Financial Preparedness Approaches for the Future

 

Financial preparedness meant something like a “rainy day” stash or “disaster fund” before the events of 2020. Many credit union members were lucky enough not to have worried about what it takes to be financially prepared. If they don’t live somewhere with extreme weather, many thought financial preparedness plans didn’t really apply to them.

And then a pandemic happened, and nearly everyone in the USA and the world was forced to take a hard look at their financial situation because the stability we thought we had was gone.

Credit unions and members alike should be looking forward with a renewed appreciation for financial planning. Let’s discuss some important financial preparedness approaches for post-pandemic life.

Have a Plan B

In 2020, many workers experienced a sharp decrease in wages due to layoffs, furloughs, and quarantine-related shutdowns or capacity limitations. While we hope never to live through something like that again, it’s important to realize how desperate many families’ situations were before the pandemic hit.

According to CNBC, “roughly 1 in 3 households had trouble making ends meet right before the coronavirus pandemic.” 33% of the population were struggling to keep up with their bills in a normal financial climate, and that number only grew as the pandemic stretched on.

That’s why having a plan B is essential. If you encourage members to start now, it’s much easier to get through rough patches when you’ve been stockpiling funds a few dollars at a time. Encouraging members to create separate savings accounts for emergencies is a helpful way to teach financial preparedness in a way that is relatable.

That emergency fund can be used for sudden changes in job status or pay, sudden expenses like replacing a totaled car, or paying for medical emergencies. When you phrase it as a series of probable bumps in the road, rather than an “in case a tornado or hurricane wipes out our house”, emergency funds start to make more sense to your members and become a valued service and insight you are offering them.

As for natural disasters specifically, it’s also good to inform credit union members that they should keep a small stash of cash at home, in the event that power in the area goes out and ATM withdrawals are not an option.

Budget What You Have

Budgeting is an elusive concept to many Americans. In fact, an Intuit survey showed that 65% of Americans have no clue how much money they spent last month.

But that doesn’t mean you should jump right into a hyper-detailed budgeting strategy. Just like learning to read, you don’t start with an entire book. You move through each letter, and then on to words, sentences, paragraphs, and so on.

Incorporating budgeting strategies a little at a time can help your members learn basic financial preparedness and planning, which can improve their financial stability little by little. Younger generations have previously been reported as not financially responsible, and you can’t teach that responsibility overnight. Creating budgets for small things, like groceries or streaming services can help members recognize and identify areas in their life that could use a good budgeting once-over.

Mitigate Debt

The COVID pandemic caused more than 51% of adults with credit card debt to add to their balances from March 2020 to January 2021.

In leaner times, financial goals should shift from growth and expansion – new house, newer car, impulse purchases on Amazon – to debt mitigation. If credit card debt is trending upwards, it’s important to revisit that budget, maybe cut out a few of the less essential expenses and make some goals to pay off credit card debt. For Millennials and Gen Z, offering these insights through your credit union is a great way to appeal to this very debt-conscious demographic.

Ensure Quick & Easy Access to Financial Information and Services

As a result of the pandemic, more people are using online banking services than ever before. Credit unions that wish to see success in a post-pandemic world need to be implementing and troubleshooting more digital services and offerings so as to keep up with the demand that is now present for these contactless banking options.

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.


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.


2020 In Review for Credit Unions

 

The pandemic and other disasters caused a lot of uncertainty for your members and employees this year. As 2020 comes to a close, it’s important for leaders to review what they’ve learned so they can prepare for 2021. 

Here are the top insights credit unions have learned this year:

Members Need Digital Experiences

When the world locked down and started working remotely, members flocked to your credit union’s digital services. What was once seen as conveniences became needs, but your members still craved customization and personalization through your digital services and remote communication styles. They demanded improved digital experiences

In addition to increased phone volume and, potentially, the unveiling of video chatting at your credit union, your members increased the use of your website and mobile app. Website accessibility became even more valuable to serve more of your members.

