Harness the Power of Credit Union Transparency

 

Credit unions are, in many ways, the antithesis of big bank operations. The goal of most credit unions is to integrate with the communities they operate in and help serve and educate their members in a bid to be more accessible than larger, corporate-feeling financial institutions.

At the heart of that differentiation is the transparency credit unions choose to have with their members. There’s no need to hide the “secret formula” from the world – a credit union’s job is to share the ins and outs of the financial industry with everyone who has a willingness to learn.

Here are some of our favorite ways you can harness the power of credit union transparency.

Why Credit Union Transparency Is So Important

Many professionals make the mistake of thinking that transparency within their business just means being overly honest – you share even the most mundane details about your operations with your members. But that’s not it.

When you think of credit union transparency, imagine showing your membership base all of your mission, vision, and values, as well as a demonstrable list of how your credit union is consistently working to meet those goals and embody those core tenants. So, how do you create that transparency and make it authentic and valuable for your members?

Share Your CU’s Unique Traits

Credit unions are far more transparent with their business practices than any big bank or other financial institution by virtue of the publication of your credit union’s general information. From business plans to quarterly performance and investment success or failure, credit unions are beholden to their members because the business is almost always owned by those members.

Since everyone is given a stake in the credit union and its success, you’ve already got a great framework for legitimate business transparency.

From there, you can share other unique aspects of your credit union. Do you serve a specific community or industry? Are there other programs that allow your credit union to stand out among the crowd? Lean into these aspects and use them to create a transparent communication line between you and your members.

Financial Education is Key

We are all intrigued when an expert in their field asks something like “Do you want to know my secret?”

Credit unions are the first ones to share their insider expertise with members, and that transparency is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

Cultivating a financial education program (or multiple programs) boost your business transparency while also showing member and non-members alike that you aren’t gatekeeping your financial planning knowledge, you are willing and able to share it.

Lending Trust is Waning

Because of predatory student loan practices and payday lending, many of today’s borrowers and potential borrowers are very skeptical about the loan process.

Because so many people have seen the negative effect a bad loan can have on someone’s livelihood for years or even decades, it’s more important than ever to focus your credit union transparency on sharing helpful information about the lending process.

There are many reputable credit unions sourcing and creating loan programs ethically and in a way that benefits both the credit union and the borrower. It’s your job to prove to your prospects and your members that you aren’t taking part in less-than-reputable lending practices.

Faster and Clearer Transactions

Big words and complicated programs aren’t what your members are looking for. They want helpful insights given to them in ways they can understand, and they want to be able to manage their finances quickly and easily.

Impressive technology isn’t about creating a complex and intricate solution – it’s about creating real change or momentum with as little effort and friction as possible. This is why your communication efforts with your members are so important.

You have hundreds or thousands of people using your services every day. Chances are, they can give you some great insight into what’s working and what’s not. Make sure those lines of communication are open and easy to access.

Boost Your Credit Union Transparency with Elegant, Member-Facing Solutions

The more you can show your members what you do, the easier it is for them to believe your statements about being transparent. IMS Integration has several member-facing solutions that can boost your credit union transparency, including Online Self Service Forms, Online Courtesy Pay, and Make a Statement.

Communication is a key component of transparency, and IMSI can help you share insights and offer vital resources to your members anytime, anywhere.


Which Credit Union Concerns Deserve Your Attention in 2022?

 

Like many industries right now, it seems like the top credit union concerns are changing rapidly. But many of them boil down to accessibility, security, and improving member experience.

As we move through 2022 trending topics, it’s good to compare these new trends with the mission and vision of your organization, as well as the member demographics that your specific credit union(s) will be serving.

We are all being affected by change fatigue lately, so choosing the best credit union concerns to address in the last months of 2022 means taking a good look at the industry as a whole but remembering that you still have a job to do, and your credit union has a niche to fill in your communities.

