By Mark Vipond
To remain competitive, credit unions must have an ever-evolving strategic plan that delivers greater member value across an increasing number of channels.
To achieve this goal, several areas must be addressed: enhancing current efficiencies, meeting compliance demands and “keeping up with the Joneses” to make sure other financial institutions vying for your members do not make them their customers. Many leading credit unions are turning to technology to assist them in meeting this challenge.
This is understandable. Technology offers operational efficiencies through automation and consumers continue to be enamored with the convenience technical innovations provide them especially in the form of digital devices such as, laptops, smartphones and tablets. Today, through the digital channel these devices unlock, consumers also receive a new level of customer service that centers on their unique needs by leveraging data on their previous interactions.
However, if credit unions are going to effectively use technology to assist them in delivering greater member value, they must do so in a strategic rather than tactical fashion. To date, many credit unions have struggled to do this. They have deployed in-house solutions or contracted with third-party vendors for online and mobile solutions that run on separate platforms, creating suboptimal user experiences and making it very difficult to access the data they need to personalize the member’s experience.
Now is the Time for Reflection
Technology is readily available that can facilitate the consolidation of all digital banking channels and provide accessibility to the data existing across them as well as in back-end systems. This technology makes it possible for credit unions to access and analyze member activity then respond with relevant, targeted messages and assistance. In addition, very real savings are realized by deploying this technology via lower implementation cost, license fees, and operational overhead.
Now is the time for credit unions to reflect upon their traditional way of thinking about the practices they have in place, and establish strategies using this emerging technology to address the needs of their members. To do this they will need to consider young, smaller innovative companies developing best of breed solutions. Large legacy and core providers are not structured in a way that allows them to innovate quickly; their large customer bases and broad solution sets limit their flexibility.
Exploring these options will require getting comfortable with an approach to digital banking that is built on a single platform that provides a consistent user experience and access to the data required to personalize value added services. This is the wave of the future. It has established itself as a transformative business strategy, one that is solely concentrating on member choice.