Member Centricity: The Core of the Credit Union Experience


Credit unions have long been focused on providing their members with tailored services and a personal touch. As technology continues to evolve, credit unions are adapting their strategies in order to remain competitive.

This is largely due to the fact that credit unions prioritize their members’ needs, and often use a member-centric approach when it comes to adapting services. Let’s explore the trends of member centricity in credit unions, how they affect the member experience, and how credit unions can implement new strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

The Basics of Member Centricity

The Credit Union Times recently published an article all about key trends in member centricity, and we wanted to discuss this trending topic and where it comes from.

In the last several years, there seems to be a push to redefine customer service and to rework the “customer is always right” mentality that has been a huge part of business strategy, marketing, brand sentiment, and more.

Customer centricity and member centricity are one and the same and describe a business framework that relies on and promotes a positive member experience at all stages of the consumer journey.

Loyalty and advocacy are the main goals of a member-centric credit union experience. It shows that your credit union deeply considers the effects that its operations and offerings have on the member. According to Hubspot, the way to do that is to attract, engage, and delight.

Member centricity is important because the market share you are fighting for is increasingly taken up by more and more banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions both in your geographic area and online. Because so many member bases are continuing to become more segmented, each prospect you attract becomes important to keep.

Instead of focusing on what your competitors are doing to attract members, it’s important to really drill down into the specifics of what your credit union’s members are looking for, and cater your operations and service offerings to those preferences.

Member-centric Approaches

There are many ways to reach your members, but the core tenants of an approach that grows from member centricity are to focus your strategies on the culture and impact your efforts have.

This means that every decision you make – from how you built online self-service forms to the products you carry, the philanthropic causes you support, and the way you train your staff – should take the member voice into account as a primary factor.

Being member-centric also means being employee-centric. You’ve likely seen several examples of this not being the case. Every time a larger company has to apologize and disavow the actions of one of its employees, you can almost certainly guarantee that the focus of their role wasn’t to serve their member while listening to the member’s voice and concerns, and answering member questions in a helpful and friendly manner.

A focus on member centricity means sharing member insights with all of your employees, not just the C-suite staff and other credit union organization or branch leaders. Every staff member should be well-versed in the insights and opportunities members provide in order to optimize and recognize ways to add value to member offerings.

Member retention should always be the goal. We have known for decades that the cost of acquiring a new member is much higher than the cost of retaining a current member, but it’s not always easy.

Your members are all individuals, with different personal and professional financial goals. And it’s your credit union’s job to help them meet those goals. But not everyone will be easy to talk to or willing to listen to your options at length. That is why gathering and analyzing member data is so important. We have the technology to keep our members coming back, if we take the time to use it.

Adopt Technology with Member Centricity in Mind

And speaking of technology, it is an essential component of member centricity today. There are several reasons you should include member-centric ideas into technology analysis and adoption for your credit union.

First and foremost, you can reach more members with it! Using multiple digital channels to connect with a core audience is something people have been doing for decades. And the prevalence of social media and its effects on consumer trends means that without an online presence, and a good one, your credit union’s credibility is perceived as less legitimate.

In addition, the use of technology to complete more and more member tasks has exploded since the COVID-19 pandemic started. There are several online and app-based products and services that found new markets in tech-based offerings, and now many of them are choosing not to roll back those advancements because people are using them so much.

Online banking wasn’t invented during the pandemic lockdowns, but financial planning, loan services, and so much more are being expanded online because of the high demand for them.

Data is another great way technology can help you grow your credit union in a member-centric manner. AI and other tech-based insights are cranking out more information than our human brains can collectively sort through, but there’s gold in those data mines.

Your credit union’s brand should live online, in your offerings, social media pages, helpful videos and infographics, and more.

IMSI has so many great online self-service forms options for you to use. We can help you with everything from check reorder forms to cross-account transfer requests, e-certificate requests, money market conversions, investment information, and more.

Looking for more ways to improve member centricity at your credit union? Reach out to us today!

