Recent research shows that most digital banking interactions tend to be impersonal and shallow. A 2023 Accenture study showed that a majority of online banking logins were only to check an account balance, while a 2022 McKinsey report showed that only 15% of new account opening happen digitally.
Think about digital onboarding, where members can be onboarded without ever stepping in a branch. On the surface this seems like a major convenience both for the members and the credit union. Yet surveys continually show that most members don’t want to open an account digitally. They want to come in and open it in person. And this is an incredibly valuable interaction for everyone involved, because it’s an opportunity for the member to ask as many questions as they’d like directly to a staff member and it builds a relationship that makes the member more likely to come back in when they need a mortgage or business loan.
A recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showed that nearly half of consumers don’t shop for a mortgage, and a huge 70% learn about mortgages and the mortgage process from their lender. Most people gravitate toward the institution that they’ve built an existing relationship with.
The key to success is creating more opportunities for in-person interactions and conversations, and this means getting more members into your branches. And not only getting them into branches but shifting these visits from servicing transactions to focusing on their financial wellbeing.
But how can you bring members in and create these interactions?
The key is in building experiences that elevate your credit union beyond “just a bank” by creating an environment where these high-value conversations can happen.
If your branches look like traditional banks, people will use them as such. They will come in to cash checks, make deposits, or open a new checking account. The physical barrier of the teller line separating members from staff is also a figurative barrier in building relationships.
This is why so many credit unions are moving to a universal associate model.
Take Verity Credit Union for example. The moment a member walks into one of their branches, they are greeted by a person who can help them with any issue they come in with. Whether it’s a problem that needs to be solved, advice about their financial wellbeing, or taking a new milestone in their life.
Digital banking is an incredibly valuable tool, but it works best as part of an omnichannel strategy that promotes face-to-face relationship building. But like any tool, each has jobs that they are best for. Make sure that your retail banking strategy matches the right tool to the right job.