CXO: Why Your Credit Union Needs a Chief Experience Officer

 

There are c-level positions that are popular over the decades like CEO, CFO, and COO – but there are also ones that evolve or even come and go as the market, economy, and workplace change.

One great example of this is the CXO – right now, the Chief Experience Officer is a role that is becoming more and more crucial to a business’s success.

A Chief Experience Officer, or CXO, whose primary job is to ensure a business is generating positive interactions with its customers. Credit unions and other organizations may have this same goal as a company, but not all of them have a c-level executive whose sole purpose is to keep their finger on the pulse of all member interactions.

So, what does that mean for your credit union? Here are our top reasons why your CU needs a CXO.

You Can Collect Data, But You Can’t Quantify Your Member Experience

Just as CFOs and CEOs are tasked with looking at the big picture, your CXO is looking at the whole of your members’ experiences and using data, tools, and member-facing conversations to create that picture.

Your credit union has a staff with varying degrees of experience with your member base. And your loan-specific roles will likely be experiencing something very different than your drive-thru or online banking associates are encountering.

The Chief Experience Officer is the aggregator of all of these experiences and many more. Your digital insights into your members and their banking habits are just the tip of the iceberg. There could be long-standing, institutional pain points that you have been missing with a more granular approach. A CXO offers a comprehensive review and strategy for the whole of the member experience, not just specific services or products.

The CXO Facilitates Internal Integration

By creating and hiring for a role that must talk to all departments and specialties within your credit union, the CXO is primed to create more opportunities for meaningful integration.

While it’s often easy to understand when an outside consultant tells you that you have a single high-level area that needs work, it’s hard to see that for yourself when you and each of your employees are a piece of a puzzle that you are trying to put together.

The CXO coordinates cumulatively with all areas of your credit union – both internally and externally. In fact, many CXOs have found that the same parts of a process that frustrates employees is also not working optimally for members. But if those frustrations aren’t being discussed because the employees with the issues and the unsatisfied members are never directly interacting or even aware of one another, that pain point sticks around.

But by implementing a CXO role into your operations, your credit union will see an uptick in cross-department collaboration.

CXO Has Oversight of the Entire Member Journey

No matter where you work in a credit union, your interaction with the member experience is tied to that specialty. From IT to customer service to marketing, your view of the member’s journey is truncated.

For a Chief Experience Officer, however, it’s truly about the entire journey. Your CXO can see the member’s journey from start to finish. There aren’t any blind spots that leave out the member’s experiences with online lending or account opening – this eagle-eye view can really highlight some of the biggest and most impactful member trends that are helping (and hurting) your business.

By monitoring member interactions as part of a whole member journey, CXOs aren’t just optimizing one product journey. They’re studying the complete life cycle of your members.

CXO Is the Member’s Highest Advocate

By working closely with the member’s experience, rather than using member data as a template to create marketing or revenue growth, your CXO becomes the person at the executive table who represents your members’ voices.

In a rapidly more personalized business world, your members don’t want c-suite executives pitting their needs against the bottom line – they need someone who truly understands how each member is using your credit union’s services.

The CXO is the role that is tailored to searching out members’ concerns, big and small, and finding solutions that quite often please the member and simultaneously satisfy other business operations-minded initiatives.

Strong member relationships will weather storms and disappointing experiences. But no matter how great your products and services are, you can’t out-tech or out-market a bad member experience. If there is no trust built throughout the onboarding and member experience, you can’t expect those members to rely on you when they are in need of financial counseling, loan options, or other banking services.

Enhance Your Member Experience with IMS Integration

The CXO position was created to help businesses meet their members and customers where they are. The same is true with IMS Integration.

We offer digital services and solutions that were curated by credit union experts. Whether you are a CXO liking for ways to digitize your loan application process, or you just want to expand your online self service forms offerings, IMS Integration shares your goals and wants to help you and your credit union achieve greatness.

Check out our elegant, member-facing web solutions today or request a consultation and let us answer your questions!


3 Credit Union Website Design and Development Tips

 

As much as your credit union website design should be visually appealing, it should do more than just look good. Your web development should be focused on creating a functional, engaging, and intuitive layout that helps your members and prospects find exactly what they need.

The experience you want your members to have in your credit union should be featured in your website design. Hubspot recently shared some eye-opening statistics about modern web design.

For example, almost 90% of visitors leave a website due to slow loading, 73% due to non-responsive websites, and just over 60% leave due to bad navigation. Since many credit unions are historically slow to update their digital assets, this is a big problem. We are increasingly seeing business, finances, personal shopping, medical care, and so much more being done online. Your credit union website design needs to reflect that you understand the importance of digital banking and accessibility, while also addressing concerns about slow loading times and mobile device browsing.

