Payments are the pathway to relationship primacy

I talk to credit union CEOs almost every day. As we approach the other side of this pandemic many have accelerated their move to digital, understanding that their members’ priorities and service expectations have shifted, including a desire to interact more through mobile and less in-branch. These credit unions are taking a page from Fintech – providing faster and more personalized engagements to drive more frequent transactions. The biggest question I get is “Where do I begin?” CEOs are wondering what are the right strategic investment choices to ensure they keep their current members, attract new ones and deepen that engagement to create a more lasting, primary financial relationship?

To help our credit unions place the right bets, CO-OP commissioned consulting firm EY to survey 2,000 credit union members and 1,000 prospects across all regions of the U.S. on their preferred banking behaviors. We wanted to understand how changing consumer behaviors and needs – a trend that has only accelerated during the pandemic – are impacting member relationships. Specifically, what we found was primary financial relationships (PFRs) are becoming increasingly fragmented, with Fintechs emerging as credit unions’ biggest threat. Among the sample surveyed, 30% of respondents reported having their PFR with a Fintech firm, and 30% with a credit union.


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