With the right partners, credit unions can (and should) go all in on digital for members

“Many credit unions are not investing in the digital capabilities that meet current prospective members’ wants and/or needs.”

This was the recent finding of a “digital experiences” review of the top 100 credit unions by asset size conducted by an independent panel of design, content, and analytics professionals.

The purpose of the review was to gauge how effective credit unions have been in offering digital experiences to their members, with an eye towards how those digital options might offer a competitive advantage in the future. Over the past few years, many credit unions have been willing to ante up and buy into the digital services game. There just seems to be a bit of a disconnect between what their members want, and what credit unions are giving them.

So how do credit unions close this gap between what their members are seeking in digital products and what they are providing? They can begin by examining what consumers have come to expect from other digital platforms, specifically, that of ecommerce. Members want an interaction with their financial institution that mimics their online shopping experience.

Online shopping titans like Amazon know that the key to a successful customer interaction is not just personalization, but to anticipate the customers’ needs and wants, often before they themselves do. Credit unions cannot be afraid to do a deeper dive into API, artificial intelligence, and cloud-based platforms if it means offering a better member experience.

The hurdle is that of how to deliver these cutting-edge digital services when credit unions often lack both the in-house resources and expertise to develop these products. The simplest, most cost-effective, and increasingly popular way is through strategic partnerships.

Increasingly, credit unions are investing in or partnering with fintechs that have the necessary experience and infrastructure to guide and advise them on expanding their menu of digital offerings. CUSOs and credit unions are cutting more deals than ever to access digital expertise and solutions as the speediest options to bring more digital products to market.

Teaming up with CUSOs and fintechs gives credit unions the opportunity to have access to extremely innovative technology and expand their range of services. It also has the added benefit of sharing both the risks and the costs of providing these technological services. CUSOs foster access to new member segments and/or expanding market segments, while credit unions are freed from the near-constant updates and maintenance they would be required to perform if they developed their own digital platforms.

Whether we refer to it as the Digital Age, the Information Age, or just the world we live in, data, and the systems that deliver it, influence every aspect of our lives. Credit unions must accept the unique survival challenge of their future; to deliver the digital experience their members want without sacrificing the personal touch for which credit unions are known.

By seeking out and developing strategic digital partners, credit unions will ensure their members experience more efficient and more satisfying digital interactions. This in turn will strengthen member relationships and fuel higher retention numbers. It may also create an influx of new members thanks to word of mouth and positive social media feedback.

John Dearing

John Dearing

John Dearing is a managing director at Capstone, a leading advisory firm focused on helping credit unions and CUSOs grow through proactive strategic growth programs and mergers and acquisitions. He ... Web: www.CapstoneStrategic.com Details