Financial wellness strategies crucial for credit union growth

Using a combination of technology, data and partnering, traditional financial institutions can match or surpass fintech innovations that consumers increasingly use to help them manage their everyday financial health. Many believe the trend will be the key to retail banking relevance and lead to a user-focused rather than product-focused revenue model.

Financial institution marketing has long focused on the milestones of life — first big job, marriage, homebuying, retirement. But that legacy focus may soon be eclipsed by the concept of financial wellness. Major life events clearly are still important, but are becoming just one part of a much larger priority.

“Financial well-being is not exclusive to those ‘financial moments’ when consumers make purposeful decisions on their finances,” writes Jan Bellens, Global Banking and Capital Markets Deputy Sector Leader for EY. “It is driven largely by everyday behavior and decisions — some big and binary (such as deciding to get a college degree), some small and gradual (such as going to the gym).”

Traditional financial institutions have not typically played a big role in these everyday financial decisions beyond handling transactions and providing loans — and in some cases providing transaction-related notifications. Money management tools mainly center around the monthly financial statement and call-center help. All important services, but pretty unexciting, Bellens observes.


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