Botsman boils down 21st century trends for credit unions

World Credit Union Conference speaker suggests technologies to reinject humanness into the CU model

GOLD COAST, AU (August 1, 2014)  Collaboration through technology is transforming the way we live, work and consume, according to Rachel Botsman, founder of Collaborative Lab and closing speaker for World Council of Credit Unions’ World Credit Union Conference in Gold Coast, Australia, Wednesday. The key to credit unions’ twenty-first century success, she said, lies in their technology’s ability to improve business and society for members.

“Technology can help bring back things we’ve lost in society and business: trust, empowerment, community and humanness,” said Bostman, author of What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, named by TIME magazine as one of the ’10 Ideas That Will Change The World.’

Through a compilation of cutting-edge social lending, crowd funding and peer-to-peer currency platform examples, Botsman revealed how people’s relationship to their jobs, money, data, community and material possessions will radically transform over the next decade. Credit unions should start thinking now about how to embrace disruption to get ahead of the curve, according to Botmans.

“The four areas ripe for disruption are complex experiences, broken trust, redundant intermediaries and limited access,” Botsman said. “Think of this as a huge opportunity to recreate services that are built around humans.”

In reaction to disruption drivers, Botsman strongly encouraged credit unions to lean into the disruption, rather than ignore or fight against it, because the window of opportunity to reinvent oneself to stay relevant is shrinking. Fear is the main culprit holding organizations back from taking risks. However, credit unions have tremendous opportunities to empower people through their finances in ways never seen before using technology.

“We are at the start of one of the most profound reconfigurations of banking—and the ways in which we think about banking—that we have seen in centuries,” Botsman said.

Botsman advised the audience to rethink the way people can access assets and services through open models; embrace the shift from institutional trust to peer trust; remove redundant intermediaries to directly match wants and haves; and think of technology not as an ‘added’ complex layer, but as a simplifier.

Following the general session, several attendees visited a number of credit unions, building societies and mutual banks affiliated with Customer Owned Banking Association throughout Gold Coast and Brisbane. The tours included visits to CUA, bankmecu, QT Mutual Bank, Queenslander Credit Union, Railways Credit Union and Queensland Police Credit Union.

The 2014 World Credit Union Conference concluded 30 July with World Council’s annual awards ceremony, combined this year with Customer Owned Banking Association of Australia’s annual credit union awards, followed by a closing night reception at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.

Review conference activities, including daily event photos, on World Council’s Facebook and Twitter pages at and using #WCUC2014.

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions’ financial performance and increase their outreach.

World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council’s impact around the world at

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