By focusing on these areas and staying informed with insights from prominent CU news sources and the IMSI blog, you can quickly figure out which credit union concerns and 2022 trending topics deserve your attention.

Cashless & Contactless Are Kings

By 2030, Gen Z’s economic power is expected to increase fivefold, and when combined with millennials, they’ll make up 72% of the workforce just before that.

Catering to your younger members (and growing that base) is essential to the success of any business that hopes to continue serving clients in the next several decades.

Top-tier payment experience is a must-have for credit unions and businesses as a whole. Cashless and contactless payments are no longer considered a fresh, new luxury – they are a requirement for your member’s experience. In fact, more than half of global millennials are likely to avoid patronizing and partnering with businesses (and credit unions) that don’t offer cashless and contactless payments

The popularity of ACH payments and digital wallets will mark a heavy difference in the way the world’s economy operates in the coming years. Because of this, creating contactless payment options should be at the top of your list of credit union concerns for 2022.

Protect Data Privacy through Cybersecurity

Growing concerns for cybersecurity threats and best practices continue to be among the top 2022 trending topics, regardless of which industry you work in.

Recently, CUNA reported a strong show of support from credit unions on the subject of data privacy and cybersecurity.

Your credit union members are not satisfied with empty comments and promises that their data is safe if you can’t share what plans and protocols you have put in place recently to protect their data and financial privacy.

The credit union concerns that stem from extra data protection and cybersecurity are online and remote user experience. Your members want secure financial transactions and bank accounts through your credit union, but they also don’t want to struggle to access them.

As we navigate that fine line, it’s important to remember that user error is the most common cause of most global security breaches.

Credit vs. Debit Card Use

Credit unions are financial institutions that are built on the premise that banking should be done through a business that doesn’t just care about the financial health of its members, but also strives to promote financial education and community outreach.

Because of these roots, more and more banking experts are being called upon to help their members figure out whether a debit card or credit card is right for them. Because fraud and identity theft are on the rise, it’s wise to let members know that with a credit card, the card issuer will have to fight to get the money back, and with a debit card, the member is the one who will have to fight.

Your credit union is uniquely positioned to be able to solicit feedback from your members on what their payment preferences are, and what types of rewards or features they want their credit and debit cards to have.

For example, many Gen Z and millennial members across the US are more likely to use debit cards, having grown up in times of prolonged financial and economic crisis. These generations are also more concerned about debt mitigation – this should be an important focus area for addressing credit union concerns this year.

There has also been an uptick in credit card product creation – this includes how the cards work, what rewards or benefits certain cards can offer, and more. Catering to your members of all ages through credit card features is another 2022 trending topic that could gain you some members and increase current member satisfaction as well.

IMSI: Comprehensive Solutions for Credit Union Concerns

IMSI was built by credit union industry experts. We offer a host of Keystone solutions as well as credit union and customizable and professional services to ensure your credit union has the greatest chances of digital success.

You know your members best, and IMSI is here to help you continue to serve them with optimized processes and online solutions.

Are you interested in exploring IMSI’s offerings? Reach out to us today and request a consultation.


Improving Credit Union Accessibility

 

The more we connect our businesses and credit unions with patrons and members, the more we realize the complexities of each of their lives and experiences with our brand. That’s why improving credit union accessibility should be a top priority for your physical branches and your digital assets this year.

Credit union accessibility is beneficial to everyone, not just those who struggle with disabilities. The more barriers you remove when it comes to your members accessing information and resources from your CU, the more they’ll want to use your products and services in the future.

We live not only in an age of diversity, but one of convenience. And quite often, organizations must anticipate and remove these barriers before their members ever encounter them. Here are some tips for improving credit union accessibility.

Website Accessibility

We’ve talked a little bit before about the importance of ensuring credit union website accessibility. And the optimization and functionality of your credit union’s website have never been more important than in this post-pandemic, tech-driven landscape.

