Big Moves in Mobile Banking

 

Mobile banking, a feature that’s been around for years, has suddenly become a primary means for credit union members to carry out as much of their financial activity as possible.

Let’s take a look at how mobile banking is succeeding – and the areas that need some work.

Winning Features from Top CUs

Nerd Wallet recently shared a list of the 6 Best Banks and Credit Unions for Mobile Banking, and here are the top tools each is using to entice customers and enhance their mobile offerings:

  •  Tools for managing and increasing savings
  • High interest rate on savings
  • Generous ATM fee reimbursements
  • Advanced mobile app security
  • Wide branch access
  • High daily limit for depositing checks

This is a great cross-section of the types of features mobile banking customers are coming to expect.

Balance Preview & Other Communication Features

Balance preview is a successful feature Alliant Credit Union implemented that allows members to check their balances quickly without logging in.

More transparent communication options are going to be big draws for mobile banking apps as more and more people move away from doing business in physical credit union locations and adopt a more mobile-forward approach on a permanent basis.

Communication features like messaging and chats that connect members to customer service representatives are also great features for any mobile banking app. This allows some AI or one-to-one interactions to help your customers navigate functionality or update issues and answer general information questions.

Mobile Bill Pay Is Mutually Beneficial

Online and mobile bill pay is a great process that mutually benefits credit unions and their members. Automating payments means peace of mind and one less thing to worry about for members, and it also means credit unions don’t have as many late payment issues to work through.

This is still an area of potential growth for many credit unions. Running targeted campaigns and offering informational materials describing the benefits and features of automatic bill pay could increase your credit union’s appeal and position as a tech-forward financial option.

Personalization

As with many mobile-based programs, mobile banking is going to evolve to become more and more customizable for users. Everyone carries out their financial responsibilities differently, so it makes sense that mobile banking is also going to benefit from this personalization.

Personalization can include a variety of transactional or banking insights based on each member’s preferences and activities, icon placement and size, photos, and personal financial goals.

Security

This personalization can also be applied to security features. The goal of the mobile banking experience should be to fit into every member’s lifestyle and preference. A tall order, but many online experiences are incorporating similar features to create the optimal experience for each user.

As for security, this could mean creating options for fast, seamless login features like fingerprint scans, face ID, push notifications for logging in and tracking activity, and other biometric-based options.

Implementing security features that can stop cyber criminals without making login and verification processes annoying and time-consuming for users is going to be the challenge here.

For Credit Unions Looking to Update Their Digital Solutions

IMS Integration has a host of great credit union solutions, including Make a Statement, Online Courtesy Pay, Online Self Service forms, and Trial Balance. Request a consultation today for more information about our credit union solutions.


Trends in Auto Lending

 

Today, credit unions are tasked with adapting older or outdated processes and services to a newer market. Add a pandemic to the mix, and you see a surge in online and mobile banking that will be hard to ignore from now on. And auto lending is no different.

Here are some trends in auto lending to watch for.

Online Car Shopping Trends

With social distancing and increased cleaning protocols, shopping for cars online has become a go-to for those in the market for a new ride.

And once they start that online car shopping process, interested individuals want to make sure they can get financing before they invest themselves emotionally in a car they won’t be able to get a loan for.

More and more, the future of auto shopping and lending is going to be virtual. And that’s why your credit union needs to be ready to embrace the following trends to capture your portion of this audience’s attention and business.

Early Loan Preapprovals

61% of new car financing happens through vehicle manufacturers and dealerships, but the majority of used car financing takes place at banks and credit unions.

This presents an opportunity for your credit union to offer auto loan pre-approvals to members through multi-channel campaigns so you can reach them before they try to finance those loans through other dealerships or financial institutions.

Increase Loan Amounts

CU Management has some compelling insights about how credit unions can play to their auto lending strengths:

“Credit unions tend to go a little bit larger in the average amount financed compared to banks and finance companies…They don’t go out the longest terms, but when you combine their sweet spot of 73 months with low interest rates, credit unions offer the most competitive product in the marketplace, particularly for prime and super-prime customers.”

By increasing loan amounts and offering competitive interest rates, you can give your members the opportunity to treat themselves to a slightly nicer car than they anticipated. You can position it as a post-pandemic opportunity at pandemic-like rates. This will be appealing to your members, especially as they watch gas, home remodel materials, and other prices go up in response to the vaccine rollout and the decreasing COVID restrictions.

