Recent months have seen an ever-increasing volume of noise relating to the impending destruction of all but the wealthiest credit unions. The source of their imminent demise? Their lack of digital capabilities.
There’s certainly no doubt that self-service functions such as internet and mobile banking are here to stay, so is there still time to avoid such a fate? The traditional approach to answer such a question has often been to start with the existing position of each credit union, and take this as a base with which to assess their feature/function set against an imaginary “best in class” product. This tendency to assume that the current situation is a springboard into the future overlooks one simple question: Is this the best time to “go digital”?
Price is what you pay, value is what you get
The more affluent and largest of credit unions have led the way to digitization over the past decade or so, in step with the wider banking community. Whether the numbers are to be believed or not, we can safely be certain that billions have been thrown at the issue. In fact, an entire industry has been created based off the same doom-laden warning, “Digitize immediately or die,” with credit union tech engineers laboriously creating custom frameworks to build unique applications that showcase the functionality they believe their customers need, essentially building a tool in the hopes of giving their organization a viable entry into the digital age.
But what was actually achieved?
The un-unique selling point
The reality is that pretty much every credit union that has a website and mobile banking application capabilities has something that looks very similar to the competition, and offers almost identical functionality—basic banking utilities that genericize the user experience. The result has too often been a depersonalization of a relationship-led industry and a very expensive but ineffective customer experience.
Even worse, as each new technological advancement is made, these infrastructures need to be amended to keep up with the competition, sometimes even rebuilt from the ground up, using scarce IT resources that can cost a small fortune.
The cost versus the value of these initiatives can certainly be questioned. Is it worth millions of dollars to produce something that delivers what the customer could already receive at any other credit union in roughly the same way that every other credit union did it—and in a much less personalized way?
A new dawn
As these dire warnings of impending digital demise have been intensifying, a revolution has quietly taken root behind the scenes within the IT arena to address the problem: The “low code/no code” era has begun, and with it comes a whole new realm of possibilities for even the smallest credit union.
The requirement to build custom in-house technical frameworks is now able to be replaced with the ability to purchase off-the-shelf platforms that allow non-technical credit union employees to create applications that would have required budgets of eight figures or more previously.
These solutions aren’t always inexpensive, but instead of shoveling dollars into the furnace of constant IT maintenance and upgrades, those same dollars can be spent making sure that the relevant data is captured to create a truly personalized digital experience for the customer sitting in front of the application.
The time is now
So, are you behind the pack when it comes to digital transformation? If yes, it’s ok. Credit unions that have not started their digitization journey can start right now using the new low code/no code technological concept and potentially achieve better results than those that started a decade ago. The time to “go digital” is now and the organizations that are a bit behind the curve may well reap the rewards that they’ve won from their unwitting waiting game.