The NAFCU has a great article that outlines the latest guidance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding website accessibility. The article includes common areas and website programs that create accessibility barriers. These items include things like poor color contrast, content where color is used as the primary means for explaining something – imagine a colorblind user trying to decipher a color-coded pie chart, graph, or infographic for example – lack of alt text on images, videos with no captions, and mouse-only navigation.

Online Forms

Online forms are another area of difficulty for many people with disabilities. If your forms are slightly inconvenient for you or for other abled staff members, then it will be even more difficult when a credit union member with a disability attempts to use them. User experience is a growing area of concern for many websites, as it’s now often the primary way their members and customers are interacting with their brand, products, and services.

IMS Integrations Online Self Service forms are designed to be customizable and integrated solutions to help you collect the information you need from your members in order to process their requests and help then with their online banking needs. We’ve got forms for a wide array of products and services, like check reorders, HELOC adjustments, information requests, lost card notifications, and much more.

Listen to Your Members

Though the DOJ shared some helpful guidelines for increasing website accessibility for your credit union members, it’s important to remember that they are still just guidelines. Websites aren’t all built the same. Many were built from templates or through third-party hosts, and others were customized and built from scratch for your credit union specifically.

Creating narrow, pointed rules for how these websites should look, feel, and operate is impossible. And given the rate at which things change in web development and other digital fields, that won’t be changing.

So, what can you do to ensure that you are giving your members the best experience possible? Ask them! Reviews, feedback forms, and “Contact Us” pages are a great place to start. When things aren’t working for your members, you can bet they’ll take to the world wide web to share their feelings about it.

And when they start talking, make sure you listen. Your brand as a credit union hinges on the loyalty of your members and your reputation as a business. By listening to the concerns of those who are using or wish to use your online resources, you can tailor the experience to fit those needs.

Get in the Habit of Perpetual Optimization

As we said, technology is constantly changing. What may have been the best tool for helping visually impaired credit union members navigate your site last year may have been replaced with newer, better tech this year.

You will still encounter problems with members who are uniquely disabled or wholly uneducated in the finer points of technology and website optimization. However, it’s much harder to try and change a website after it’s built or reworked than it is to move through your next website project with credit union accessibility towards the top of your priority list.

The accessibility of your credit unions and their websites is not only important for legal reasons, but for representation and reputation reasons as well. The more groups of different people you can cater to and provide optimized banking technology to, the more you will find your member engagement and new member numbers growing.

Accessibility through Tech-Based Credit Union Solutions

IMSI offers a handful of elegant, member-facing web solutions that can help drive credit union accessibility in your branches and communities.

From online self service forms to trial balance and online courtesy pay, our solutions are made with your credit union members in mind, and your staff’s ability to easily integrate these new programs into your existing business operations.

If you’d like to learn more about these and other credit union solutions, request a consultation today.


Financial Inclusion & Its Role in Your CU Growth

 

Our sister site, IMS, recently featured a blog article discussing ways you can foster financial inclusion within your credit union.

Financial inclusion is part of a larger conversation taking place right now about how individuals and businesses are creating solutions and campaigns that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion for everyone who interacts with their brands.

CUs Are Perfect for Fostering Financial Inclusion

The history of credit unions is one that centers these institutions as a perfect partner in the financial inclusion conversation. Credit unions often serve areas that other banks and financial institutions don’t focus on. This includes marginalized and underserved communities in both urban and rural areas of the country.

As member-owned, not-for-profit businesses, credit unions have the luxury of already being positioned to create solutions that serve communities with specific cultures and religious affiliations, and even areas with specific financial needs.

CUs already work to promote local businesses and local charities. The conversation doesn’t have to be about catering to massive audiences and trying to implement a bunch of one-size-fits-all programs that can help everyone in small ways.

You can create spaces that highlight the cultures and perspectives that most represent and foster the diversity of the communities you’re already serving or are hoping to serve in the future.

