
The old playbook can be tossed. Credit unions need to shift mindsets, philosophies and cultures to see beyond the technology infrastructure and determine the best ecosystem in which to be agile and resilient.