Here’s another impactful statistic from Hubspot: 60% of consumers rate usability as an important design characteristic for their online experience.

Your credit union may have previously been built on the connections in your community, but if you want to continue growing, it’s time to review and update your web development strategies. Here are some of the most recommended tips we could find for improving credit union website design.

Define Your Purpose

Credit union website design is a tricky thing. To continue appealing to younger demographics and gain loyal members from these groups, your website’s purpose must be well-defined.

That doesn’t mean your website should only have one function, but it does mean that you’ll have to look at where you are and where you want to be, then decide the best way to get there.

For example, your credit union website’s purpose can be to create a satisfying and personalized experience for all members. This positions your web development projects in a way that can help guide your developers to create an easily navigable experience that can inform your members and even help them carry out financial tasks – tasks which can include account balance checking, online web loan applications, and using online educational content to help guide their financial decisions.

Listen to Your Users

Member feedback is a great way to find out exactly what your members need that you aren’t already providing. All the best tips and practices on the Internet won’t help you connect with your members in a meaningful way through your website if you aren’t giving them the tools and paths they are looking for.

For example, chatbots and mobile device usage continue to be popular website tools that help credit union professionals connect with members. And when you have a website design that supports their needs, you will often find that your members are more than happy to do the “grunt work” themselves, like applying for loans, enrolling in Skip a Pay programs, opening bank accounts, and more.

Not only does the website then start doing some of the data entry heavy lifting, but it also frees up your credit union associates to explore other ways to engage and assist members with more complex problems or ideas.

And since most Internet browsing comes from mobile devices, your web development strategy has to include those functions as you create or upgrade your credit union website design.

Your members know what they want and are often most vocal about how your credit union is keeping them from being able to have their preferred experience. It’s a great opportunity to not only gain insight into how you can better serve your members, it can also give you more chances to increase member engagement by offering polls, comment sections, and more ways to collect feedback on your website design and future plans.

Keep Your Design Ideas Simple

Your credit union web design should be unique and eye-catching, but you can’t trade function for flash. Lots of banners, long content, and colorful visuals can be great tools to use, but they can also overwhelm your visitors.

Your web development should be done with a “pare down” mentality – you can’t possibly describe every service you offer, so you should just focus on highlighting your high-level items and creating a navigation system that allows your site visitors to home in on what they’re looking for.

A few well-placed and stunning visuals are perfect, but pages of long paragraphs and high-resolution images aren’t necessary, and they only increase your load times.

You can communicate effectively through simple icons (outlines of credit cards or checks, pens, and more) and short, powerful phrases to help lead your members to the website features and information they’re looking for.

Custom Web Development Is Easy with IMSI

IMSI is uniquely equipped to maximize our expertise in the web development world as well as our knowledge of the specific digital needs credit unions benefit from the most.

With our Custom Web Development services, we work with you to address your credit union’s needs with tailored web design and UX strategies. We can even work with you to find inexpensive solutions that enhance your current website’s benefits and fixes your current problem areas.

The goal is to create the best experience for your members, and we’ve got the tools and expertise to do it quickly and cost-effectively.


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.


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.


4 Common Reasons Your Members Switch Banks

 

Part of knowing how to create a successful business continuity plan for credit union member retention comes from the knowledge that we gain from studying what makes your members choose to leave your financial institution for another. So here are some common reasons why your members switch banks.

Better Data Protection

The COVID pandemic has accelerated the digitization of a lot of businesses, and that has in turn increased cybersecurity risks. That is why, in a recent study done by Morning Consult, the number one reason respondents switch banks is because they are looking for better data protection.

The easiest way to combat members switching to another bank is to incorporate facts and messaging into your mobile and online banking marketing programs. Because even if their data is safe, members want to know the particulars.

Better Customer Service

Your members have a lot more information than previous generations. If they don’t like a product or service, no matter how long they have given their patronage to a business, they shop around for better options.

This is exceptionally true when it comes to customer service. Consumers are much savvier now, so if the customer service at your location isn’t up to their standards, they likely won’t hesitate to switch banks. In fact, a study from The Ascent reported that 97.18% of respondents ranked “quality of customer service” as either “somewhat” or “very important” when deciding where they’d open a new account. And as digital offerings become more and more accessible and user-friendly, it’s only getting easier for an unsatisfied member to switch banks.

Better Digital Features

According to Banking Journal, recent data suggests that bank customers under the age of 55 are much more willing to switch banks to take advantage of better digital features and services. And 37% of customers regardless of age said they are more likely to switch banks now than they were in the past, likely due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in banking and other industries.