Leverage Past Applications for Refinancing

Refinancing has defined many interactions between consumers and financial institutions in the last year, so why not keep that momentum going?

Credit unions can recapture a lot of business by going back through 2019 and 2020 loan applications that were lost or abandoned, and offering those applicants who are members some refinancing options.

Increase Education Efforts

The pandemic gave us all a good look at which areas of our lives – especially those tied to finances – we could use some more education in.

Credit unions are perfectly positioned to offer a wider variety of educational content geared toward different financial situations and age groups. What millennials need right now may not be the same as what Gen Xers needed at that same age. Tailoring your education to more targeted demographics can broaden your credit union’s reach while also appealing more directly to younger generations, who are always looking for more value and insight from expert brands.

Focus on Alternative Credit Data

Many millennials and Gen Zers are not going to have the traditional lines of credit that their parents and grandparents had when applying for loans. For those who are too young to have a well-rounded traditional credit score, take a look at other financial areas such as rental records, utility payments, address consistency, and employment history. 

This is a great way to capture a traditionally overlooked population looking for an auto lender.

Tech Upgrades

IMS Integration can help improve your credit union online offerings, starting with web loan applications. IMSI’s online loan applications are designed to incorporate your credit union brand and image and can be designed to collect as much information as you need.

Request a consultation today for more information about our credit union solutions.


Credit Union Leadership Tips for Improving Performance and Problem-Solving

 

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” –Phil Jackson

Credit unions, like many businesses, are coming off one of the toughest years in modern history. To get through this and start moving forward with some solid momentum this year, let’s talk about some credit union leadership tips to improve performance and solve problems.  

Separate the Problems

There are two different types of problems: ones you solve and ones you can disregard.

As a leader, your employees should come to you with potential issues, but it’s important to be able to distinguish which ones you need to devote time and resources to, and which ones are isolated incidents or one-off problems that aren’t likely to crop up again.

Just because something isn’t working doesn’t mean it is a problem that needs to be solved. A problem is only worth your time if it can be assessed in context with your goals and you determine it will inhibit you from reaching those goals.

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goals by Hyper-Focusing on Damage Control

There are tons of examples of the 80/20 rule in business, which states that 80% of all business success is going to be attributed to 20% of its processes.

But if your only focus is damage control or problem-solving, the 20% of the processes that are necessary for your credit union to grow isn’t being completed.

One way to change this trajectory is to practice your own 80/20 strategy – encourage your employees to spend 80% of their time doing their regular job duties, and allow for 20% of their time to be focused on brainstorming and implementing new ways to grow your business.

Losing sight of your goals is just as bad as not having any in the first place.

Embrace a Targeted Approach

There are always more problems. Even if you have a perfectly trained staff that never makes mistakes, you will still encounter issues.

And expanding your resources doesn’t always help. Kristen Cox, consultant and former Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget in the State of Utah, talks about the “seductive seven” – common ineffective tactics that organizations often use when responding to problems.

The Seductive Seven are:

  •  More Technology
  • More Data
  • More Strategy
  • More Training & Communication
  • More Reorganization
  • More Accountability & Assigning Blame
  • More Money

These things are seductive in that these things often pull focus and allow leaders to fixate on these shiny solutions rather than creating space for any actual problem-solving.

Kristen goes on to say that increasing performance means leaders must “start by stopping.” Your credit union’s resources are not infinite. So, rather than employing lots of quick fixes and buzzword action plans, you must devote your time to training your staff to recognize when to stop doing things that aren’t working.

It seems counterintuitive at first, but success comes not just from doing things that are helpful, but also from ceasing activities that don’t return good results, axing technology solutions that don’t work for you, and amending processes to weed out redundancies.

Implement Software Solutions That Work

As we said, it’s not about implementing more technology – it’s about implementing the right technology. And IMS Integration is here with your credit union-specific problem-solving software.

IMS Integration is here with a full range of credit union software solutions to take your problem-solving effectiveness to the next level.

Request a consultation today for more information about our credit union solutions.


How to Improve Credit Union Customer Service

 

We’ve talked previously about trends credit union customers will come to expect and ways to improve member experience in previous blog posts. But a lot has changed in the last year. So let’s take a look at some new ways to improve credit union customer service.

