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.


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.


5 Benefits of Finance Automation

 

Finance automation technology can be scaled – it can be all-encompassing, or it can help your credit union increase the efficiency in some processes so your employees can spend more time serving your members. Let’s talk about the five benefits of financial automation.

Fewer Errors

When automation is done right, it creates fewer errors than manual data entry or calculation performance. But rather than replacing your staff with automation, most finance automation is meant to be guided by individuals, keeping that human touch, and then set free to perform as it should, in the background.

Higher Consistency

Every employee is different, and no matter how hard you try, each individual will handle situations and complete tasks in the way that best suits them. This is great for inclusivity, but not so great for processes that should be standardized. With finance automation, you can create greater consistency through standardization.

Increases Information Utility

When you have automated real-time data collection, you can increase information utility. This allows you and your teams to recognize patterns and address issues much sooner than if you had your employees trying to collect and aggregate this data by themselves.

Decreases Fraud Risks

We all want to believe the best in people, but even innocent mistakes can have a devastating impact on your credit union.

Fraud risks, especially those tied to online and electronic activities, are continuing to increase. And certain innocuous employee habits can leave gaps in security big enough for fraudsters and cybercriminals to take advantage of.

Finance automation, by creating greater consistency and reducing the potential for errors all while minimizing human contact with the mechanics of a standardized process, can help decrease fraud risks by limiting the number of people and the time they are involved in a process.

Saves Time

As with most automation, finance automation saves time. It saves your employees and members time when it comes to running the programs and collecting the data. It saves you and your managers time because you don’t waste so much time trying to identify what went wrong, and where, and who.  

Great Examples of Places to Implement Finance Automation

Spend Journal recently shared some finance automation opportunities, and we wanted to list a few here:

  • Payroll: If you think no one cares about a small mistake, try missing someone’s payroll check.  Automated payments, both internally and from member to credit union, are a perfect place to implement finance automation, and payroll is a great place to start. 
  • Banking Statements: IMSI’s Make a Statement service can help you with that. Create e-statements and e-notices, and even consolidate multiple statements to the same vendor automatically.

IMS Integration Wants to Help Lower Fintech Friction

IMS Integration is here to assist you so you can better serve your members. With technology solutions tailored specifically to credit unions, IMSI can offer great services that your members will love, like Skip a Pay. You can set it up for member use, for staff use, and it is fully integrated with your core system.

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.

 


Tips for Re-Evaluating Disaster Recovery Post-COVID

 

Disaster recovery planning is an essential part of every business. But what happens when a disaster strikes that is not only bigger than anything you ever needed to feasibly plan for? And what happens when the disaster is felt on a global scale? Let’s discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we think about business continuity.

Here are some tips for re-evaluating credit union disaster recovery post-COVID.

Evaluate for Gaps in Your Plan

CUInsight shared some great lessons learned from the pandemic, like identifying gaps in your disaster recovery plans. As your business continuity plan ages, it’s vital to evaluate and identify gaps that have formed in your plans. The example they use includes the idea that remote work was likely a small facet of your BCP before the pandemic, but that caveat comes with a lot of gaps.

These gaps include making sure you have a supported and tested VPN that can do the heavy lifting you need when your workforce has to perform their duties remotely. That also means making sure all employees have their own laptops and other required technology in their home or remote workspace.

Another gap you may need to fill in the future is the idea that, while many businesses can operate fully remotely, your credit union may need to identify and understand which employees need to work part-time or full-time in-house. You could create hard and fast rules, or just outline general expectations from different departments or work areas.

Prioritize Communication

Communication was a unique challenge during the pandemic, but having to shift or restore communication channels is not a new idea in the world of disaster recovery. Your employees need to know where insights and directives will come from if primary communication lines are disrupted.

Likewise, your members, vendors, and other outside collaborators will also need to be able to easily find updates on the state of your business, whether that is a messaging system in online banking portals, additional website landing pages dedicated to sharing updates, or even social media channels. You want to make sure your credit union has a clear and consistent plan for sharing changes with the people you are normally interacting with.

Increase Cybersecurity Disaster Recovery

The word “disaster” often calls to mind a natural disaster – hurricane, tornado, things like that. But cybersecurity is becoming increasingly critical, as more and more business and personal transactions are taking place online.

Cybercriminals never stop evolving, and your business continuity plan for dealing with a cyber threat shouldn’t either. Another layer of protection you might want to consider for your credit union disaster recovery is cyber insurance – but be careful, not all insurance policies are created equal so you’ll want to do some good research before settling on any solutions.

Prep for Future Pandemics

As COVID cases recede in the United States, it’s easy to imagine that this pandemic was one-and-done. Unfortunately, new strains are being discovered, and other countries around the globe are facing a myriad of increasing and decreasing case counts as areas reopen and then close again. Consider evaluating or amending sick leave policies and protocols for any future outbreaks, COVID or otherwise.

