Trending Credit Union Topics for April 2022

 

Recently, the Credit Union National Association held its annual governmental affairs conference. They covered a wide range of topics from regulatory changes to future initiatives and more. After the conference, American Banker compiled a list of 6 topics from that conference that credit unions are talking about. Those topics include:

  • War in Ukraine
  • Economy and fee income
  • Struggles of starting a new credit union
  • Inclusion initiatives
  • LGBTQ+ affiliations and communities
  • Credit unions buying banks

Let’s discuss some of these trending credit union topics and what they mean for the future of your credit union.

War in Ukraine

Many industries are wondering how far the effects of the war between Ukraine and Russia will spread. We have already seen a hike in gas prices, and the supply shortages caused by the pandemic will also compound any issues furthered by the ongoing conflict.

Many countries are cutting ties with Russia, making it difficult for them to retrieve any assets or benefits of commerce from these areas. And since Russia has already been accused of interfering in American politics, many businesses are concerned that we are about to get hit with an increasing number of cyberattacks originating from the Russians.

As far as credit union-specific dealings, the Ukrainian National Credit Union Association has partnered with its members to help send aid to those affected by the war. According to their website, “the Ukrainian American credit union movement in the United States exceeds 100,000 family memberships…our asset base has surpassed $4 billion.”

Of the trending credit union topics we are talking about in this article, this one is likely the most volatile, as the war could potentially have global repercussions regarding economic stability, and the rise of military involvement from various countries.

A recent article from the Credit Union Times talks about the issues the Ukrainians face as their towns are invaded and destroyed. There is looting and the sparse reports from the region include insights into a near-total collapse of all cashless payment options in the country. Relief efforts in the country are being debated currently to help even the playing field and allow for credit union depositors to be treated the same way bank depositors are treated.

In early March, the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the World Foundation for Credit Unions have launched campaigns to aid Ukraine, including the creation of the Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund, and many other credit union organizations have created funds that collect and disburse donations from all over the world to aid in relief efforts.

Credit unions across the world are being encouraged to help by providing monetary donations and using their platforms to help show Americans where and how they can donate through their CU memberships.

Economy, Financial Inclusion, & Fee Income

The economy is another trending credit union topic right now, and that has been the case since the pandemic began. With the huge global events that have taken place in the last few years, it’s hard not to be wary of market shifts and other economic indicators.

Many credit unions have been focused on creating opportunities to aid in the recovery from the pandemic, especially for those who live in underserved areas.

And one tactic that many credit unions have embraced is the reduction or elimination of overdraft and other complicated fee systems. These fees can actually harm credit union efforts geared toward increasing financial inclusion.

We’ve previously shared our insights that explain why the era of overdraft fees is ending. However, the discussions around these topics and the push for more financially inclusive initiatives mean that reducing or eliminating your overdraft fees is the most likely path forward. And that means your credit union will have to analyze their specific branch data to adjust their programs to account for this loss of an income stream.

The Struggles of Opening New Credit Unions

Though there are many difficult things to navigate this year, there are some trending credit union topics that center around how we can make it easier for new credit unions to open their doors.

For example, Village Financial Credit Union is a Black-led credit union that was set to open in 2019, but after several setbacks – including a global pandemic – the leaders of this enterprise are hopeful they will be able to open their doors in North Minneapolis by early 2023.

As we continue to strive for financial inclusion, it will become more important to create and look for opportunities to increase the presence of reputable credit unions in areas that are historically underserved.

Use Optimized Tools to Navigate Trends in the Credit Union Sector

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.

Luckily, IMS Integration can help augment those offerings with elegant, member-facing solutions that include: Make a Statement, Online Courtesy Pay+, Online Self-Service Forms, and Trial Balance+.


Moving to Conversational Banking

 

Digital transformation has been moving financial institutions from traditional banking models to online banking models and beyond. As member needs grow and change with the advancement of technology, the approach to customer service must evolve with it. Part of the transition from traditional banking to the future of banking involves the inclusion of conversational banking.

Traditional banking is based on a one-to-one model of financial customer service – and while this practice is still important when mixed with technology that can increase efficiency, convenience, and member experience. Let’s discuss what conversational banking is and how it could benefit your credit union.

What Is Conversational Banking?

For the last several years, and especially throughout the multiple waves of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen exponential growth in conversational user interfaces: messaging apps, chatbots, voice-activated software, and more. These tools are a great opportunity for bridging the gaps between the old-school benefits of one-on-one banking conversations, meetings, consultations, and Q and A sessions versus the convenience of online banking and drive-thru ATMs.

Conversational banking stems from this need for banking members to communicate via technology with the brands and services they use and buy from. The foundation of this banking style is built on interactions between members and non-human interfaces. But just because a live credit union representative isn’t talking to your member, that doesn’t mean the interaction can’t be intuitive and helpful in much the same way as a phone call or a discussion with a credit union employee.

When done correctly, you can leverage the power of conversation to help your members find the solutions they need and navigate those conversations to also recommend other products, services, and solutions. Rather than replacing interactions between members and credit union employees, these methods can augment and enrich the member experience.

The Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of conversational banking is that it lends itself to widening a credit union’s omnichannel approach. You can increase the number of touchpoints in the member journey, increasing the chances that your credit union solutions and insights can create a positive impression on members and potential members.

The use of hybrid technologies also helps cater to different types of member preferences. You can incorporate more phone calls and on-premises visits for those members who would prefer speaking to a live credit union representative. And for those who would prefer to use self-service channels over visiting a physical branch location or making a phone call. Digital solutions continue to gain popularity as online and mobile banking is a more convenient and safer option for people today.

It’s also important to remember that personal service doesn’t necessarily mean face-to-face. Conversational AI software and applications can often be as satisfying for online members and prospects as other methods of communication with a brand or financial institution.

Conversational Banking + Superior Software = CU Success

Your members want to have control of their banking needs, but they also want to be able to depend on you when they need financial education or advice. IMS Integration has a host of premier solutions for Keystone users that can help keep your credit union competitive and relevant compared to fintech and big bank institutions. You can take advantage of online offerings like web loan applications, online account opening services, Infuzion, and reward checking by leveraging our expertise in Keystone, Java, JavaScript, and other credit union-specific professional and comprehensive services.

By partnering with IMS Integration, you will be able to streamline operations so you can optimize your conversational banking assets and spend more time helping your members when they need you most.

Check out our website for more information, or contact us today if you have questions.