Focus on Financial Well-Being

Credit unions are very community-oriented and collaboration-focused. And as more young adults come of age in these financially uncertain times, they don’t just need a bank, they need a financial institution that can also act as a teacher or guide.

Millennials and Gen Z spend money and view debt differently than older generations. And many times, they look to the internet for answers. So why not use your credit union’s online presence and customer approach to provide those answers for them? You can build trust with younger demographics by positioning your credit union as not only a bank, but also a partner throughout their financial lives.

By focusing on helping your members pursue financial well-being, you can not only provide better customer service, but you can also see what trends and growth areas exist in your immediate market.

This is also a strategic way to invite more small businesses to bank with you as well. Often, owners of small businesses are forced to be their own supervisor, employee, accountant, marketer, and so much more. If you have resources and experienced advisors available, SMBs will see that as a huge advantage.

Leverage APIs

An application programming interface – or API – is a “code that allows two application systems to connect and share information with each other. You can see some quick and easy examples in this CUInsight article.

Leveraging APIs helps credit unions compete with the big banks and their multi-million dollar tech resources. APIs allow your CU to save time and money on significant website and app improvements by using pre-built programs to help drive engagement and growth.

Listen to Your Employees

Being a credit union leader often involves making hard decisions, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it in a vacuum. You have dozens of experienced employees who are your boots on the ground every day. One of the best ways to improve credit union customer service is to listen to the struggles of your staff.

If there are systems or procedures that have not been updated or optimized in a while, talk to the people who use them every day. Ask them what they struggle with, and what their members are struggling with. Having an open-door policy on process improvements can allow your credit union to keep moving forward with incremental changes, rather than forcing shutdowns or huge company-wide strategy overhauls in the coming years.

Take Advantage of Testing

You’ve heard it before: no two customers are alike and no two businesses – even two branches of the same credit union – are alike. Just because a messaging system isn’t well-received at branch A doesn’t mean the system should be scrapped or replaced. It means you should do some testing to find the reasons certain programs are working at each branch of your credit union.

Testing, especially after the year of rapid technological change we just had, is paramount to the success of your credit union. Some of the temporary solutions you’ve implemented may be great tools or resources to keep for the long haul. And maybe others need some refining before they can be considered an asset to your business.

Offer Great Online Resources and Services

Fintech partnering is a big trend right now, and it’s probably going to stick around for a while. Finding companies that can help you provide valuable services online is a great, cost-effective way to improve customer service.

IMS Integration is here to help you optimize your credit union’s website with Web Loan Applications, Online Account Opening, and so much more.

Contact us today for more information about our credit union solutions.


Human Interface – Fintech with a Personal Touch

 

As more and more banking operations go digital, it’s easy to get caught up in the convenience and forget about the human aspect of doing business. And that human aspect, the connection to community and customer, is what sets credit unions apart from other financial institutions. And that’s why creating human interfaces is so important in this age of digital transformation.

Let’s take a look at what a human interface is and the benefits of having this software in your credit union arsenal.

What is a Human Interface?

“Human interface” is a term you have probably not heard as often as “bots” or “intelligent virtual assistants.” But human interfaces mean that these advanced and emerging technologies are learning to look and talk the way real people naturally look and talk. Here’s a quick video that explains the evolution and importance of human interfaces.

Benefits of a Human Interface

While this technology may seem overwhelming at first, there are many benefits to creating technology that better understands and interacts with humans. It means your credit union can more fully serve its customers, even from the comfort of their own home. Here are some of the top benefits of human interfaces.

Anticipate Customer Needs, Based on Common Search Terms and Collected Data

You may be surprised to find out very few credit union and bank customers use bots and virtual assistants for digital support. Technologies have been enhanced in recent years to become more intuitive and user-friendly. These enhancements mean navigating and using your credit union’s website or app is easy for most of your members.

With these improvements, bots and virtual assistants are now using the data they collect on member usage. This can show you exactly what areas customers need assistance with and allow you and your credit union to cater to those needs. You can also use the data to provide more targeted training to your employees based on customer search trends.

Conversational Use is More Effective

Did you know over 30% of the time, “people say ‘hello’ or some other personal greeting when they start interacting with a bot?” Human interface bots seem more human, so customers treat them that way.

