Transformative ideas are sparks that move any industry forward. The credit union industry itself was the realization of a transformative idea. And it was achieved by no single person. Instead, it was realized by the coming together of many people who knew that the brilliant idea was worth pursuing and the dream worth living. In other words, collaboration was the path forward.
Traditionally, big banks have largely had the upper hand in collaboration – in attracting the financial technology firms developing cutting-edge solutions that promise to transform the way banks do business. Every day as consumers turn more and more to digital solutions in the midst of the pandemic, fintech startups are emerging on the scene with new technologies designed for online banking, lending, payments, savings, financial education, member enablement, cybersecurity, and more. The visibility of big banks – and the big dollar signs attached to them – has given them an advantage, leaving credit unions working harder than ever to keep pace.
And that’s a problem because as credit unions work diligently to better the lives of their members, putting their profits back into the well-being of those they serve, it only fits that credit unions find an advantage of their own.
One solution to this problem was in and of itself a brilliant idea: take charge of creating a collaborative environment for credit unions and fintech startups. By partnering to create a new venture capital cooperative focused solely on credit unions, fintechs and credit unions could work together to offer the potential for members to engage more easily with their credit unions and simplify the process for using new services.
With a ready source of capital to attract fintech companies to credit unions, the industry is more likely to attract state-of-the-art banking technology that will appeal to an increasingly online membership base. With a more satisfied membership base, credit unions can expect more growth. In this way, the investment cycles back not only to the credit union but also to the membership … and back again.
This kind of collaboration is a fitting solution for an industry known for people helping people. And it’s a way the credit union industry can put to work its biggest strength, cooperatively building toward a better, brighter, more competitive future not just for credit unions but also for our members.