As we’ve said before, “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.”

You may have seen a need to improve your software and digital infrastructure throughout this season. But those improvements don’t end with 2020. It’s imperative that credit unions continue to optimize the digital experience for their members on an ongoing basis. 

Related resources from our sister company, Information Management Solutions:

Cybersecurity is Increasingly Important

Credit unions across the nation, among other businesses, are finding that cybersecurity is critical for the well-being of their business and to keep their members’ data secure. 

We’ve known for a while that cybercriminals don’t discriminate who they attack and that not all cyber threats have malicious intent, but this year has made it even harder for smaller credit unions to keep up with the security demands placed on them, especially when transitioning to WFH environments. 

We previously summed this up as “Cybersecurity in 2020 is even more important than it was in past years because financial institutions can’t afford to be breached or hacked during these uncertain times.”

At the end of this year, one thing is clear: if your credit union hasn’t already, it’s time to strengthen your cybersecurity initiatives. 

Related resources from our sister company, Information Management Solutions:

Members Require a Better Experience

Your members want more. Their needs are always changing. As younger generations join credit unions and as time moves forward, member expectations change. This is especially true for 2020 as members’ needs changed practically overnight.

This year, credit unions helped their members use self-service options and embrace digital services. Your employees quickly felt the loss of that in-person community that is created within a normal credit union environment – and everyone on your team knew that many members felt the same loss.  

Customer service became less about benefits and more about personalizing the customer experience, even while working remotely. As we prepare for and head into 2021, it’s important to continue improving the member experience across the board. 

Related resources from our sister company, Information Management Solutions: 

Prepare for 2021

At the end of the day, your credit union is constantly working on ways to better serve your members. Members continue to be the most important focus for a credit union’s efforts, from the leadership team to each member service representative. For this reason, all of these insights that credit union leaders have learned over the year are important to take into 2021. 

Like you serve your members, our team at IMS Integration is here to serve you. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your credit union.


Lending Trends and Loan Applications: What’s Next for CUs?

Online lending and loan application practices have been around for a while, but many credit unions have not implemented or improved these processes. While COVID-19 mandates and social distancing practices may have pushed the tide toward more online lending, there are many reasons why it is here to stay and why there could be more changes on the horizon.

Digital Service Is Expected

Having reliable and expansive digital services available for members is a must for credit unions hoping to survive these tough times. Brick-and-mortar locations are becoming less and less frequented, which means you are losing members and customers if you aren’t implementing and expanding your online services often.

The current pandemic has pushed a lot of things to digital platforms out of necessity, but rather than seeing these as a temporary stop-gap measure, credit unions should consider adding things like online lending and loan application services to the website permanently.

Take Advantage of PPP Issues

Many small businesses applying for the Paycheck Protection Program loans had a hard time accessing the things they needed through big banks. Everyone was scrambling for the same funds and the lengthy wait times and delays cost a lot of small businesses their ability to keep their doors open, even at diminished capacity.

While this is nothing to celebrate, credit unions could use this as an opportunity to market themselves as a better alternative lender to the big banks and PPP. Customer service is always a strength that credit unions wield, so why not tout it during a time when lots of business owners are frustrated with their current bank’s lack of satisfactory service?

Travel Changes Mean Lending Changes

According to this CU Management article, some interesting loan trends may start to emerge as some areas lower their COVID-19 precautions due to dwindling case numbers.

There is a potential for air travel and hotel stays to decline and stay low for a time, even after COVID-19 has passed. This doesn’t mean that everyone will suddenly stop wanting to travel, but it does mean the mode of transportation could be changing.

RV and boat sales are expected to increase in the near future, as a safer travel alternative to flying, which means loans for these items will also increase – something for credit unions to think about in the coming months.