Stabilizing Financial Tools

Many areas with diverse populations (both in culture as well as financial situation) will also benefit from the stabilizing financial tools that come from the implementation of financial inclusion practices.

These can be things like helping set up accounts so that those who are receiving government assistance like unemployment are able to access those funds quickly and record them accurately for tax and other financial planning purposes. It can also include things like calculator tools for car or mortgage payments, online self service forms, eStatements, online account opening, and Skip a Pay.

These stabilizing financial tools can help orient members who are still learning how to manage their finances, encourage others to enroll in programs that can help them pay down debt or increase their savings, and so much more.

It Starts with Your Staff

Your credit union’s financial inclusion initiatives should start at the employee level. If your staff members are stressed out about their financial situation, studies have shown that they are actually not as productive at work as employees who work in a place that has achieved most or all of their financial inclusion goals.

Close Gaps in Member Desires vs. CU Offerings

Many of the initiatives that are touted as perfect for fostering financial inclusion are often things that your credit union already offers. But the focus here should be on targeting what your underserved communities, like the unbanked and underbanked, would need from those offerings.

For example, your credit union may already have a successful rewards program that works for current members. However, if offering a different set of rewards or a range of choices in what those rewards can be used for, you can target the underserved segments of your communities.

This is a common business practice across all industries. It’s why we have such a big range of vehicles (from luxury sports cars to reliable and affordable sedans and minivans), restaurants, and other consumer-focused businesses.

Your members who are living paycheck-to-paycheck won’t likely be interested in saving for retirement or creating tons of lines of credit to open a business, but the opportunity to capitalize on your services shouldn’t be reserved solely for those in ideal financial situations.

Catering to the unbanked and underbanked means you have to evaluate why and where your current programs don’t meet these potential members’ needs.

Technology Fosters Financial Inclusion

One of the best tools for fostering financial inclusion is technology. Implementing user-friendly and other helpful digital programs, products, and services goes a long way toward closing gaps between your average members and your outliers.

When you are choosing and implementing these digital tools, it’s important to think about how your members can use them. Are there ways to personalize the process or tool? Customization is a great way to use a single tool in a myriad of ways in order to better serve those who are underrepresented in your member ranks.

Financial Inclusion Means Digital Inclusion

Navigating trending credit union topics have long-lasting implications for your CU. And that’s why you need cutting-edge solutions that have been tailored to credit union needs.

IMSI has created credit union-specific products and services that speak to your customers’ needs, no matter their background, financial situation, or culture. With tools like Make a Statement, Online Courtesy Pay+, Online Self-Service Forms, and Trial Balance+ readily available on your CU website, you can meet every potential member where they’re at.

Reach out to us today and request a consultation.


Kids and Credit Unions: Bolstering Engagement in Younger Generations

 

Parents are more uncertain than ever when it comes to figuring out the appropriate timelines for teaching and exposing their children to certain tools and learning opportunities. When do you get them their first phone? Their first bank account? In a world where they can find the information before you show it to them, it’s a good idea to help your members determine when to mix kids and credit unions. Here are some of the best tips we’ve found.

Kids and Credit Unions: When to Start

“Technology has changed the way we make purchases and track them, and kids need to know how things work,” Forbes says in their article “When to Get Your Child a Bank Account And Debit Card.”

Your members are likely struggling to decide when and how to start teaching their children about financial health. While there is no perfect age to introduce them to the world of banking, many experts say the time to start showing them how money and savings work is when they are old enough to understand. Most children can comprehend an introduction to banking between the ages of 8 and 12. 75% of university students don’t know what credit unions are, and the sooner you can get them acquainted with your credit union, the more likely they are to utilize your services as adults. Let’s talk about some ways to bridge the gap between kids and credit unions.

Include App Education

Popular financial apps like UNest and Acorns are creating banking solutions for kids. The younger generations are looking for quick, mobile, and app-based banking solutions and insights. UNest is a credit union-friendly app that partners with CUs to help parents make smart investments for their kids’ futures.

