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.


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.


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.


6 Ways to Improve Your Credit Union Website

 

Your credit union’s website is getting more traffic, and your members expect to be able to find more information and services than ever before. After a long year of hurried digital transformation, now is the time to optimize your business’s online presence. Here are some of the best ways to improve your credit union website.

Update Your FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions pages are one of the first places your members go to get information about new website features and common issues or questions.

To improve your credit union website, spend some time reorganizing and updating your FAQs. Questions should be grouped by topic or category (mobile banking, online loan applications, etc.). You can even include a search feature, especially if you have a long list of FAQs, to help your members find the information they need faster.

With all the crazy 2020-inspired changes to your business, your FAQ section is likely in need of a good update.

Analytics and Personalization

Predictive analytics can create a more tailored experience for every member or potential customer who visits your credit union website.

“By leveraging application programming interfaces (API) to connect customer relationship management (CRM) databases, your website can display personalized content, advertising, and product information uniquely targeted to each individual,” says InetSolution.

You can use existing tools like Google Analytics and customize the insights to capture specific data that can improve your website’s (and your business’s) performance.

Include or Improve Site Search Functions

We already mentioned including a search feature on your credit union’s FAQ page. It is just as crucial that your website includes a global search feature too, so visitors can quickly and easily search your entire website content for specific information or services.

Before you create or commission work for a one-size-fits-all search function that also searches Google or other internet content, remember: the function of every piece of information and page design should be optimized to get your members or potential customers to the content or service they are looking for.

This site search function would also likely benefit from the same analytics and personalization features that you’ve built into your site mentioned in the above section.

Create and Curate Financial Education Content

Blogs, links, infographics, events pages – many people visit websites for advice or information that is related to your business or industry. To improve your credit union’s website, having a section dedicated to financial education content is a perfect companion to your credit union’s mission to serve and educate the communities your offices are in.

When you provide relevant resources, you also help your customers become educated and invested in their own financial literacy and experience. A blog or resource page with relevant links or infographics not only adds value to your website but also provides another reason for visitors to check back in on your website for the latest helpful tips or interesting articles.

Ensure All Site Functions are Mobile-Friendly

89% of American bank account holders use mobile banking for account management. And 94% of mobile banking customers use online banking platforms at least once a month.

Whether your credit union has a website, an app, or both – all pages and functions of your online services should be optimized to work on mobile platforms. This is even more important when it comes to the longer, more involved service processes, like account opening or web loan applications.

Offer Online Web Loan Applications and Account Opening

And speaking of web loan applications and online account opening – both of these should be features on your credit union’s website and app. Younger prospective customers have always tended to prefer any solution that is fully online and contactless.

This is even more important as we continue to feel the impact of COVID-19 restrictions. Rather than losing them, you can give potential customers the power to initiate business with you. This is safer, faster, and often more preferred anyway.

Need Help Improving Your Credit Union’s Online Presence?

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.


Lending Trends and Loan Applications: What’s Next for CUs?

Online lending and loan application practices have been around for a while, but many credit unions have not implemented or improved these processes. While COVID-19 mandates and social distancing practices may have pushed the tide toward more online lending, there are many reasons why it is here to stay and why there could be more changes on the horizon.

Digital Service Is Expected

Having reliable and expansive digital services available for members is a must for credit unions hoping to survive these tough times. Brick-and-mortar locations are becoming less and less frequented, which means you are losing members and customers if you aren’t implementing and expanding your online services often.

The current pandemic has pushed a lot of things to digital platforms out of necessity, but rather than seeing these as a temporary stop-gap measure, credit unions should consider adding things like online lending and loan application services to the website permanently.

Take Advantage of PPP Issues

Many small businesses applying for the Paycheck Protection Program loans had a hard time accessing the things they needed through big banks. Everyone was scrambling for the same funds and the lengthy wait times and delays cost a lot of small businesses their ability to keep their doors open, even at diminished capacity.

While this is nothing to celebrate, credit unions could use this as an opportunity to market themselves as a better alternative lender to the big banks and PPP. Customer service is always a strength that credit unions wield, so why not tout it during a time when lots of business owners are frustrated with their current bank’s lack of satisfactory service?

Travel Changes Mean Lending Changes

According to this CU Management article, some interesting loan trends may start to emerge as some areas lower their COVID-19 precautions due to dwindling case numbers.

There is a potential for air travel and hotel stays to decline and stay low for a time, even after COVID-19 has passed. This doesn’t mean that everyone will suddenly stop wanting to travel, but it does mean the mode of transportation could be changing.

RV and boat sales are expected to increase in the near future, as a safer travel alternative to flying, which means loans for these items will also increase – something for credit unions to think about in the coming months.

Credit Union Culture Is an Advantage

Though digital solutions often focus on taking out the human components, there are ways to incorporate the standard credit union customer service throughout the loan application process. Creating virtual inroads to your credit union by using your CU website to showcase both your commitment to helpful customer service and the ease of online loan applications can add value to potential customers.

Building custom lending processes that highlight the personal touch credit unions can offer is a great way to differentiate your services from the services your competitors have to offer.

IMS Integration Has You Covered

IMS Integration’s Online Loan Application white paper is a quick read and helps outline many of the benefits of creating web-based loan applications.

We also offer online self-service forms, which can be customized to meet your credit union’s and your customers’ needs.

We also have expertise with many software solutions for your credit union. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.


It’s Time to Optimize Your Digital Member Experience

Historically, credit unions have been regarded as slow to innovate when it comes to new technology. But 2020 is no ordinary year, and credit unions are recognizing the power of this rapid change and its value as we move towards an ever-evolving and heavily digital future. It’s time to optimize your digital member experience.

