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.


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.


2022 Pivots Your CU Should Make

 

Credit unions are resilient and creative, and 2022 is the perfect year to flex those strengths to create growth for your business. There are lots of 2022 pivots your credit union should make this year.

Some of these pivots are likely already in the works in your branches and on your websites, while others may have passed just under your radar for the year. Either way, these items should make their way to the top of your priority list in the coming months.

Shifting Payments Preferences

Convenience and automation continue to help drive the demand for accessible payments. These payments preferences have shifted drastically in light of the pandemic, but they also offer a lot of benefits to the users, namely the ability to access and use your money anywhere, anytime.

The challenge here is security. As non-traditional payment methods are offered by more banks and credit unions, these payments preferences must ensure that your members’ private information is not being stolen or corrupted.

The supply chain shortages of credit and debit cards have also affected payments preferences in recent months. The shortage of the digital chips for these cards and countless other technologies has been going on since late 2020, which likely means your members’ new payments preferences will be sticking around.

As part of your credit union’s 2022 pivots, you should consider doing a comprehensive audit of your payment services to see what your members are using the most (and the least).

Loan Growth Initiatives

Many financial institutions are seeing an upward trend in household deposits to their branches, and fewer loans are being applied for and created. To bolster your loan growth this year, another worthwhile 2022 pivot is digital marketing touting your lending services.

For example, 2022 has seen incredible growth in the real estate market, with some areas having houses for sale for just a few days before they find a suitable and willing buyer. To capitalize on this fast-paced market, you need a quick way to increase your credit union loan growth.

IMS Integration offers online loan applications that are designed to incorporate your CU and its brand elements. You can offer these services electronically and collect all the information you need to start the loan process with your most tech-savvy members.

The Digital vs. Branch Debate

The paradox that was created by the pandemic is that we needed to implement and increase technology-based solutions quickly, but that focus has also created a huge desire for human interaction.

Credit union branch visits will likely never reach pre-pandemic levels in the near future, if at all. However, after two years of heavily automated and digital transactions, your members are also craving sincere, thorough interactions with your staff.

With that in mind, it’s important to tailor your branch spaces to maximize these person-to-person interactions and create a space to foster communication and financial advice. Even if you are offering web loan applications and self-service forms, many of your members will still prefer to talk to a live person, either at your branch or over the phone. Your credit union 2022 pivots in this area should aim to shift the use of your physical space to better serve the members who want in-depth financial education and counsel.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency investments have been growing steadily for several years. They’ve also recently seen a huge spike in investment interest. And many people would prefer to control these investments via their preferred financial institution rather than third party and other digital banking vendors.

2022 pivots in the cryptocurrency game have even seen big businesses like Subway, Twitch, AT&T, Starbucks, Home Depot, and more accepting bitcoin for their products and services in-store and online.

Just as you’d want your members to choose their CU credit or debit card to pay for those transactions, your credit union should be moving to capitalize on the rise in crypto’s popularity.

Addressing Staffing Issues

Employee turnover issues are affecting the financial industry just as it has been affecting other industries like hospitality, food service, and healthcare.

For credit unions, this can not only create staffing issues due to your business’s inability to provide remote work options at the volume that other industries can, but it can also affect your regulatory compliance.

It’s important to assess the potential risks of losing specific members of your teams, maintaining resources to fulfill compliance requirements, and more.

The Best of Your 2022 Pivots: Elegant Member-Facing Digital Solutions

Serving your members is the mission and goal of every credit union. And that means creating amazing customer service opportunities, both in your branches and online.

Your credit union has likely spent years, even decades, perfecting your in-person services, and IMSI has done the same thing when it comes to providing top-tier online support and services to credit union members.

IMS Integration has everything from elegant member-facing solutions like Online Courtesy Pay, Web Loan Applications, Online Self Service forms, and account opening to sophisticated professional services that include custom web development as well as batch and UI scripting to ensure your website runs smoothly and offers your members the best in online credit union and banking services.


