Are credit unions ready for a post-pandemic world?

The COVID-19 public health crisis has forced us all into a new business and personal health reality.  Transitioning from crisis response, recovery, and eventually back to “normal” will be a slow process. CUNA Mutual Group’s chief economist, Steve Rick, predicts a pandemic impact on credit union balance sheets and earnings through 2021. As we begin to reassess our strategic plans and prioritize expenses – consider not only where expenses can be cut, but where investments can be made.

Credit unions can expect a lasting impact on what “business as usual” means post-pandemic. How will consumer behaviors change when conducting their banking business? Is your credit union prepared to interact with members in a digital-first environment? Consider your current technology in the areas of:

  • Online Account/Membership Opening
  • Online Loan Applications
  • E-Sign Solutions / E-Notarizations
  • Secure Online Chat / Text Messaging
  • Video-Based Remote Banking
  • Secure Data / Document Transfers
  • Mobile Payments
  • Member ID Verification

You might be thinking, “We already implemented technology like online account opening and online loan applications years ago.” Have you considered the user experience and ease of use for the member? In the age of mobile-only banks and instant decision loan applications, we can expect FinTechs and big banks to continue changing consumer expectations.

I am reminded of the Wallet Allocation Rule – a change in the way we perceive member satisfaction from the Filene Research Institute. Member loyalty scores (e.g. Net Promoter) alone do not tell credit unions the full story. Consider how a member would rate you against a competitor. A high member rating means very little if that member rates another institution higher.

“Chaos creates opportunity,” according to New York Times Best Selling Author and founder, Jeremy Gutsche. He and other futurists are espousing the idea that creativity and innovation will guide us out of this pandemic. Gutsche notes that companies like Apple, Disney, and General Electric were founded during periods of major economic decline. Credit unions have the capital to survive through the recovery, but will we choose to innovate and thrive in a post-pandemic world?

It is easy to feel overwhelmed with the pace of change and the dauntingly enormous task to innovate. Fortunately, you are not alone in the pursuit of innovation. Now is the time to recognize internal talent, lean on system partners, and look for opportunities to collaborate. Check with your league and your peers – we are all in this together.

Christopher Whalen

Christopher Whalen

Chris is the Vice President of Marketing for the Credit Union League of Connecticut, and leads the Strategic Partner program for its League Services Corporation. With nearly a decade serving ... Web: Details

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