Similarly, consider retaining and updating any communication channels you have in place for spreading legal and other regulatory changes. The last thing you want is for your credit union to be non-compliant with current laws, regulations, and ordinances pertaining to the pandemic.

And lastly, remember this: flexibility in policy doesn’t mean the policy is no good. Anticipate that there will be exceptions to the rules and plans you set forth, and come up with strategies to handle them fairly and as transparently as possible.

Upgrade Your Credit Union Disaster Recovery

IMS Integration offers a range of professional services – customized to you. From custom web development to UI and Batch scripting, our team is here to make sure you never miss a beat.

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


Big Moves in Mobile Banking

 

Mobile banking, a feature that’s been around for years, has suddenly become a primary means for credit union members to carry out as much of their financial activity as possible.

Let’s take a look at how mobile banking is succeeding – and the areas that need some work.

Winning Features from Top CUs

Nerd Wallet recently shared a list of the 6 Best Banks and Credit Unions for Mobile Banking, and here are the top tools each is using to entice customers and enhance their mobile offerings:

  •  Tools for managing and increasing savings
  • High interest rate on savings
  • Generous ATM fee reimbursements
  • Advanced mobile app security
  • Wide branch access
  • High daily limit for depositing checks

This is a great cross-section of the types of features mobile banking customers are coming to expect.

Balance Preview & Other Communication Features

Balance preview is a successful feature Alliant Credit Union implemented that allows members to check their balances quickly without logging in.

More transparent communication options are going to be big draws for mobile banking apps as more and more people move away from doing business in physical credit union locations and adopt a more mobile-forward approach on a permanent basis.

Communication features like messaging and chats that connect members to customer service representatives are also great features for any mobile banking app. This allows some AI or one-to-one interactions to help your customers navigate functionality or update issues and answer general information questions.

Mobile Bill Pay Is Mutually Beneficial

Online and mobile bill pay is a great process that mutually benefits credit unions and their members. Automating payments means peace of mind and one less thing to worry about for members, and it also means credit unions don’t have as many late payment issues to work through.

This is still an area of potential growth for many credit unions. Running targeted campaigns and offering informational materials describing the benefits and features of automatic bill pay could increase your credit union’s appeal and position as a tech-forward financial option.

Personalization

As with many mobile-based programs, mobile banking is going to evolve to become more and more customizable for users. Everyone carries out their financial responsibilities differently, so it makes sense that mobile banking is also going to benefit from this personalization.

Personalization can include a variety of transactional or banking insights based on each member’s preferences and activities, icon placement and size, photos, and personal financial goals.

Security

This personalization can also be applied to security features. The goal of the mobile banking experience should be to fit into every member’s lifestyle and preference. A tall order, but many online experiences are incorporating similar features to create the optimal experience for each user.

As for security, this could mean creating options for fast, seamless login features like fingerprint scans, face ID, push notifications for logging in and tracking activity, and other biometric-based options.

Implementing security features that can stop cyber criminals without making login and verification processes annoying and time-consuming for users is going to be the challenge here.

For Credit Unions Looking to Update Their Digital Solutions

IMS Integration has a host of great credit union solutions, including Make a Statement, Online Courtesy Pay, Online Self Service forms, and Trial Balance. Request a consultation today for more information about our credit union solutions.


Trends in Auto Lending

 

Today, credit unions are tasked with adapting older or outdated processes and services to a newer market. Add a pandemic to the mix, and you see a surge in online and mobile banking that will be hard to ignore from now on. And auto lending is no different.

Here are some trends in auto lending to watch for.

Online Car Shopping Trends

With social distancing and increased cleaning protocols, shopping for cars online has become a go-to for those in the market for a new ride.

And once they start that online car shopping process, interested individuals want to make sure they can get financing before they invest themselves emotionally in a car they won’t be able to get a loan for.

More and more, the future of auto shopping and lending is going to be virtual. And that’s why your credit union needs to be ready to embrace the following trends to capture your portion of this audience’s attention and business.

Early Loan Preapprovals

61% of new car financing happens through vehicle manufacturers and dealerships, but the majority of used car financing takes place at banks and credit unions.

This presents an opportunity for your credit union to offer auto loan pre-approvals to members through multi-channel campaigns so you can reach them before they try to finance those loans through other dealerships or financial institutions.

Increase Loan Amounts

CU Management has some compelling insights about how credit unions can play to their auto lending strengths:

“Credit unions tend to go a little bit larger in the average amount financed compared to banks and finance companies…They don’t go out the longest terms, but when you combine their sweet spot of 73 months with low interest rates, credit unions offer the most competitive product in the marketplace, particularly for prime and super-prime customers.”

