We know we need to digitize, but Grandpa will be upset…

In a world where everything seems to be getting a digital makeover, credit unions are no exception. You, my compliance and risk management friends, have your work cut out for you.

Gone are the days when everything was hands-on. Tellers diligently stamped passbooks, put money in accounts, took money out of accounts, moved money from account to account, and made personal connections that were as important as the savings account balance. Welcome to the age of digital transformation, where credit unions are embracing technology like never before. Join this age of transformation, as we strap in for a hilariously high-tech time at CUNA Compliance & Risk Council Conference at the Boston Plaza Hotel, October 2-4.

Picture this:

You walk into your credit union, expecting the familiar sight of friendly tellers behind their counters. Credit unions worked hard to transition from members seeing the tops of tellers’ heads as they studied their computer screens to heads up with a smile and a personal greeting. But wait, what’s that? It’s not a person greeting you; it’s a holographic avatar named “CU-Bot” or an ITM with a smiling avatar waving you to the keyboard! Yes, my friends, credit unions now employ AI-powered bots and machine-learned teller machines to handle customer interactions. Forget the warm smiles and friendly banter; you’ll be conversing with a digitized entity that sounds like Siri’s distant cousin on helium.

But the digital transformation doesn’t stop at virtual assistants:

Credit unions have decided to take on the big guns of the tech world by introducing their mobile apps. Want to check your account balance? There’s an app for that. Need to transfer funds? There’s an app for that. Want to request a loan? Well, you get the drift. Soon, your smartphone will have more credit union apps than the number of selfies you’ve taken. Just what we need, more apps on our smartphone that we can’t find when we need them — you’ll now call the contact center to ask, “Which icon was the lending app?” only to get a computer voice asking you to select from a large list of options, none of which seem to be quite right.

Now, let’s talk about security:

I know all of you attending CUNA Compliance & Risk Council Conference occasionally think about security and risk mitigation. Credit unions have always been known for stringent security measures, but the digital age demands more protection for the member and the credit union. If you are not already overwhelmed with figuring out the risk profile of a digital, ATM, call center or mobile member versus the member standing in front of your ITM or holographic greeter, brace yourself for the ultimate security innovation – retina scans! That’s right; forget about pesky PINs or complex passwords. Just stare deeply into the camera, and your credit union will grant you access to your funds (well, that’s what the sales rep told us). But be warned: if the member has a lazy eye, a stye, or suffers from stage fright, they will be in for a bumpy ride. Risk mitigation and compliance might take a backseat to mend the relationship with a frustrated Grandpa who can’t get ten perfect $5 bills to hand out to his grandkids at the family reunion.

What about the beloved newsletter?

Remember those charming credit union newsletters that used to grace your mailbox? Well, they’ve received a futuristic upgrade too. Say hello to “personalized” digital newsletters delivered straight to your email inbox, most of which end up in the spam folder. But also, be prepared to sift through a barrage of messages that start with “Dear valued member” and end with “Our privacy policy has been updated.” Just when you thought you were done writing terms and conditions and doing risk and compliance analysis, the digitization of your credit union finds a way to bring them back into your decision queue repeatedly.

But good ol’ credit union events can’t go digital, right?

Virtual webinars, Teams and Zoom events have replaced those quaint coffee and cookie affairs. Now you can learn how to balance your checkbook from the comfort of your living room or learn about the intricacies of financial planning while wearing your pajamas. You can even run a virtual 10K your credit union is sponsoring by strapping your Fitbit on your puppy and letting him put in the steps while you binge-watch the new season of The Real Housewives of Orange County. Who says you can’t multitask?

So, to all of my friends working in compliance and risk management, digital transformation has truly revolutionized credit unions. While some may yearn for the nostalgia of Grandpa’s credit union, complete with friendly faces and handwritten receipts, the future is here, and it’s digitized. Whether you’re chatting with CU-Bot, scanning your retinas or biting on “virtual cookies,” one thing is certain — this is not your grandfather’s credit union. And hey, if nothing else, you won’t have to worry about losing your savings account passbook anymore.

If you want to get a grip on compliance and risk management in this digitized world, join me and a multitude of other speakers and guests at CUNA Compliance & Risk Council conference, October 2-4 in Boston.