Tips to Optimize Member Experience in a Digital Banking World


Happy 2023! Digital banking and open banking are big topics in the finance industry right now, and a lot of the innovations within them are spurred by the promise of better CX (customer experience).

Optimizing member experience at your credit union will be a pillar upon which your brand’s success is built over the next several years. And we wanted to offer some insights and tips to help you optimize member experiences in your branches and your CU technology like apps and other online offerings.

Here are some of our favorite tips you’ll want to embrace in the new year.

Meet Members Where They Are

There’s a common saying about meeting your members where they are in their own lives and member journeys, and we think it’s so common because it is always true. No matter what kind of economic, political, or generational climate your members are facing, you can’t help them if you don’t understand where they are and what they need.

For example, in the past few years, rising costs and industry issues stemming from the COVID shutdown days have created tricky situations in several different industries. But something that can optimize member experience for nearly every member you work with currently is the notion of financial education and money management.

On average, Americans are experiencing higher amounts of debt, higher loan amounts and interest rates, and other increasing expenses. Even your most savvy members may be struggling to see opportunities at a time like this.

But your credit union can be a calm port in the storm when you offer classes and resources that are aimed at truly and effectively helping your members make the most (or begin to dig themselves out) of their current financial situation.

Focus on Member Experience via the CXO

The CXO (chief experience officer) is a growing role in many credit unions and banks around the world. Adding a CXO to your staff can help create cohesion when it comes to implementing new member-facing technologies and initiatives.

You can also use the CXO role and supporting staff or team to get a clearer picture of what your members want. There are tons of studies and analyses happening in the world of banking and personal finance, but not all of the insights gleaned from these will resonate with your own member base. In order to truly optimize member experience at your locations, you have to know what will (and won’t) be helpful to your members.

Digital Membership Will Rule

There are tons of digital transformation initiatives happening right now across banks and credit unions. But, statistically, credit union leaders don’t always see the correlation between digitizing member services and an optimized member experience.

That traditional view of the customer service side of credit union member services is something that can be both preserved and expanded with the right digital tools. Through customization, personalization, and ease of access, you can all but replicate your member-first in-house practices in ways that offer more value and efficiency to your members.

We’ve also talked before about how you can boost member loyalty at your credit union using customized technologies, outreach, and other member-first initiatives.

There’s also been a lot of positive change being made by those credit unions that are embracing the omnichannel member experience – where your members are interacting on a variety of platforms including chat, phone, in-person, and other interactions with your brand.

Monitoring Member Touchpoints Is a Must

The omnichannel member experience approach that we mentioned above also requires you to know your end-to-end member journeys extremely well. This falls in line with many of the other insights we’ve shared in this article. Many of these tips and innovations help to bolster the member journey at different points along the way.

There are many ways to review and monitor your members’ journeys.

The first and most important is to conduct a thorough and regular review of your digital channels. IMSI has several Keystone solutions that work to improve these channels.

You also need to take a good look at the feedback you are receiving from members. Yes, all the feedback is important – if you are getting short messages from several members because they’re irritated about a new technology’s functionality, don’t brush them off as people who “just need time to adjust.” Optimize your member experience based on the feedback you’re getting from those who are in different stages of their member journey.

Adopt The Right Tech: IMSI’s Keystone Solutions Were Built for Credit Unions

We’re focusing a lot on how to optimize the member experience in the new year, and you have to have tailored, supportive technology behind those efforts to ensure the continuity and success of your latest engagement and retention programs.

One of the best ways to optimize member experience right now is to focus on your Online Account Opening. By streamlining this process using IMSI, you are not only able to piggyback on one of the biggest member experience trends of 2022 and 2023, but you can also boost brand trust and create forward momentum for other member-forward and self-service items to grow and succeed at your branches.

Businesses in all industries are struggling right now, and weathering the economic downturns gets easier with well-created solutions that keep your operations running smoothly, for you and your members.

You can use our Infuzion software to streamline complex functions without developing scripts, and Web Loan Applications software reach directly through your operations and allow your members to take their banking experience into their own hands.

Take a closer look at some of our IMSI Keystone Solutions today.