Your credit union can appeal widely to younger potential credit union members by offering educational content and resources that help kids and their parents traverse the latest financial technology. It is also a good idea to audit these apps for their merits and create kid-centric programs to compete with top fintech brands.

Run Kid-Centric Campaigns

April is National CU Youth Month, and this is a perfect time to launch or highlight programs your credit union has available for its youngest members.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has many great resources for catering to a child’s understanding of financial education. They offer resources that describe money milestones, money choices, and much more. Some of their topics include talking about: buying a car, getting a pet, moving to a new house, paying bills, and paying with credit and debit cards.

Credit unions are uniquely positioned to provide financial education resources and events, why not lean into that to appeal to your most curious members?

Leverage Credit Unions’ Foundation

No matter how well-done the campaign, advertising to children is a difficult course of action. And when it comes to opening bank accounts, using credit cards, and the like, targeting children with your campaigns can feel particularly egregious to parents. Enter your trustworthy credit union.

Since credit unions are member-owned, there are no banking executives who are padding their pockets with a child’s allowance money. The money a credit union collects from its members ends up right back in the members’ hands, in the form of fewer fees and better interest rates.

The Future: Kids and Credit Unions

IMS Integration has a wealth of well-honed industry expertise, and we want to use it to create a custom web development plan to help you reach a larger demographic of members by catering to younger potential members. We offer everything from online member applications to data extracts and manipulation, third-party integration, and more. Request a consultation today for more information about our credit union solutions. 

 


Boost Member Loyalty for Your Credit Union

 

Retention and loyalty are the main foundation of any customer- or member-based business. And credit unions are no different. And lately, reputation and online presence are determining factors in the loyalty conversation. Here are some tips for boosting member loyalty.

Get Creative with Loyalty Programs

Your loyalty program will be as successful as you make it. Members are constantly looking for the best deals, especially when it comes to financial opportunities like lending, saving, and debt consolidation. 61% of financial institution members would prefer to manage their loyalty benefits through a mobile wallet.

The first thing you need to do to boost member loyalty is to make sure your loyalty program accounts for new and developing digital solutions that have come about either by the natural progression to online services or through the rapid digitization of many industries, as caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Top priorities for your revamped loyalty program should include:

  • Streamlined services: lending, FAQs, user-friendly apps and banking processes
  • Optimized mobile solutions and capabilities
  • Application checklists, reminders, and estimation tools (mortgage, personal loans, web loan applications, and more)

Personalization

Social media, promotional emails, Starbucks coffee cups – people like their consumer experiences to feel personal, not transactional or mass-produced. And credit unions are tailor-made for this. If you can offer similar products and services as big banks but do it in a way that feels significant to your members as individuals, loyalty to your credit union and your financial brand will increase.

Creating authentic conversations and transactions with your members can help them commit to loyalty programs and campaigns. And data and automation can help make the personalization process more efficient and error-free.

Reach Out to Struggling Members

One way to increase loyalty is to offer more assistance and education to your members who are struggling financially. Adding extra classes or online resources that cater to those in the lowest income brackets is a great way to do this.

If you have members who are in arrears, your credit union’s leaders should spend some time brainstorming and implementing processes that can help your most vulnerable members create some momentum for future financial growth and success. This is especially true with Millennial and Gen Z members, who are ultra-focused on paying down debt and achieving financial independence from student loans and other expenses incurred in early adulthood.

Optimize Your Technology

Rapid service and after-hours access are things your members have come to expect in this increasingly digital world. Leveraging technology on all fronts will help your members remain loyal because they know your credit union is at the forefront of innovative solutions.

Technology optimization can mean creating and revamping mobile apps, including new computers or tablets in your employees’ workflows, and creating contactless touchpoints that could include kiosks in your branches, or other ATM or online services that can enhance your member experience.