Credit Union Culture Is an Advantage

Though digital solutions often focus on taking out the human components, there are ways to incorporate the standard credit union customer service throughout the loan application process. Creating virtual inroads to your credit union by using your CU website to showcase both your commitment to helpful customer service and the ease of online loan applications can add value to potential customers.

Building custom lending processes that highlight the personal touch credit unions can offer is a great way to differentiate your services from the services your competitors have to offer.

IMS Integration Has You Covered

IMS Integration’s Online Loan Application white paper is a quick read and helps outline many of the benefits of creating web-based loan applications.

We also offer online self-service forms, which can be customized to meet your credit union’s and your customers’ needs.

We also have expertise with many software solutions for your credit union. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.


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.


COVID-19 Cybersecurity For Credit Unions

 

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act has helped millions of Americans weather the COVID storm, but it has come with a downside. As more than $2 trillion made its way to businesses and individuals, cybercriminals saw an opportunity to make some big paydays for themselves.

Cybersecurity in 2020 is even more important than it was in past years because financial institutions can’t afford to be breached or hacked during these uncertain times. But how can credit unions fight back?

Old Fraud, New Tricks

“New account fraud, identity theft, cybersecurity risks, imposter and money mule schemes, and mobile banking application fraud are all on the rise as a result of the opportunities related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” says Rodney Hood of the NCUA.

Here are some helpful cybersecurity tips for protecting your credit union and your members.

Increase Communication Security

With many Americans working from home, the need for good communication increases. Tools like Zoom and GoToMeeting are fostering company communication, but these platforms are not without risks. When creating meetings on these platforms, there are lots of options for increasing their cybersecurity.

Update each meeting’s privacy and security features to prevent what’s known as “Zoombombing” – when outside parties or unauthorized persons join a meeting. Change your meeting IDs consistently, mandate that all meetings have passwords, and don’t use the same password over and over. You can also enable the “waiting room” feature where those who have just tuned in to the call can stay until you or another meeting leader gives permission for them to join.

Employee Education

The more trained eyes you have, the easier it is to stop fraudulent activities before they do widespread damage. During those Zoom meetings, set aside some time during every call to discuss cybersecurity.

Ask your staff if they have noticed any unusual account activity or suspicious emails in their inbox. Share weekly tips on how to spot phishing attempts, phony email accounts, and unsafe links. You can also create educational material and discussions around specific topics like we’ve done in the section below.

Keep an Eye Out for Unemployment Insurance Fraud

Though unemployment numbers are decreasing, there are still millions of Americans filing for unemployment insurance benefits every week. And with COVID-19 continuing to impact the global workforce, scammers are jumping at the chance to over-collect on these benefits or steal them outright.

This is a great opportunity to educate your employees and members on the red flags:

  • An account that receives unemployment benefits from another state with no explanation, or from multiple states
  • An account that receives the benefits of more than one individual
  • New accounts being opened with no transactional activity that is suddenly used to collect unemployment insurance benefits.

Using resources like the NCUA and other trusted reporting sites to create a “profile” for fraud can help you and your staff recognize these red flags. You can do this with each threat or type of fraud, encouraging awareness and prevention of these issues.

Comprehensive Member Education

One of the greatest assets a credit union offers to its members is educational resources. Schedule some time to create online classes or educational materials that address these new cybersecurity risks. It’s also a great time to highlight past fraud prevention and financial literacy resources, which will act as a refresher on the topic and help your members find these resources later.

The more people (members and staff) who are educated in fraud prevention and cybersecurity solutions, the better.

IMS Integration Can Help

At IMS Integration, we make solutions to help you save time and protect your members. Contact us to learn more about how our member-facing web solutions can help you better serve your members.


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.


The Importance of Offering Skip A Pay

 

Many Americans are still struggling financially after the last few months of layoffs and shutdowns, some of which are going back into effect after being eased earlier in the summer. 30% of Americans missed their June housing payments – this is up from April’s 24%. In these unprecedented times, financial flexibility is a top priority for credit union members. It has never been more important to offer your members a Skip a Pay option.