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.

How Credit Union Membership Is Changing


Credit unions have made massive pivots throughout the pandemic. And now, more than two years later, it’s time to take stock. Credit union membership is evolving, just as credit union services and online offerings are also expanding into new territories.

In 2021, credit unions added 4.7 million new members, which is a 23.6% increase when compared to the corresponding period in 2020, according to a CUNA Mutual Group study reported by American Banker.

But the growth is not universal across all credit unions. Those that have seen growth in their membership numbers year over year, even during the pandemic, have maintained that growth through innovation. Adapting to virtual solutions and online banking services has been a huge differentiator. Credit union membership is changing, and here’s how it will affect your branches and operations.

Mortgage Lending and Increased Hiring Offer Promising Results

The pandemic created supply chain issues all over the world. And we are seeing those issues play out in several industries, at different paces. For example, there was recently a shortage of computer chips reserved for use in vehicles, which then affected credit unions and other financial institutions.

Auto loans were on the decline as the high prices, small incentives, and sparse showrooms were affecting the desire and ability of consumers to car shop and apply for auto loans. The chip shortages are decreasing in severity, but they are expected to last into 2023 and beyond.

But there are other credit union-related areas that are experiencing rebound and growth. The housing market is a hot topic, and that means mortgage lending is helping drive credit union membership increases.

The other factor positively impacting credit union membership is the increase in hiring. Businesses are continuing to rebound after the last few years of hardship.

When the excitement around the housing market slows down, auto loans are expected o bounce back. That coupled with the expected 3.6 million new jobs being created in 2022 will mean your credit union’s value proposition will continue to increase in the coming months.

Data-Driven & Cybersecurity-Focused Approaches Resonate with New Audiences

Another consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increase in cybersecurity breaches. And increasing your cybersecurity approaches to create robust programs has actually been shown to resonate heavily with potential members of all ages. According to Flex, 30% or more of people studied in an Adobe Analytics report, regardless of generation, ranked security as their number one banking concern.

There are also big benefits in revamping how you store and use member data. Your credit union has a huge collection of member insights at your fingertips, but many technologies that store this data need to be updated or replaced in order to make the most of the information stored there.

And this use of targeted member data analytics also feeds into your credit union’s value proposition. Credit union membership thrives on personalization. There’s great power in tailoring your apps, customer service, and member access and transactions to fit everyone’s preferences or lifestyle.

Personalization is not so much a luxury for your credit union anymore – it’s a necessity that facilitates growth.

Increased Connectedness & Crypto Solutions are on the Horizon

The surge in the popularity of cryptocurrency also highlights opportunities for credit union membership growth.

Smaller institutions and credit unions will now have avenues built by NCUA regulations and guidance to help kickstart CU crypto services. Credit unions have an opportunity right now to build crypto programs before they become widespread amongst the small financial institutions.

Between COVID and a growing number of Gen Z members dominating the customer experience space, connectedness is also a priority. This means you need more than just online offerings; you need digital solutions that are available in your physical spaces.

Branch strategies had to be re-evaluated during COVID, and now it will be done again. This time, the goal will be to connect each member’s experience to create seamless solutions. By prioritizing connectedness, credit unions can also increase efficiency in workflows, both on the member side and the employee side.

Physical and digital touchpoints will continue to become more unified.

Credit Union Membership Growth is Rooted in Leveraging the Right Technology

Technology is the medium through which you can market to, communicate with, and ultimately, serve your current and future credit union members. And that’s what IMS Integration was built on.

We have everything from premier solutions for Keystone users (Infuzion, Web Loan Applications, Online Accounting Opening, and more) to professional services like custom web development and electronic forms.

Frequent regulation and compliance changes and the rapid-fire technology trends affecting how everyone does business, IMSI wants to help lighten your credit union’s load. Whether you need forms, notices, or letters, we have the expertise to be able to deliver. Or take advantage of our well-honed industry experience to create a member-forward website experience that both satisfies current members and also encourages member growth.

Check out our website for more information on these and other services, or contact us today if you have questions.