No cookie cutters in digital transformation

Credit unions must continue to engage members by being different from their competitors even as delivery emphasizes online and mobile.

Is digital transformation homogenizing financial services and undermining what sets credit unions apart? It’s an important question.

A digital transformation does make it harder to differentiate a financial institution, concedes Jim Burson, managing director of CUES Supplier member and strategic partner for technology services and strategic planning Cornerstone Advisors, Scottsdale, Arizona. Realistically, the technology largely comes from a catalog of vendor products.

“Few CUs have the resources to build their own technology,” he points out. And the financial services being digitized are pretty generic. “A remote check deposit app is a remote check deposit app.”

But that doesn’t mean CUs can’t still differentiate in a digital environment.

“Engagement is still possible—still critical—but it has to be a different kind of engagement in the digital world,” Burson explains. “The CU still has to engage the member in a personal, timely, relevant dialog, but do it more with the thoughtful use of data analytics and proactive outreach. Without that outreach, a digital-first strategy tends to differentiate based on price, and that is hard to sustain.”

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