Boost Loyalty with Customized CU Solutions

A robust digital presence is instrumental to the success and future of your credit union. IMS Integration has a number of elegant member-facing web solutions for your credit union, including Make a Statement, Online Courtesy Pay, Online Self Service Forms, and Trial Balance.

Request a consultation today for more information about these and other credit union solutions we offer.


Ways Credit Unions Support Members

 

Credit unions are unique in that their business model is half bank, half non-profit. Sometimes, the best marketing angle is the most direct one. Here is a list of ways credit unions support members.

Best Financial Rates and Opportunities

Credit unions as non-profits typically offer better interest rates on loans, savings accounts, CDs and have better options when it comes to checking accounts. For-profit banks can’t compete on that front, but they use their marketing power to draw attention to the other products and services they offer.

Skip a Payment

As the pandemic ramped up, many financial institutions tried to help their customers by offering loan forbearance, waiving fees, and allowing struggling individuals to skip a payment. Credit unions were some of the first financial institutions to do so, in order to better support members.  

Credit unions have always been quick to waive fees for members who were struggling and Skip a Pay has been a CU-led program from the beginning.

Small Business Credit Champions

Because credit unions often serve specific geographic locations (a town, county, or rural area), they are uniquely positioned to offer support to members who run their own small businesses.

One of the many ways credit unions do this is through personal and signature loans. Potential small business owners can count on credit unions to do a more broad financial check (increasing the chances of getting the loan approved) and offer lower rates for members to get the credit they need to start or run their business.

They also offer short-term loans in ways that are much less predatory in nature than big banks and especially payday lenders.

Credit Unions are Member-Owned

The idea of being a stakeholder in something like a financial institution seems out of reach for many, but credit unions provide that opportunity to more diverse communities than any other financial institution.

As a “publicly owned” company, credit unions are more attentive to the changing needs of their community. With big banks, uniformity is often the goal. They want you to get the exact same experience whether you enter a branch in Oklahoma or in downtown New York City.

This is not so with CUs. Sure, the core values of a credit union don’t change, but the manner in which they serve their communities changes with the community’s shifts in financial literacy, tech-savviness, and so much more. Diversity doesn’t just come from the people who are the cornerstone of every credit union, it also comes in the approaches that are taken to achieve more member satisfaction.

Focus on Education

The worst feeling any customer can have is when you go into a potential transaction knowing you are vastly undereducated compared to the experts you are trying to work with. With the surge in popularity of life hacks and other “did you know” style education that people are sharing on social media to help others keep from getting scammed or duped, credit unions fit right in!

Credit unions have never wanted to hold the keys to the kingdom, they want to share them. Financial education is arguably one of the most impactful ways they support members. And now, more than ever, people are looking for helpful ways to achieve better financial health to recover what was lost in 2020.

And because education is a part of a successful member experience, credit union staff members are much more likely to take the time with their clients to help guide and educate them about their choices, rather than approaching every sales opportunity with an “upsell” mindset.

The Best Tech Solutions for Your Members

IMS Integration has many credit union solutions that can move your CU operations into the future. IMSI’s member-facing web solutions like Make a Statement, Online Courtesy Pay, Online Self Service forms, and Trial Balance are perfect for reaching new members and updating your processes.

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


Credit Unions in a Post-COVID World

 

March 2020 changed the world. It changed the way we move through our homes, public spaces, and workplaces. It changed how we thought about what defines an office, and a home. And it defined the way we interacted with technology and money as well. So let’s take a look at what credit unions in a post-COVID world will look like.

Credit Unions and COVID

Branches of banks and credit unions had to shut down in-person – most temporarily, but some permanently. Others reduced their hours of operation as they pivoted to remote work for some or all of their staff members. Credit union members bombarded branches with requests through phone calls, chats, and mobile apps.

