Growing Loans Means Embracing Technology

From CUNA Mutual Group Public Relations

For more information:
Jess Noelck 608/231-7861
Rick Uhlmann 608/231-8940

SAN ANTONIO – Credit unions looking to grow member loans should invest in their technology infrastructure to meet the needs of current and future members, a CUNA Mutual Group researcher told an America’s Credit Union Conference Discovery breakout session audience today.

“How do you get new members in the door? By investing in technology, not loan officers and new lending processes,” said David Polet, Voice of Customer research manager.

You will grow loans by focusing on how consumers shop. With today’s technology, consumers no longer have to rely on the credit union for information. “Members have the ability to compare rates and quotes for loans at the tip of their fingers,” Polet added.

Credit unions need to adapt to the changing shopping landscape in order to grow loans. Fifteen years ago, the loan officer controlled the lending process because the consumer didn’t have access to as much information. Today, that’s not the case.

“Generation Y consumes and makes decisions completely differently than their parents,” Polet said, urging credit unions to embrace technology to meet Generation Y’s needs and to attract new members for loans.

“Baby boomers are retiring; their lending lives are coming to an end. That’s not the case for Generation Y whose lending lives are just beginning to grow,” Polet said. Credit unions must focus on meeting the expectations of Generation Y, especially since there are 84 million Generation Y consumers versus only 80 million baby boomers, according to 2010 US Census Bureau findings.

Polet explained how banks have more technology that is in tune with what Generation Y consumers expect. “Picture check deposits, text banking and mobile banking are all being embraced by banks,” said Polet, highlighting the need for credit unions to do the same.

In fact, many analysts are predicting mobile banking will overtake online banking in just a few years, he added.

“You must know your members and potential members to effectively use new technology,” Polet said.

According to a December 2009 Mercatus mobile banking study, mobile financial service capabilities were more influential in a consumer’s decision to select a financial institution than availability of online banking, access to ATMs, or nearby branches. The study also indicated that by 2014, more consumers will access their accounts through mobile devices than through the Internet.

“Mobile banking is clearly taking over the online channel. Keep in mind, in order to grow member loans you must grow your membership, which means your technology must benefit future members,” said Polet, stressing the need for credit unions to embrace mobile technology to attract the mobile member.

To better understand the needs of potential Generation Y members, Polet urged audience members to read:

He also recommended attendees read CUNA Mutual’s latest “Lending Strategies and Trends” white paper published in June 2011. It is the first of several white papers addressing lending and other challenges facing credit unions today.

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’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, Wis.

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