By increasing loan amounts and offering competitive interest rates, you can give your members the opportunity to treat themselves to a slightly nicer car than they anticipated. You can position it as a post-pandemic opportunity at pandemic-like rates. This will be appealing to your members, especially as they watch gas, home remodel materials, and other prices go up in response to the vaccine rollout and the decreasing COVID restrictions.

Leverage Past Applications for Refinancing

Refinancing has defined many interactions between consumers and financial institutions in the last year, so why not keep that momentum going?

Credit unions can recapture a lot of business by going back through 2019 and 2020 loan applications that were lost or abandoned, and offering those applicants who are members some refinancing options.

Increase Education Efforts

The pandemic gave us all a good look at which areas of our lives – especially those tied to finances – we could use some more education in.

Credit unions are perfectly positioned to offer a wider variety of educational content geared toward different financial situations and age groups. What millennials need right now may not be the same as what Gen Xers needed at that same age. Tailoring your education to more targeted demographics can broaden your credit union’s reach while also appealing more directly to younger generations, who are always looking for more value and insight from expert brands.

Focus on Alternative Credit Data

Many millennials and Gen Zers are not going to have the traditional lines of credit that their parents and grandparents had when applying for loans. For those who are too young to have a well-rounded traditional credit score, take a look at other financial areas such as rental records, utility payments, address consistency, and employment history. 

This is a great way to capture a traditionally overlooked population looking for an auto lender.

Tech Upgrades

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.

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


Financial Preparedness Approaches for the Future

 

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

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

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

Have a Plan B

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

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

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

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

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

Budget What You Have

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

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

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

Mitigate Debt

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

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

Ensure Quick & Easy Access to Financial Information and Services

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

IMS Integration is here to help you optimize your credit union’s website with Web Loan Applications, Online Account Opening, and so much more.

Contact us today for more information about our credit union solutions.


How to Improve Credit Union Customer Service

 

We’ve talked previously about trends credit union customers will come to expect and ways to improve member experience in previous blog posts. But a lot has changed in the last year. So let’s take a look at some new ways to improve credit union customer service.

Focus on Financial Well-Being

Credit unions are very community-oriented and collaboration-focused. And as more young adults come of age in these financially uncertain times, they don’t just need a bank, they need a financial institution that can also act as a teacher or guide.

Millennials and Gen Z spend money and view debt differently than older generations. And many times, they look to the internet for answers. So why not use your credit union’s online presence and customer approach to provide those answers for them? You can build trust with younger demographics by positioning your credit union as not only a bank, but also a partner throughout their financial lives.

By focusing on helping your members pursue financial well-being, you can not only provide better customer service, but you can also see what trends and growth areas exist in your immediate market.

This is also a strategic way to invite more small businesses to bank with you as well. Often, owners of small businesses are forced to be their own supervisor, employee, accountant, marketer, and so much more. If you have resources and experienced advisors available, SMBs will see that as a huge advantage.

Leverage APIs

An application programming interface – or API – is a “code that allows two application systems to connect and share information with each other. You can see some quick and easy examples in this CUInsight article.

Leveraging APIs helps credit unions compete with the big banks and their multi-million dollar tech resources. APIs allow your CU to save time and money on significant website and app improvements by using pre-built programs to help drive engagement and growth.

Listen to Your Employees

Being a credit union leader often involves making hard decisions, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it in a vacuum. You have dozens of experienced employees who are your boots on the ground every day. One of the best ways to improve credit union customer service is to listen to the struggles of your staff.

If there are systems or procedures that have not been updated or optimized in a while, talk to the people who use them every day. Ask them what they struggle with, and what their members are struggling with. Having an open-door policy on process improvements can allow your credit union to keep moving forward with incremental changes, rather than forcing shutdowns or huge company-wide strategy overhauls in the coming years.

Take Advantage of Testing

You’ve heard it before: no two customers are alike and no two businesses – even two branches of the same credit union – are alike. Just because a messaging system isn’t well-received at branch A doesn’t mean the system should be scrapped or replaced. It means you should do some testing to find the reasons certain programs are working at each branch of your credit union.

Testing, especially after the year of rapid technological change we just had, is paramount to the success of your credit union. Some of the temporary solutions you’ve implemented may be great tools or resources to keep for the long haul. And maybe others need some refining before they can be considered an asset to your business.

Offer Great Online Resources and Services

Fintech partnering is a big trend right now, and it’s probably going to stick around for a while. Finding companies that can help you provide valuable services online is a great, cost-effective way to improve customer service.

IMS Integration is here to help you optimize your credit union’s website with Web Loan Applications, Online Account Opening, and so much more.

Contact us today for more information about our credit union solutions.