Uncertain Financial Times

Our banking situation is often based on the same feelings we have in the summertime. It sounds crazy, but think about it: if you are at your son’s baseball game or a backyard barbecue, you want to park your chair somewhere in the shade. And for as long as the shade covers you, even while the sun changes position, you stay in that spot, even if there are bigger shade spots nearby.

Your banking situation is the same: if we are in pretty stable financial times, most people are fine with not needing to switch banks because nothing is making them think about making a switch. But if we are in the middle of economic instability, like a recession, people will be more apt to shop around and consider looking into the steps it takes to switch banks.

IMS Integration Can Help Build a Strong Foundation for Your Digital Credit Union Needs

IMS Integration is here to assist you so you can better serve your members. With our professional services, you can take advantage of custom web development, UI scripting, batch scripting, and custom electronic forms.

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


Ways Credit Unions Support Members

 

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

Best Financial Rates and Opportunities

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

Skip a Payment

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

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

Small Business Credit Champions

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

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

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

Credit Unions are Member-Owned

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

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

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

Focus on Education

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

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

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

The Best Tech Solutions for Your Members

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

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


Tips for Improving Credit Union Member Retention

 

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

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

Continue the Relationship

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

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

Engagement Fosters Retention

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

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

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

Stay Competitive – Especially with Your Technology

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

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

Offer Customization Where It Makes Sense

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

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

Consider Online Appointment Booking and Queue Management

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

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

Expand Your Credit Union’s Digital Reach

IMS Integration can help improve your credit union online offerings, starting with web loan applications. IMSI’s online loan applications are designed to incorporate your credit union brand and image, and can be designed to collect as much information as you need. We also offer a variety of custom electronic forms, perfect for reaching new members and updating your processes.

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


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.


Community Outreach during National Small Business Week

 

2021’s National Small Business Week is coming up. From May 3 to May 9, communities come together to highlight the importance of entrepreneurs and small business owners across the US. And this is also a great time for your credit union to perform some targeted community outreach.

Let’s discuss some tips and ideas for celebrating small businesses with your credit union resources.

Why Celebrate National Small Business Week?

Credit unions are (or should be) seen as more than just banks – they are financial institutions with close ties to the communities they serve.

Recently, it’s been reported that credit unions are losing out on opportunities to serve small businesses, due to the rise of fintech like Square and Stripe and larger institutions’ increasingly focused efforts to capture the small business owner’s attention.

But credit unions are uniquely positioned to help small businesses, which means you should be using that positioning to your CU’s advantage!

Celebrating National Small Business Week is a great way to build relationships with local entrepreneurs.

Sponsor an Awards Competition or Spotlight

Small businesses need many things, but one of the biggest things they need is quality “air time”. They need people and businesses in the area to talk about their brand, products, and services to help spread the word and drum up more business. And that’s never been more crucial than right now.  

Millions of small businesses closed temporarily or permanently due to the COVID pandemic, and entrepreneurs need someone to start talking about them again. Credit unions are a great partner in this effort.

There are many ways your credit union can highlight local businesses, and during National Small Business Week, one great way to do this is to host a spotlight or awards competition for local businesses. Businesses can sign up to participate or be nominated by a social media comment or event share, and then you can use a preferred platform to spotlight each business and its purpose. After the spotlight, you can also create polls or contests to let your community members participate in choosing the winners. You can use the Small Business Association’s list of awards as a starting point or you can make up your own!

Create a Tradeshow or Event

This one is a bit more time-consuming, but your credit union can also sponsor or host an event where you allow small businesses to set up a booth for a small fee.

Not only does this generate business for you and the participating businesses, but it’s also an engaging way to promote your credit union’s brand as community-centered. Attendees will associate your credit union with fun “shop local” initiatives, thus increasing the visibility of your brand.

Host a Panel or Discussion Group

Small business owners often feel like their concerns aren’t heard in the same way that big businesses are. To combat this, you can host a roundtable, discussion group, or dinner event for local entrepreneurs.

This gives small business owners a chance to network with you and other area businesses and share their struggles, triumphs, and insights with like-minded individuals. It also shows these businesses that you and your credit union are open to building meaningful relationships that will benefit your business and theirs.

Upgrade Your Software to Compete with the FinTechs

Big businesses aren’t the only ones that can upgrade their software and score more customers. IMS Integration is dedicated to helping you bridge the gap so you can compete with the big guys while still staying focused on serving the little guys in your community.

IMS Integration is here with a full range of credit union software solutions to take your problem-solving effectiveness to the next level.

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