Neither big banks nor credit unions were prepared for the panic and major strategy pivoting that took place this year. COVID-19 has shaken nearly every industry to its core – so let’s focus on credit union solutions that will spell success in the future.
Identifying powerful trends can drive important changes that will set your credit union ahead of that elusive, ever-changing curve of tech, customer, and financial landscape changes. Modernization has not always been a top priority for credit unions, which typically have done more business with Gen X and older members.
However, at the start of the pandemic everyone rushed to their banks to take out as much cash as possible, in preparation for the shutdowns – but a few weeks later, according to UCCU CEO Steven Stapp, “suddenly all they want is the card.”
Customer needs are changing more rapidly, which means your credit union’s response has to keep up with these quick changes.
Focus on the Customers and Their Need for Great Contactless Experiences
Contactless experiences are an emerging trend that will likely stay around. Customers are moving away from credit cards, spending, and in-store shopping and now prefer debit cards, saving, and perusing online stores.
Giants like Amazon, who have all but perfected the customer experience, are skewing user preferences towards that model. Now, online customers are expecting easy, lightning-fast service with top tech.
This also means that real-time assistance with customer issues is a luxury no longer – it is a necessity for your Millennial and Gen Z customers, and it’s becoming a strong preference for older generations as they are learning to navigate this new digital-forward, post-pandemic world.
The challenge for credit unions moving forward will be tailoring their approaches and offerings to each CU’s region and specific demographics.
Meet Demand for Faster Payments
Fast service also means faster payments. With in-person visits being discouraged, the time between a transaction request and its posting or transfer can no longer be held up by days, as has been standard in the past.
“Differing member needs and expectations will impact each credit union’s choice of a payments solution, but noted there are four key experiences and procedures that all credit unions should keep in mind,” according to this recap of a PSCU white paper.
Those four things are:
- Member experience and design – responsible for account controls, contact strategy, and instant issuance
- Operational rigor – things like authorization strategies, general ledger practices, and liquidity management
- Enterprise fraud management – changes to authentication, dark web monitoring, and real-time analytics
- Compliance – includes consideration of changes to exception processing, payment scheme rules and regulations
Take Advantage of Outside Specialists
Credit unions and their employees should be focusing on customer-forward solutions, not on background tech and applications.
There are many third-party options for things like core hosting, payment delivery systems, and the like. Taking these burdens off your staff can free up time and energy for optimizing other areas of your member experience.
CUs Must Be Proactive to Beat Out Big Banks
Historically, credit unions have been slower to react than big banks when it comes to implementing new technology and processes. If your credit unions can adapt and innovate quickly, they can capture a lot of new customers. An essential part of this rapid implementation can be coupled with the previous trend – outsourcing intricate niche operations to companies with experience and optimized solutions.