Credit Unions Might Be Reaching ‘Strategic Inflection Point’

The credit union system faces challenges and opportunities of incorporating digital convenience along with the co-op model of service and governance.

Just to keep up with competition and members’ preferences, credit unions must maintain a growing number of channels: branches, call centers, online banking, and mobile platforms.

As a result, “the credit union system could be in the midst of a ‘strategic inflection point’ due to rapid changes in the competitive landscape, digital technologies, and customer channel preferences,” says John Lass, CUNA Mutual Group’s senior vice president, strategy and business development, during the Online Discovery Conference.

A strategic inflection point, according to Lass, is a major shift in an industry’s competitive dynamic. “It’s a period when we have to take a close look at the way we’ve been doing business for so many years.” In fact, Lass suggests credit unions could be at a tipping point now.

Using examples from the movie, music, and publishing industries, Lass further explains strategic inflection points. For instance, after Apple launched iTunes in 2003, the music industry rapidly evolved into the digital age and, since then, more than 2,700 record stores have closed.

“iTunes is a vivid example of the music industry caught off-guard by the digital movement, and as a result, the CD and record industry has been hit with devastating losses,” Lass points out.

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