Let’s face it, as a credit union, our job is to move money. In the early days it was very simple. Most credit unions stories began with a handful of members (co-workers) that pooled their cash to start a financial cooperative and it went in a cigar box. You got a piece of paper that said how much you had in the cigar box. If you wanted to move some out, another piece of paper, ledger entry and they handed you the cash.
Fast forward to today and we have tons of options. If I want to move my money to pay my mortgage I can give my mortgage holder my routing and transit number and account number and they initiate the move. If I need to move money into my account, I can take a picture of a check I just received and send the image to the elves that convert it to money and give me credit in a couple of days.
Sometimes moving money is hard. Four times a year I have to move money to the State of New Mexico to pay my quarterly estimated taxes. The only option I have is to ask for this special piece of paper from my CU that has elf code on the bottom. I write on it and have to spell out “Four hundred and forty-five dollars and 00/100” and then sign it in cursive, which I’ve heard they no longer are teaching in schools because there’s no future in this method. Then I have to find a moving paper vehicle (envelope) and a money sticker (stamp) and drive (or walk) the mile to my mailroom and pray the government does its job.
We have been moving money like this for decades. And there are a lot of people that were not born when they still made cigar boxes that look at this thing called “banking” and wonder why it is so complicated. Enter those pesky Millennials who were born with a smart phone in their hand. Everything in the world handed to them in an app. And it’s not just enough to have it available on demand, it must also be visually stunning, and stupid easy to use.
My best friend lives in Seattle and of course frequents Starbucks. She moves money to her Starbucks app and when she buys me coffee (which she always does which is why she’s my best friend) she simply waves her magic smart phone over the elf eyes and bam. Money moved to Starbucks pot of gold. They merely made it sexy to pay for their overpriced commodity product. Just think of the money they are making on the float of all those coffee dollars. Dang!
I worry that we are sitting back behind the security wall that is the Federal Reserve Bank and watching this play out. So many FinTech companies are figuring out how to move money faster, cheaper and better.
James Dyson, founder of Dyson, said their mission is “To solve the obvious problems people seem to ignore.” He has devoted his life to studying the movement of air. He created the bagless vacuum cleaner with his cyclone technology. Have you used the Dyson blade hand dryer in a public bathroom? Fantastic! Also makes me realize how old and elastic my skin is on my hands. He has a bladeless fan that sells for $300.00. Wow.
We need to talk more about how we can work together to make money moving simpler and sexier for our members before someone does it for us. And that’s why I love the CUSO model. Cooperation among cooperatives is essential for our future success. In 2016 we debuted Partner Connection Sessions at the NACUSO Network Conference and have recently started a LinkedIn group. The purpose is to connect like-minded people passionate about our industry and, well, improve the way we move money.
So join the 58 members of NACUSO Partner Connection Sessions on LinkedIn and let’s talk about what moving money could and should be like in the future!