CUNA Mutual Group CIO: Understand how technology trends can impact your credit union

Phil Tschudy 608/231-7188
Rick Uhlmann 608/231-8940

The rapid “consumerization” of technology is changing how credit unions conduct business, making it vital to understand how these trends impact one’s credit union and, more importantly, how they impact member interaction. This was the core message presented Tuesday, by Rick Roy, CUNA Mutual Group senior vice president and chief information officer, at the annual CUNA Technology Council Conference.

Consumerization of IT is the increasing influence consumer products or technologies traditionally used by employees for personal use are having when they are brought into the corporate environment for business use, explained Roy. He identified social media, mobility, cloud computing and data security/privacy as four key trends credit unions should closely monitor as consumerization evolves.

“Social networks are changing how we talk, interact, sell, and build brands. The astounding reach social media has had on marketing and sales can create new opportunities for credit unions to reach new demographics, quickly and effectively,” Roy said.

The same can be said with the explosion of mobility. With millions of mobile devices sold worldwide, smartphones and tablets are inescapable and a consumer-driven revolution. “Mobility is a powerful market differentiator for credit unions,” adds Roy.

Roy also discussed the increased interest and viability of cloud computing in the credit union marketplace. “Today, cloud computing has experienced a major shift from infancy to a real business strategy for many companies. We are hearing more about how insurers are adopting software with a service (SaaS) platforms outside their core systems of policy administration, claims and financials,” said Roy.

But he also cautions that while market forces may push toward this strategy, the insurance industry is still assessing if it is the best solution. Roy acknowledges the potential drawbacks related to the security, performance and availability of cloud offerings. “Security for non-public, private information remains a huge concern for insurers, as it is a business issue that spans beyond just technology.”

Roy closed with discussion of the latest data security and privacy issues that continue to remain at the forefront for credit unions.

“Data breaches can happen quickly, and they have profound effects on credit unions, including financial ramifications, loss of members, brand damage, regulatory scrutiny, and legal liability,” Roy said. Many data breaches occur both internally and externally, including theft of personal information by employees or loss of unencrypted equipment containing personal information.

These threats change so frequently, that it is important to monitor this trend constantly. “Breaches occur from both internal and external sources, and many incidents can be easily prevented with changes in one’s internal controls.”

Roy provided several key recommendations for each trend.

  • For social media, develop an internal and external social media policy that incorporates clear corporate messaging standards for all employees to use.
  • For mobility strategies, embrace mobile devices’ new levels of productivity for employees, and create a secure, “mobility choice” support model.
  • When addressing security and privacy, eliminate all non-essential private and credit union data and encrypt the remaining data, including data on mobile devices.
  • For cloud computing, beware of industry hype, but closely monitor industry progress as options are maturing very quickly; be very clear on security and privacy shortcomings.

Roy closed by stating, “Ensure your technology strategy can support your business strategy, and that your people and processes are lined up to help your credit union capitalize on new market opportunities that come your way.”

CUNA Mutual Group insurance, retirement and investment products provide financial security and protection to credit unions and their members worldwide. With more than 75 years of true market commitment, CUNA Mutual Group’s vision is unwavering: To be a trusted business partner who delivers service excellence through customer-focused products and market-driven insight. More information on the company is available on the company’s Web site at

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name of CUNA Mutual Insurance Society, its affiliates and subsidiaries, including CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc.  Product availability and features may vary by jurisdiction and are subject to actual policy language. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wisconsin.


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