How to create a versatile digital transformation strategy

Much like many other credit unions, digital transformation at Coastal Credit Union is driven by our members’ needs. Here’s a look at how your credit union can create a versatile digital transformation strategy to keep up with the ever-increasing expectations. 

Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and other technology firms have shaped user experience requirements for all industries. Credit union members are expecting fast access to their finances anytime, anywhere through their selected channel. It’s important for members today to feel that they can take control of their finances from their digital devices while having a trusted partner to guide them throughout their financial journey. The demand from members is pushing credit unions to reimagine digital delivery and it challenges us to break the constraints of our existing systems to provide a more personal and adaptable experience for our current and future members. 

In today’s climate, credit unions and financial institutions everywhere have faced unique challenges brought on by COVID-19. With branches temporarily closed during this time, we have seen a bright spot in being able to demonstrate and communicate to our members all that our current digital banking offerings can provide from home – beyond just checking balances and transaction history. By offering features such as “Tap to Save”, appointment scheduling, mobile check depositing and emergency relief assistance, we’re proud to deliver convenient self-service access to members to assist them on their path to financial well-being in these tough times. 

In an effort to help members manage their finances amid the pandemic, we also offered a unique Skip-A-Pay option on our digital banking platforms. This allowed members who qualify to skip three months of loan payments simply by accepting our offer through our digital platform. The goal was to provide a user friendly, self-service mechanism that empowered members to take better control of their COVID-19 financial health. 

Transforming for the Future 

Our team does not shy away from big and bold ideas, which we feel is key to creating a versatile digital transformation strategy. Your credit union’s leadership team must constantly be thinking outside the box (and outside our industry) to continue evolving. From appointment scheduling to loan origination and everything in between – our team has brainstormed ideas for enhancing current services, as well as providing new ones. One of the biggest challenges that we have faced has been the system limitations of legacy products and providers. 

Coastal, like many credit unions, faces the challenge of being tied to a digital banking platform and the digital road map of that provider. Credit unions on those platforms have very little influence over enhancements to the product as changes are typically driven by the providers’ next contracted sell. 

Another key component of developing a versatile digital strategy is thinking about the future as we know this is the digital age and members will only expect more robust options from their financial institutions. Our digital vision for the next 2-5 years is to deliver a comprehensive suite of services to our membership that meet a full spectrum of financial needs, spanning all life stages and events, that is delivered through an engaging, immersive, and contextually relevant digital experience. Ideally, our experience will be both feature-rich, easy to use, and evergreen. 

A digital transformation strategy is necessary for credit unions to thrive into the future and often credit unions find external partners, such as Constellation, to achieve what’s next. Constellation is the answer to the legacy system challenge credit unions have faced for decades. The open platform promises industry changing advancements in online and mobile banking for credit unions. Through this partnership, we will be able to leverage new fintech partnerships to create the digital financial services of the future. 

In addition, Coastal is also leading the charge partnering with fellow credit unions in the creation of CU Railz. CU Railz is a CUSO that leverages the next generation PayRailz payment services platform. Together, this fintech partnership will finally deliver the payment ubiquity our members have been seeking. Because the truth is…our members don’t really care about the “how” money is moved:  transfer, ACH, card payment, Bill Pay, A2A, P2P, etc. They just need us to quickly and easily move their money. CU Railz will deliver a frictionless, “single-pane-of-glass” money movement experience. 

Regardless of asset size, to stay competitive, all credit unions should leverage the vast fintech marketplace, which plays such a critical role in providing innovative digital services. Member expectations for digital will continue to be driven by the largest fintech providers in the world. To be successful, and level the playing field with mega-banks, it will require credit unions’ cooperative investment in partnerships and collaborations that drive major digital transformation for the mutual benefit of our industry. We can no longer “go it alone!”

David Faleski

David Faleski

David Faleski has been serving members of the credit union industry since 1993. The last 17 years of his career have been spent at Coastal Credit Union in the beautiful ... Details

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