To protect the health of credit union members and workers, lobby areas and branches are now closed due to COVID-19. This means more of your members are relying on mobile and digital services for their banking needs. These services allow credit unions to remain competitive, especially as members are relying on you for financial assistance. Simply put, credit unions who are digitized are still able to provide services to members.
We can look at what happened in Ukraine as a recent example. A lack of digital services forced credit unions across the country to shut down for weeks. Poor IT infrastructure and an inability to provide online financial services caused many members to look elsewhere to conduct financial transactions, and put many at risk by turning to payday lenders. The loss of revenue during the shutdown led to capital and liquidity issues for many credit unions.
However, we know that credit unions excel at being trustworthy and friendly institutions. With the right digital approach and investments in technology, credit unions can rapidly respond to changes and stay in business. Here’s how:
Your first response to this crisis may be to buy more products to scale up services. But, the current situation we’re in forces us to think in the long term. What do members need and how does digitization support the overall business? Assembling an array of software solutions may cause more problems if not properly thought through or doesn’t have buy-in from your team. Address the core issues and find solutions that work for your organization, including selecting the right partners to execute the plan.
Going to a branch office to open a new account is now out of the question. So what does a digital relationship look like without branch engagement? It’s time to establish a process that educates members, keeps them in the loop on new products and maintains the same friendly service members can expect in-person at a branch.
Leveraging email, social media and your website are a great way to provide financial literacy and build a lasting relationship. For some, the convenience of online banking is the only way to go, while this may be a new experience for others. The most important thing is to provide accessible channels that give members a sense of security, trust and support at this time.
Economic support and security
Unemployment numbers are rising, people need leniency paying bills and members are losing their savings and retirement funds. People just don’t have the income they need and will take years to recover. Aside from government support, many will turn to their financial institutions for help.
Between the federal government’s Economic Impact Payments, small business loans and payment assistance plans, members are looking to access payments and recovery through grants and loan. Being able to take advantage of mobile applications to check account balances, apply online for financial assistance and receive electronic funds is key during this time. Many are realizing they didn’t have the savings needed in a crisis. Credit unions should be the guiding light to help members attain financial security.
It’s time to rethink the products you offer, how to deliver services and your role in the community. Not only are you on the front lines in the community for financial solutions, but you’re also shaping what customer service looks like for the future. Navigating through this time is going to be tough, but with strong leadership and forward thinking, your credit union will be stronger. We’re here to help.