Exploring the Buy Now Pay Later Boom

 

We often talk about the differences between older and younger generations, and we can add another trend to the list of factors that divide them: the surge in buy now, pay later program participation among younger Millennials, and Gen Z.

Let’s explore the BNPL boom and its role in the future of banking.

Why is BNPL Gaining Popularity?

As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, more and more we are seeing checkout prices being listed as “$349.99 now, or $29.17 per month for 12 months” or “4 payments of” a much more manageable amount. And younger shoppers are loving it. Buy now pay later is gaining popularity.

The younger members of the Millennial and Gen Z populations are not fans of credit cards, and their buying habits back this up. For example, in 2021, 12% of the 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed said they used BNPL for holiday purchases, compared to 0% of the 65 and older demographic, says CNBC. Overall use of the buy now pay later method was up nearly 30% year over year.

But why is BNPL so attractive to younger shoppers? Because it costs less than using a credit card, they say.

The attractiveness of BNPL comes from the idea that shoppers can create a bit more flexibility in their medium-sized purchases. Purchases that fall in the $100-700 range can be split into a handful of smaller payments that are spread out over the next few months, or even over a year. It eases the burden these occasional purchases bring, without incurring the high interest fees one would be stuck with if they used a traditional credit card.

It can be useful for more than just low-income shoppers, though. BNPL often is being used by those who are financially stable, but who want the predictability of the plan without having to incur costly fees or go through a long or drawn-out loan application process.

And, says CU 2.0, younger generations crave financial stability in a world that has been exceedingly unstable for them, they want solutions that leave no surprises. While a loan amount or balance is always available, banking members don’t know what the actual cost of their purchase will be until they pay off the full amount – and this depends on the frequency of payments (and whether the member pays in variable amounts), initial loan amounts, interest rates, the member’s credit score, and more. And if a member puts that purchase on a credit card but doesn’t pay off the full amount during the next billing cycle, the end expense is, once again, a variable and often a much higher price tag at the end. But with BNPL, the total cost is given upfront, and the timing or amount of the payments made will not change that.

How CUs Can Use BNPL Plans to Their Advantage

Credit unions looking to capture and engage more younger members can implement programs and offerings that follow this ultra-convenient and straightforward buy now pay later idea by using account data history for current members, and by advertising these services in a friendly, quick, digital offering.

More and more businesses have these BNPL plans built into their websites either on product pages on somewhere in the shopping cart or checkout process.

Focusing on smaller, more upfront methods of creating recurring payment plans for your members can help differentiate you as a credit union that is both up-to-date on the current trends and also committed to helping and educating members so they can become more financially sound.

Digital Solutions for Rapidly Evolving Banking Trends

IMS Integration wants your credit union at the forefront of digital transformation. From online account opening to web loan applications and Skip a Pay, our solutions are tailor-made for credit unions, because we know that your CU has unique needs and goals for the new year.

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


Web Development for Credit Unions

 

In an increasingly digital world, your credit union’s website is the new interactive business card, a source of income, and the main way by which prospective members will judge whether you are the right fit for their financial needs. So let’s talk about web development for credit unions: what to do, what not to do, and more.

Take Advantage of Tracking and Analytics

Your data is only as good as your analysis of it. Data is business gold. It can tell you things about the best times to run certain promotions, the behaviors of different member demographics, and so much more.

When it comes to leveraging your data, you should first break down your credit union goals, and then start collecting data to help give you insight on how to achieve those goals.

End-to-end tracking is also a must. For credit unions, lead tracking and ROI tracking can provide a multi-directional approach to meeting your business goals. Your members and their behaviors can tell you everything you need to know about what products and services you should be offering, and the best methods for doing so.

Prominently Feature Self-Service Options

Typically, people surfing your website are there because of a search or other desire for a product or service brought them here. By prominently featuring self-service options, you give your visitors what they want in a quick and efficient manner.

