Lagging credit unions can still catch up with digital disruption

Missing the wakeup call doesn't mean 'Game Over.' Keep calm but get moving. Banking institutions that have been slow to grasp the tectonic changes happening as digitization takes over financial services can regain lost ground. That is, if those bank and credit union leaders willingly examine the present, seek a viable path to the future that fits their own markets, and make it clear to employees that survival demands change.

Digital disruption of financial services has been debated in articles, podcasts and studies for years. Conference planners have crammed agendas with the theme. Yet many community banks and credit unions are just waking up to the prominence of fintech and bigtech platforms and the realities of digital age competition. In fact, for many senior management teams and boards, the wake-up call has been followed by sheer panic.

No wonder. Some felt they had plenty of time to get their digital act together, seeing no incentive to tackle digital transformation quickly. Some serve smaller communities where consumers appeared content with the status quo. Paralysis by analysis hit some, while others simply became desensitized to the common buzzwords and deferred to old habits.

But like Rip Van Winkle, I have found, many bankers and credit union executives are now awakening to a world that has been changing dramatically while they were focusing on other priorities. A study from process mining company Celonis — a disruptor themselves — found that many C-suite executives just don’t know how to respond to disruption or where to start in developing a digital transformation strategy.


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