So what does it look like now? According to Silvercloud, the credit union industry is focused on digital solutions:

  1. Self-service activity on bank and credit union websites increased 69% in just one year.
  2. Chatbot usage increased 272%
  3. Banking by appointment continues to grow.

Shift from Products and Services to Support

The coronavirus pandemic showed us all how much we need other people. And when it comes to businesses, like credit unions, that serve the public consumer, there’s been a distinct shift in messaging. Your credit union members don’t want a service, they want a partner. And credit unions are already uniquely positioned to work closely with their communities.

Your credit union’s message has to reflect that desire to create a meaningful relationship with your members.

One-to-One Communications

Personalization is the key to many of your future credit union offerings. We’ve discussed this and the optimization of your digital member experience previously.

Along with that feeling of support and partnership, credit union members are looking for a customer experience that is tailored to their needs and their financial situation. Mass marketing and blanket advertising will likely not be effective right now and in the near future.

Credit union staff members can call, text, and email members with answers to questions, suggestions for products and services, and actionable correspondence. And the methods of communication need to be user-friendly and streamlined because digital customers are abandoning business models that don’t innovate and improve the end-user experience.

Think Digital

The Credit Union Times had this to say about the future:

“Many credit unions still do business like the industry did in 1985. We pride ourselves on our services, but by service we mean personal, face-to-face service – not a digital experience. We have been making decisions based on this service model and COVID showed us that this thinking is flawed.”

While our industry is heavily based on regulation and process control, there are still lots of ways you can use technology to make your operations more modern, more efficient, and safer than past practices.

Overall Takeaways

The future of banking is digital. And that means keeping and refining the new technological pivots we made as a result of the pandemic. To capture and retain members, credit unions will have to focus on new and innovative ways to offer their products and services and offer them through websites and mobile apps.

Plan for the Future with IMS Integration

IMS Integration has many credit union solutions that can move your CU operations into the future. IMSI’s member-facing web solutions like Make a Statement, Online Courtesy Pay, Online Self Service forms, and Trial Balance are perfect for reaching new members and updating your processes.

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

 


Credit Union Leadership & Innovation in 2021 and Beyond

 

Innovation is often seen through the lens of cutting-edge technology, but the cornerstone of anything innovative is the creativity to start or improve existing ideas and processes. And credit unions across the U.S. were able to grow their membership by 2.8% between year-end 2019 and September 2020. Far from the perception of antiquity that seems to stick to them, credit union leadership and innovation are paving the way to a bright future.

Fostering Creativity through Leadership

If innovation stems from creativity, you need creative leaders in your credit union. The role of a leader is said to account for 67% of the influence in determining if the organization will be creative.

But how does a leader foster creativity? In short, you foster an environment where creativity can thrive. Your leaders should be trained in creativity methods – prioritize the idea of showing your teams that creative ideas are more than just encouraged, they are tested and executed. Creating a space that allows for feedback and testing on new ideas shows your managers and employees that they have the power to affect change on every level. And once your staff feels like they can be vocal, they’ll continue to contribute to those conversations.

Spearhead a Competition

Sometimes, you can find creativity when you think outside the box. Many companies, large corporations with even larger social media followings, often run contests to drum up creative taglines or content ideas. You can do that within your own teams, too.

Rather than simply relying on your marketing team to shoulder all creative burdens, invite other departments and create a friendly competition out of creating a new logo, tagline, or advertising campaign. Idea-based competitions can take many forms and garner surprising results.

Don’t Give Up

This embracing of creative ideas requires a fair amount of buy-in, as well. When you take on these new ideas, you have to keep them in place. Most new programs need time to be implemented, and then understood and accepted. This is especially true if your new process also involves your members.

Investing in innovative ideas means investing in the time it takes to see if the change will net a positive outcome.

Creative Problem-Solving Process

Practice makes perfect, and CUManagement offers a 4-step creative problem-solving process:

  1. Clarify the problem
  2. Generate ideas. The more, the better.
  3. Develop solutions from the best of your ideas.
  4. Plan for action.

