This past week marks the third installment of stimulus check payments issued by the government. With President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, tens of millions more payments are yet to come, including EIP cards and stimulus checks for people receiving SSDI and SSI benefits. Yet, there seems to be a shift in the way people are thinking about using their stimulus. According to a recent Bloomberg article, more than a third of Americans are planning to stash that money away instead of the more luxurious spending trends of previous payments.
What does that mean for credit unions?
During this crisis, we know that “About three-in-ten U.S. adults say they worry every day or almost every day about the amount of debt they have (30%) and their ability to save for retirement (29%),” according to Pew Research. The trend stems from an uncertainty about the future and most Americans are certainly feeling this dread. That’s why this is a critical time for credit unions to step up and serve their community. Working to improve the financial well-being of your members should be your #1 goal in 2021.
Going back to the issue, this overflow of financial stress has resulted in waves of people seeking financial guidance and resources to help them navigate their way through these rough waters. Should they save that money, invest it, start a retirement portfolio? It’s tough for people to say during this time, but these are the questions on people’s minds as they get that stimulus check deposited into their account.
Many credit unions have already begun making the necessary additions to the business to accommodate these needs. The simplest trend has been to provide more COVID-related resources on their website to help people find the resources they need. Providing people with different strategies to improve their financial well-being is the first step to developing a better relationship with new and existing members.
Maybe you’ve added the necessary resources to your website, hired more staff, and developed new policies to help those struggling through the pandemic. The next step is to utilize the right technology to scale and market these new resources correctly.
If you’re using an outdated payment system, it’s time to make the switch to something a little more convenient. Giving your customers a range of options in which to manage their payments, web portal, IVR, SMS/text payments, gives them the power to pay how they want, whenever they want. At the same time, it eases the burden on your staff, allowing you to scale your business accordingly.
These payment channels make it easy for your customers to login and manage their payments, even setting up recurring payments, which has become a necessary tool for most financial institutions during this crisis.
As odd as it sounds to say, now is the time to expand your member base. People are looking for financial guidance so they can improve their unique situation. You need the proper tools and resources to help.
At BillingTree, we are here to support those critically important institutions by offering a powerful suite of products to make the payment process fast, simple, and safe. Reach out to learn how we can help you improve the member experience.