The recreation of that “personal touch” human interfaces can replicate means credit union members feel more comfortable using the service, and they continue to reach out via digital assistant to perform many standard or low-level banking functions. This allows your employees more time to handle more difficult or intricate tasks.

The conversational experience in human interface technologies can also help enhance the user experience. It is easier for people to use a computer if they can talk to it. Think about how much easier it is to learn a new app or feature on your phone or smart device when someone is explaining it to you, versus trying to follow written instructions for use.  

Reliability

Human interface solutions are a 24/7 support staff for your credit union. After business hours or during peak customer traffic, your virtual assistant is always “on” and ready to assist, even if your employees are all already assisting customers.

Security

In the same way that online banking is usually very safe, banking operations being run through a bot or virtual assistant that has a human interface and multi-factor authentication also bolster cybersecurity.

Pandemic Health and Safety

Of course, one of the biggest reasons digital solutions like the human interface are getting so much attention this year is because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Human interface, bots, and virtual assistants fill a very specific void your credit union members are experiencing right now: the need for touchless interfaces and the desire for human-centric service that still “maintains efficiency, security, privacy, and choice,” according to this Forbes article.

Take Your CU Tech to the Next Level

Digital solutions are the best way to differentiate your credit union from the rest and serve your customers using the most up-to-date technology.

From eStatements and eNotices to Web Loan Applications, Online Account Opening, and Trial Balance+, IMS Integration can help you serve your customers better with our elegant, member-facing solutions

Questions? Contact us today!


Digital Lending and Other 2021 Trends

 

Your digital banking solutions are under scrutiny, your member expectations are higher than ever, and your credit union has just come out of one of the toughest years in modern history. Let’s discuss how you’ll get a leg up this year by looking at the top digital and lending trends set to dominate 2021.

Until recently, banking institutions (and credit unions especially) were taking a conservative approach to digital transformation. But COVID-19 showed up and wrecked a lot of plans and protocols in a short amount of time, leaving financial leaders scratching their heads.

However, the new normal is here, and it’s not going anywhere. So what trends should you, as credit union leaders and employees, be pushing in the new year? Let’s break them down.

Digital Lending Solutions

Lending solutions are going to be a hot topic this year. With the amount of financial stress Americans and small businesses have been under since last March, expect to increase small ticket loan offerings. Focusing on low-dollar, short-term, “buy now, pay later” loans – often with zero interest rates – can fill some of the holes left by the 2020 economic downturn.

Lending also needs to go digital. This includes self-service and online options. With or without COVID, Millennials and Gen Z prefer to handle as much of their life and lifestyle as possible through remote channels.

It may seem strange, but these digital darlings are more likely to patronize your credit union if they never have to step foot inside it! This means creating and managing these online offerings as well as increasing machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities.

There are many advantages of digital lending:

  • Optimized User Experience – digital lending programs put the power back in your customers’ hands.
  • Increased Efficiency – digital lending also streamlines the lending process and creates shorter turnaround times.
  • Digital Channels Mean More Analytics – when all of your lending information is stored and handled digitally, it gives you the opportunity to analyze all that data and create intelligent, tailored banking solutions for your members.

Small Business Relationships

Another focus area in the banking industry this year will be recapturing small businesses. Credit unions already set themselves up for success in this area last year by participating in PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans. The program helped many small businesses keep their doors open during this trying time. It also created an avenue for small-to-midsized banks and credit unions to lend to businesses that were ineligible for other big bank-sponsored programs.

‘Financial Health’ Focus

Financial health is going to be a heavily leveraged topic in 2021 as well because the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all how badly financial unpreparedness can cripple our lives and economy.

Credit unions are in a great position to tackle this topic, however. Bigger banks tend not to offer comprehensive or tailored financial wellness and education resources. Credit unions have been doing that for decades already.

To take advantage of this trend, banks and credit unions will take advantage of virtue-signaling efforts to craft customer-facing messages that are more socially conscious.

These empathy-based messages will also cater to the direction of the changing White House administration.

Start Your Digital Lending Journey with Web Loan Applications

IMS Integration can help you create a seamless transition to digital lending and other online services:

  • Infuzion: This powerful tool was developed to streamline complex functions without spending hours developing scripts.
  • Web Loan Applications: Loans are critical to your credit union’s success. Enhance your member experience by implementing our online loan applications system, which tightly integrates with KeyStone core.