Many individual financial and housing institutions are offering things like 3 months of forbearance on mortgage payments or paused rent payments for those whose workloads are negatively affected by layoffs and downsizing in this crisis. But smaller debts, like vehicle loans, are not always included in these provisions.

But what is Skip A Pay and why is it important?

What is Skip A Pay?

Skip A Pay is a flexible payment offering that allows credit union members to defer one monthly loan payment in a rolling period, which can be restricted to as little as once every 12 months or as often as every 90 days. Loan payments resume as usual in the month that follows a skipped month. 

The skipped payment amount is tacked on to the end of the loan and extends the time on the loan by one month for each Skip A Pay fulfilled. The loan total is not affected by skipping a payment, but interest does still accrue through the new end date of the loan.

Typically, these loans are eligible for the Skip A Pay option: vehicle and recreational vehicle loans, recreational loans, unsecured personal loans, and more.

The Importance of Skip A Pay

Stalling a single monthly payment doesn’t hurt the member’s credit score, though overuse can result in higher interest amounts paid over the life of the extended loan. While it is not a good idea for members to make Skip A Pay a habit, it is a great choice for those who need a bit of flexibility in their payments so as to pay other, higher-interest debts when money is tight.

Offering a Skip A Pay option gives members the chance to ride out short term crises with little penalty.

There are also negatives to a Skip A Pay program, for credit unions and their members. If a program is rolled out and it doesn’t have a satisfactory evaluation process for eligibility, members who overutilize the option could accrue more debt through the increased interest, and credit unions could have difficulty collecting timely payments if a good schedule for using Skip A Pay is not put in place.

Forgo the Hassle with Skip A Pay

IMS Integration offers a unique approach to setting up a Skip a Pay batch eligibility evaluation process that is customized to your credit union’s preferences. The process evaluates loans based on custom criteria set by your credit union and adds notes to eligible and non-eligible loans for ease of processing.

IMS Integration’s customized Skip A Pay program could be the solution to your credit union’s needs. Contact us to discuss your credit union’s software upgrade options.


Upgrade to Web Loan Applications

 

The pandemic has negatively impacted the U.S. economy. Approximately 36.5 million people are unemployed, where three million people filed for unemployment benefits in May. That number is expected to rise as more businesses permanently close and continue to lay off workers. As people consider sources of financing to stay afloat, many will turn to your credit union for a personal or small business loan.

The effects of COVID-19 will have a lasting effect for a long time. Right now, your members are looking for more than just a lender. They are looking for their credit union to provide the services they need with ease. That includes helping with bill pay, financial guidance and emergency loans. 

Web loan applications are designed to collect data, perform automated loan decisions and incorporate your credit union brand to deliver a super user experience. Filling out manual applications is a laborious task and one that’s not easy to do with credit unions relying on drive-thru and digital services for business. Plus, automated technology accelerates the lending process. Regardless of the size of your credit union, a fast loan origination process gives you a competitive edge.

With the technical infrastructure to process online loan applications, your credit union will be able to provide valuable insights into customer needs, reduce risk and simplify reporting, increase productivity and save time and money with each transaction. Loan officers can apply their expertise where it will be of the greatest benefit and shift their attention to value-add services. This becomes vital as small businesses turn to their credit unions for relief, especially with new government assistance programs being rolled out. 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) launched the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. This assistance is vital in expanding access to capital for entrepreneurs, especially underserved borrowers, who contribute to a community’s economy. And, it helps your credit union tap into another product for members.

As a lender, it’s important to look for innovative solutions to adopt with changing times. Without the ability to process web-based loans, you’re missing out on an opportunity to compete with other financial institutions. Borrowers are depending on you to help them in these stressful times. Remove the complications out of the loan application process  and provide easy access for your members. 


3 Ways to Level Up Digital Services

 

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:

Planning

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.

Digital engagement

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.