Online web loan applications, courtesy pay, and other self-service forms are a great way to differentiate your credit union. Many credit unions fail to prominently display self-service opportunities on their websites, and this causes a lot of frustration among visitors. If you are one of the few that takes advantage of this web development for credit unions, it can not only drive more business, but it can also set you apart from other credit unions that are not taking advantage of this web design.

Marketing Trends for 2022

The Financial Brand recently published an article on “How Banks and Credit Unions Are Rethinking Marketing for 2022.” This includes changing up your media mix, reevaluating your marketing budget, and focusing on financial inclusion.

Some of these new trends will affect the web development of your credit union. Members are now more comfortable using multiple banking institutions to help make the most of what they are being offered. The focus now is to be more flexible and innovative, to capture the top spot in your member’s minds. You want them to think of your credit union first. If you aren’t their only financial institution, you should strive to be their favorite.

Don’t Forget about Accessibility

The digital world is one in which many disabilities can become smaller obstacles with the right programming. When you are thinking about web development for your credit union, a great addition to your strategy should be accessibility. Accessibility can be housed within the toggles of your site and can be comprised of things like a “dark mode” setting or designing your online forms to be more accessible. UC Berkeley has a great resource on the top tips for making your website accessible.

Custom Web Development for Your CU

IMS Integration has a wealth of well-honed industry expertise, and we want to use it to create a custom web development plan for your credit union’s needs. 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.


4 Takeaways from ‘Digital-First Banking Trends Report’

 

SilverCloud recently published the “Digital-First Banking Trends Report” (you can download the free report here). There is a ton of insightful information in the report, so we wanted to go through a few of the best takeaways, which include mobile banking, technology adoption, and more.

Customer Self-Service

SilverCloud reports that the average daily use of knowledge bases on bank and credit union websites increased by 69% year over year from March 2020 to March 2021. Current and future credit union members will now expect to be able to find banking solutions, applications, and answers to their questions through your website or mobile offerings.

A list of some of the most common topics in self-service offerings include transfers, cards, lending, hours, and appointments. IMS Integration has a number of solutions like web loan applications and online account opening that can help bolster your credit union’s self-service programs.

Mobile Banking

A lot of the self-service growth was taking place on mobile apps and platforms in the last year as well. And mobile users were doing a lot more than just checking account balances, they were looking for help with products, technology, and even just general support.

The more streamlined your credit union’s website and mobile interfaces are, the easier it is to attract and retain members. The increase in work-from-home opportunities and other remote events and meetings means that it’s becoming less convenient to have to swing by the bank or credit union to drop off a pay stub or withdraw cash. There’s even a continued rise in smart wallet use – forget paying with cash or card, many people enjoy the simplicity of paying by phone.

Chatbots

With 24-7 tech comes the need for 24/7 support. Thankfully, you don’t need to start hiring night shift chat or hotline managers to keep up with your members’ needs.

“Chatbot usage on bank and credit union websites and mobile apps increased 272% year-over-year, says SilverCloud. Their study even showed that those who used chatbots over more rudimentary search bar inquiries typed an average of 14 words and found helpful answers to mid-tier and slightly more complicated questions. Your members are no longer seeing chatbots as glorified search bars – they’re using this evolved technology to find answers to questions that normally would require a person-to-person phone call. This evolution helps increase the effectiveness of your credit union’s self-service offerings while lowering your call volumes.

IMS Integration also has a number of automation options like batch and UI scripting that can be customized to your credit union while still providing efficient solutions for your teams.

Appointment Scheduling

While walk-ins are still welcome, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has created a high demand for more pre-scheduled appointments, up 107% from 2020, while walk-in numbers have decreased by 55%.

The following appointment types saw growth since last year: business banking, retail banking, investments, and auto loans. Only appointments for checking and savings declined – no doubt affected by the huge leaps in technology and self-service availability we mentioned above.

Keep Up with Tech Trends in Banking

IMS Integration has a large selection of online and backend solutions to help keep your credit union up to speed on the latest and greatest advancements in the banking industry. Our Corelation solutions and new Infuzion tool are making customized tech solutions look easy.

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