Innovate with the principles of human-centered design

Credit unions, by nature, are focused on the human connection with their membership, and that philosophy extends into a credit union’s products and services. As more banking services shift to digital, credit unions must apply human-centered design to their digital experiences to continue evolving and addressing members’ ever-changing demands. I recently talked with the President of AdvantEdge Digital Micheal Herman, who focuses on helping credit unions unlock their digital potential through consumer-centric digital experiences. We spoke at length about how credit unions can adapt their products to a digital landscape without losing that human connection.

Credit unions are facing a changing digital market, and this is especially true in the post-pandemic world. Micheal shared four emerging market realities credit unions are facing and will continue to face going forward:

  1. Fintechs and nontraditional financial institutions: These organizations with a focus on digital banking services are grabbing the attention of members and becoming an increasingly popular option.
  2. Digital-first experiences: Having digital banking services and products is now the expectation among all living generations, especially post-pandemic.
  3. Financial technology ecosystem: The ecosystem through which credit unions serve their members is not meeting consumer expectations. Some credit unions are even seeing a loan application abandonment rate as high as 75%!
  4. Loan volume, membership, and engagement: Credit unions are looking to increase all of this while decreasing operational expenses.

Contending with these new market realities and the pace of change in the modern world can sometimes be paralyzing. As Micheal suggested, “A lot of organizations, they’re actually so afraid of being late to the party that they end up just staying home.”

As daunting as it might seem to create and deliver digital products and services, human-centered design can give credit unions permission to launch a service or product without being perfect; fintechs do this all the time. In fact, their products are launched imperfectly – that doesn’t mean that the security and compliance checklist is ignored – and feedback is used in further iterations. After launch, product designers watch, listen, and learn from the real-life experiences of consumers to continuously improve the product.

Micheal emphasized that human-centered design applies across all industries and product lines, and credit unions should adopt its principles without needing a lot of resources to kick off the process. Consider: Is your credit union communicating with your members across all levels for the insights you need? 

Another key point to remember, according to Micheal, is you don’t always have to be creating something new. It’s about meeting members where they are, and routinely checking in and improving your core and strongest products to ensure they continue meeting members’ needs. The moment your credit union forgets to listen to the membership, you will be at a disadvantage, he advised, so keep on listening. Even in the virtual world, consumers will respond on a digital platform or service as long as there’s a sense of human connection, community, and belonging—all hallmarks of the credit union mission. 

Access my full conversation with Micheal for more insights here.

Randy Salser

Randy Salser

Randy Salser was appointed President of NAFCU Services Corporation in October of 2013. He comes to the credit union industry with over 15 years of executive-level experience in the areas ... Web: Details