If you want to explore our offerings further, or you have questions about our solutions, contact us today.


It’s Time to Optimize Your Digital Member Experience

Historically, credit unions have been regarded as slow to innovate when it comes to new technology. But 2020 is no ordinary year, and credit unions are recognizing the power of this rapid change and its value as we move towards an ever-evolving and heavily digital future. It’s time to optimize your digital member experience.

Digital Member Experience Is More than Fast Processing Times

This year has exponentially enhanced the ability of every industry to churn out large-scale digital solutions to compete with stay-at-home orders and social distancing policies. But the unintended result of this is an overwhelming preference, from customers and bank members, to have these services optimized and available in the future, no matter how long this pandemic lasts.

But digital solutions aren’t as easy to implement as a plexiglass partition or extra customer service associates. The easier the digital solution is for the customer to use, the more difficult and intricate the behind-the-scenes setup can be for IT and third-party software engineers.

Here are some tips and solutions for improving the digital member experience.

Enhance Chat Abilities with Video

Video chatting is now commonplace, for people of all ages. Young children are on Zoom for virtual classroom time, and elderly credit union members are hopping on Telehealth calls with their doctors. Why not incorporate video appointments in your credit union’s offerings?

Integrating a video chat option through your online banking website and app can bring back that personal, one-on-one customer service that has been slowly fading as we continue to practice safe social distancing.

It’s also a great way to introduce your already-tech-savvy members with your newest “upgrades” – you can use the video call to not only answer customer questions but to also keep them in the loop on the latest changes to the digital member experience.

Increase Customization in the Digital Member Experience

No matter how much you digitize, there will always be members who prefer that personal touch. This approach is something credit unions all over the country are most known for – their commitment to take care of and be an essential part of the communities they serve.

That same “perfect fit” feel can largely be replicated online if your credit union offers solutions that can be tailored either to your members’ preferences or manipulated by your members themselves.

Custom web development allows you to tell developers exactly what your credit union’s digital member experience should be, with web solutions ranging from online member applications to integration with third-party tools.

Ease of Use Is a Difficult, But Crucial Feature

Many customers, regardless of where they do their banking, are always looking for insights, shortcuts, and transparency. Increasing transaction visibility and speed are things many people are coming to expect – think of the one-click payment options on retail sites like Amazon.

The digital member experience needs to be as close as possible to an all-encompassing, no limits, one-on-one discussion about the many products and programs your credit union offers. One way you can do this is by recreating as many lending and other credit unions forms online.

IMSI Has A Variety of Software Solutions For You

At IMS Integration, we can create tailored software solutions for your credit union. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.


4 Trends Credit Union Customers Will Come to Expect

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.

Partner with IMS Integration

At IMS Integration, we can create tailored software solutions for your credit union. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.


The Importance of Online Self-Service Forms

The shift to contactless consumer solutions has not just shown how quickly businesses can adapt. It has also shown how important it is to have wide-ranging, quality self-service options.

Online banking, previously a word used to describe the ability to complete financial transactions, is evolving to reflect a fully digital customer experience. Funds transfers and bill payments were a great start, but more and more, users want to be able to perform 100% of their credit union tasks digitally.

Online self-service forms are a key component in that evolution.

From Payment Apps to Communication Apps

Credit union websites and mobile banking apps are changing. Previously, the main functions of this technology were for customers to view account balances or move money from one account to another.

With the COVID-19 crisis, solutions that we thought were years away had to be implemented virtually overnight. And rather than stopping that momentum, it’s time to harness that power to transition even more functions to online platforms.

The teller window experience has started going digital. Banking apps will need to start offering customer service digitally – using chat functions and online self-service forms.  

Self Service Forms – What Are They and What Can they Do?

As more complex member requests are processed digitally, having a wide array of online self-service forms is essential. In the past, one-on-one support has been the standard. But now, 81% of all customers prefer having the ability to “do it themselves” using online self-service over talking to a live representative when they encounter issues.

Online self-service is contact between a credit union and its members without involving a live credit union employee. Members can and want to take care of themselves using your credit union’s software and resources.

Self-service forms are customizable solutions designed to incorporate your credit union’s brand and image and to collect information required to fill member requests.

