Can a credit union realize the digital-first dream?

When you think of tech-savvy players in the digital banking game, credit unions don't usually come to mind. Alliant Credit Union is aiming to change that.

Remote self-service access has long been an integral part of Alliant Credit Union’s strategy. They’ve been helping members through a variety of channels since they were founded back in 1935 to serve employees of United Airlines. With their members — pilots and flight attendants — traversing all around the world for work, having a big branch network wasn’t a priority.

Today, the credit union has 345,000 members and $9.5 billion in assets, making it the 8th largest in the United States. And yet they only have 12 branches — one of the highest branch-to-asset ratios in banking.

So when Alliant’s decided to pursue a transition to a digital-first model, it was a natural progression from their earlier roots.

“Today’s consumers value convenience, and are increasingly use digital channels,” says Dave Mooney, President and CEO of Alliant. “All the research out there underscores that banking is not ‘a place you go,’ it’s something you do. Today, your bank is in your pocket.”

What’s the credit union’s strategy? Their goal is to make it easy for members to conduct all their banking through online and mobile channels — even opening accounts. Because Alliant hasn’t relied on a traditional branch-based model the same way other retail institutions have, the shift to digital has been easier.

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