Once you’ve created a process that works for you and your teams, you can build on these 4 steps and tailor it to give you the best outcomes.

Embrace Failure

Some of your innovative ideas will fail. It’s inevitable. And how you and your team leaders handle that is paramount to fostering a culture of innovation.

When those failures come, it’s important to practice humility and forward-thinking. According to Meistertask, when team members consider their boss a humble leader, this creates “psychological capital,” which increases feelings of hope, optimism, and resilience.

Like any team effort, focusing on solutions and adjustments over blaming or apologizing allows for growth and continued momentum.

Professional Services for Innovative Credit Unions

IMS Integration knows credit unions from the ground up. We have a range of professional services that are customized to you and your credit union. From custom web development, to UI and batch scripting, to custom electronic forms, IMSI can help you implement innovative solutions that will better serve your members and create opportunities for your business.

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


Tips for Improving Credit Union Member Retention

 

Acquiring a new credit union member typically costs between $400 and $700, according to CU 2.0. Depending on different estimates, it takes about 2 years for a banking customer to generate enough revenue for your financial institution to cover that initial cost. And with something like 40% of new customers will churn before the institution makes that money back.

Let’s dive into some tips for improving credit union member retention.

Continue the Relationship

Credit union retention isn’t helped by new member acquisition. Once you’ve wowed a prospective member into joining your CU, it is not the time to pump the breaks on your communication with them.

One of the most crucial ways to improve credit union member retention is to continue the relationship you started. There are tons of ways to accomplish this. You can set up automated email sequences to trigger when members take certain actions – remember that every email doesn’t have to be sales-y. You can share knowledge, educational opportunities, and other worthwhile insights with members to remind them that you are their financial partner, not just a financial service.

Engagement Fosters Retention

This communication doesn’t have to be one-sided: give your members lots of chances to participate in the conversation, too.

Keeping in touch through your members’ life and family changes can encourage them to reach out more readily when they have new and evolving financial needs. Meet them where they are: in the community, on social media, on your website. And be sure to build engagement into your brand’s communications across platforms.

Another great way to foster engagement is by offering surveys. Today’s consumer is very adamant about using their voice to promote the brands they love, and to speak up and advocate for changes they wish to see in a brand.  

Stay Competitive – Especially with Your Technology

Credit unions are no longer the dinosaurs of fintech – they are bringing targeted IT solutions and online offerings that rival big banks. Now more than ever, your member retention depends on the accessibility and user-friendliness of your online products and services.

Update your website and its interfaces. Make sure you promote your online services in easy and convenient formats. Start building a cache of resources – video, written content, reports, and more – that can point members in the right direction when they don’t want to speak to a representative over the phone. And make sure you have great chat capabilities – if it’s not well-done, it can cost you members.

Offer Customization Where It Makes Sense

Big banks can offer more standard services than most credit unions can, but in today’s digital age, people are looking for options. Customization is no longer a preference, it’s a necessity for your members.

This is one of many areas where credit unions’ small business size is advantageous. “People often choose credit unions because these member-owned financial institutions offer more customized products based on member interests,” according to Jrni. This is a perfect opportunity for you to put those surveys we previously mentioned to work!

Consider Online Appointment Booking and Queue Management

Some of the best tech solutions expanded by the COVID-19 pandemic are online booking and queues. Many restaurant and other service-based businesses incorporated online booking and queues into their websites. The pandemic showed us there are better ways to do things.

Having a queue management system allows your members to see why they aren’t being assisted right away, and how long they’ll be waiting for that assistance to reach them. This does two big things: it gives them expectations – which results in less frustration and confusion – and it also allows them some agency. They can rejoin the queue later if it’s too long or if they will be busy before a credit union employee can help them.

Expand Your Credit Union’s Digital Reach

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. We also offer a variety of custom electronic forms, perfect for reaching new members and updating your processes.

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