Some examples of tasks online self-service forms can help with include:

  • ATM/Debit – Address change, Delete Card, New Card, Reorder, Research Requests
  • Auto Transfer
  • CD Rollover Request
  • Checking Conversion
  • E-Certificate Request
  • HE Packet
  • Lost Card Notification
  • Reorder Checks
  • Savings Bond Request

Benefits of Self Service Forms

Online self-service forms offer a range of benefits for your credit union and your members.

It saves your customer service and support representatives’ time. By processing straightforward or standard requests through online self-service forms, your members are able to steer themselves through many processes that would previously have needed a credit union employee’s help.

Saving that time also means you are saving money. If you give your members the tools to answer their own questions and complete tasks online, your staff will be fielding fewer calls, tickets, and email requests.

Customization is key. Every one of your members wants to handle their information and their money differently. Having a good volume of online self-service forms can help your members do their banking the way they want to in regards to account details, payment methods, and more. Handing these tools to your customers also empowers them and gives them a sense of ownership and control over their finances.

It also keeps them engaged – which means traffic to your credit union’s websites and apps will increase. Driving traffic to your website also increases the chance that your customers will go on to explore further. You now have their attention on your site and they will view and take advantage of your new products or purchase additional services from you, as well as contributing to your online community by following news, events, and social media pages.

IMS Integration Can Help

At IMS Integration, we make online self-service forms to help create tailored software solutions for your credit union. Contact us to learn more about how our member-facing web solutions can help you.


Credit Unions Offer Unique Post-COVID Solutions

 

Since credit unions are member-owned, not-for-profit institutions, many have created new pandemic-centric programs. Here are some of the post-COVID solutions CUs are offering to help their communities while generating business. We’ve also included a unique opportunity for credit unions looking to add to their offerings.

Short-Term, Low Rate Personal Loans

Credit unions have stepped up to help their members by offering 3-month and other short-term loans at or near zero percent interest. These short loans are often called pandemic relief loans.

Individuals and businesses are using them to bridge the gap caused by lost wages and reduced business. These “small dollar” loans are being compared to stimulus checks that each individual gets to control and define.

Financial Counseling

Unlike big banks, credit unions don’t take advantage of their customers’ financial ignorance. Though this isn’t a new offering, offering financial counseling is a major asset right now. No one was prepared for a pandemic or its effects, but punishing customers for their lack of knowledge creates brand distrust and hurts your bottom line and your customers’ livelihood. Credit unions have adjusted hours and protocols to offer one-on-one counseling to their members throughout this crisis.

Financial counseling is another example of how credit unions have been focused on helping their communities well before COVID-19.

Waiving Fees

Though it seems counterintuitive, many CUs were encouraged to waive fees. Eligible fees include ATM withdrawals, early withdrawals on timed deposits, credit card balances, loan balances, late payments, and more.

Increasing Credit Card Limits

CUs are increasing credit card limits to accommodate the lack of cash flow from shutdowns and decreased capacities. This solution does not include all memebrs. However, increasing credit for trusted borrowers creates business for the CU and eases the financial burden temporarily for members.

Deferring Payments

Similar to the pandemic relief loans, credit unions are also generously deferring monthly payments. Members are grateful for the choice to defer a payment for one month, giving them time to recover lost finances.

IMS Integration’s software includes Skip A Pay, which can help your credit union easily process these deferments.

Bonus: Small Business Service Opportunity

Nearly six in ten small businesses said they’re at least somewhat likely to look for a new banking relationship in the next year, according to this Forbes article. Many of these small businesses accept upwards of 10 different payment types. But why does this matter to your credit union?

Processing these payment types through a third-party service includes fees. These fees make it even harder for small businesses to turn a good profit. And as COVID measures continue to affect the economy, small businesses are looking for ways to cut costs. This is where the opportunity comes in: credit unions should consider providing accounting and payment services to SMEs (small- and medium-sized businesses).

Offering these services generates business for you and provides your local business owners with a valuable service.

Final Thoughts

Though it feels like things are shifting toward a new normal, many of your members are still struggling to adapt to the changes caused by COVID-19. By now, nearly all government-mandated relief efforts have ended.

This creates a huge opportunity for your credit union to re-evaluate programs and pick up that slack to help your communities bounce back even faster. These efforts also generate business, so it’s really a “help us help you” situation.

Upgrade Your Software Today

IMS Integration offers unique solutions of its own for credit unions. Contact us to learn more about how our member-facing web solutions can help you better serve your members.