Each year, I take time to reflect on the changes that will be impacting our industry in the upcoming year. Aside from the usual regulatory challenges and never ending stream of Fintech startups, I wouldn’t expect any new major threats to the industry in 2017. However, I do believe a major opportunity has emerged for credit unions. This opportunity involves the shift in tools and techniques available for credit unions to digitally engage their members. No longer is this limited to online and mobile banking. Instead, the ability to create a digital brand that is utilized and reinforces the credit union’s message in every transaction is now available. Here are the credit union technology trends that are enabling this shift:
- Marketing Technology – credit unions have seen the vision and are starting to understand the importance of using technology to digitally engage members. Because members now consume information differently than in the past, it is imperative for tools like social media, content, websites, online banking, and mobile to all work together as a symphony to provide a great user experience for members. Marketing technology is more than just the MCIF system. It is real-time analytics, marketing automation, content marketing, social media and more all choreographed to deliver a consistent and repeatable member service experience that wows and delights members. Spoiler alert – if done properly it will impact every service, marketing and technology position in your credit union.
- Mobile transition – mobile banking will begin to transition away from being online banking on a phone – to starting to have more tactical technology like cardless cash access, rewards, ads and offers, peer to peer, order staging and other exciting advancements. Again, this ecosystem needs to be tied back into all of the branding, content, and other elements to deliver the ultimate Omni channel experience.
- Cloud – Credit Unions are finally realizing the promise of cloud. More credit unions will be researching options to get out of the infrastructure side of technology. Spoiler alert – the main drivers for adoption are to better align IT and Marketing with the business drivers of the credit union – gone are the days of IT holding up countless projects throughout the organization.
- Possible Fintech Regulation – The OCC and others are thinking of a Fintech charter system to enable Fintech providers to enter the market more legitimately. While cool – I doubt this will get off the ground with a trump administration. Along with Trump we may see some regulatory relief for credit unions…although not for awhile still.
- Cyber Security – will continue to grow in importance and will drive the adoption of cloud technology and other tool / service adoption at many credit unions. Meanwhile, increasing threats and breaches will continue. EMV deployments along with mobile utility will push for more mobile transactions. Credit Unions will need to adopt real-time detection, reaction and response to combat the never ending alphabet soup of cyber security.
- Analytics– Credit unions will begin to deploy real-time analytics and multiple analytics use cases to assist in the quest for digitally engaging members. Credit unions already have the data available, it will be all about the how and what to do with this data to promote the right type of targeted growth opportunities. Spolier alert: Credit Unions who figure this out and embed it throughout their departments will see significantly better than peer growth and much better member engagement.
- Cores –Nothing new going on here. To be fair – a couple of cloud based cores now exist.
- Virtual workforce technology – more credit unions will discover the option to have a remote workforce and how to enjoy all of the benefits. This change will challenge traditional corporate culture ideologies and those credit unions that can adapt and leverage (especially the mid-size) can get access to top notch resources at way more affordable prices.
- Member Experience – Credit Unions will look for out-of-the-box tactics/solutions when it comes to providing the best experience for members while also differentiating them from their competition.
- Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity – Credit Unions will seek out more robust solutions to allow for faster recoveries – further reducing risk for both CUs and their members. CUs are realizing the importance of DR/BCP as more than simply a regulatory requirement.
In short, we are in a wave of technology change reminiscent of the 90’s but a little less frothy. The main thing to remember is this– learning cultures and enabling ALL of your employees to leverage and use technology is the only way to keep up and win.