Digital Member Experience Is More than Fast Processing Times

This year has exponentially enhanced the ability of every industry to churn out large-scale digital solutions to compete with stay-at-home orders and social distancing policies. But the unintended result of this is an overwhelming preference, from customers and bank members, to have these services optimized and available in the future, no matter how long this pandemic lasts.

But digital solutions aren’t as easy to implement as a plexiglass partition or extra customer service associates. The easier the digital solution is for the customer to use, the more difficult and intricate the behind-the-scenes setup can be for IT and third-party software engineers.

Here are some tips and solutions for improving the digital member experience.

Enhance Chat Abilities with Video

Video chatting is now commonplace, for people of all ages. Young children are on Zoom for virtual classroom time, and elderly credit union members are hopping on Telehealth calls with their doctors. Why not incorporate video appointments in your credit union’s offerings?

Integrating a video chat option through your online banking website and app can bring back that personal, one-on-one customer service that has been slowly fading as we continue to practice safe social distancing.

It’s also a great way to introduce your already-tech-savvy members with your newest “upgrades” – you can use the video call to not only answer customer questions but to also keep them in the loop on the latest changes to the digital member experience.

Increase Customization in the Digital Member Experience

No matter how much you digitize, there will always be members who prefer that personal touch. This approach is something credit unions all over the country are most known for – their commitment to take care of and be an essential part of the communities they serve.

That same “perfect fit” feel can largely be replicated online if your credit union offers solutions that can be tailored either to your members’ preferences or manipulated by your members themselves.

Custom web development allows you to tell developers exactly what your credit union’s digital member experience should be, with web solutions ranging from online member applications to integration with third-party tools.

Ease of Use Is a Difficult, But Crucial Feature

Many customers, regardless of where they do their banking, are always looking for insights, shortcuts, and transparency. Increasing transaction visibility and speed are things many people are coming to expect – think of the one-click payment options on retail sites like Amazon.

The digital member experience needs to be as close as possible to an all-encompassing, no limits, one-on-one discussion about the many products and programs your credit union offers. One way you can do this is by recreating as many lending and other credit unions forms online.

IMSI Has A Variety of Software Solutions For You

At IMS Integration, we can create tailored software solutions for your credit union. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.


4 Trends Credit Union Customers Will Come to Expect

Neither big banks nor credit unions were prepared for the panic and major strategy pivoting that took place this year. COVID-19 has shaken nearly every industry to its core – so let’s focus on credit union solutions that will spell success in the future.

Identifying powerful trends can drive important changes that will set your credit union ahead of that elusive, ever-changing curve of tech, customer, and financial landscape changes. Modernization has not always been a top priority for credit unions, which typically have done more business with Gen X and older members.

However, at the start of the pandemic everyone rushed to their banks to take out as much cash as possible, in preparation for the shutdowns – but a few weeks later, according to UCCU CEO Steven Stapp, “suddenly all they want is the card.”

Customer needs are changing more rapidly, which means your credit union’s response has to keep up with these quick changes.

Focus on the Customers and Their Need for Great Contactless Experiences

Contactless experiences are an emerging trend that will likely stay around. Customers are moving away from credit cards, spending, and in-store shopping and now prefer debit cards, saving, and perusing online stores.

Giants like Amazon, who have all but perfected the customer experience, are skewing user preferences towards that model. Now, online customers are expecting easy, lightning-fast service with top tech.

This also means that real-time assistance with customer issues is a luxury no longer – it is a necessity for your Millennial and Gen Z customers, and it’s becoming a strong preference for older generations as they are learning to navigate this new digital-forward, post-pandemic world.

The challenge for credit unions moving forward will be tailoring their approaches and offerings to each CU’s region and specific demographics.

Meet Demand for Faster Payments

Fast service also means faster payments. With in-person visits being discouraged, the time between a transaction request and its posting or transfer can no longer be held up by days, as has been standard in the past.

“Differing member needs and expectations will impact each credit union’s choice of a payments solution, but noted there are four key experiences and procedures that all credit unions should keep in mind,” according to this recap of a PSCU white paper.

Those four things are:

  • Member experience and design – responsible for account controls, contact strategy, and instant issuance
  • Operational rigor – things like authorization strategies, general ledger practices, and liquidity management
  • Enterprise fraud management – changes to authentication, dark web monitoring, and real-time analytics
  • Compliance – includes consideration of changes to exception processing, payment scheme rules and regulations

Take Advantage of Outside Specialists

Credit unions and their employees should be focusing on customer-forward solutions, not on background tech and applications.

There are many third-party options for things like core hosting, payment delivery systems, and the like. Taking these burdens off your staff can free up time and energy for optimizing other areas of your member experience.

CUs Must Be Proactive to Beat Out Big Banks

Historically, credit unions have been slower to react than big banks when it comes to implementing new technology and processes. If your credit unions can adapt and innovate quickly, they can capture a lot of new customers. An essential part of this rapid implementation can be coupled with the previous trend – outsourcing intricate niche operations to companies with experience and optimized solutions.

Partner with IMS Integration

At IMS Integration, we can create tailored software solutions for your credit union. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.


The Importance of Online Self-Service Forms

The shift to contactless consumer solutions has not just shown how quickly businesses can adapt. It has also shown how important it is to have wide-ranging, quality self-service options.

Online banking, previously a word used to describe the ability to complete financial transactions, is evolving to reflect a fully digital customer experience. Funds transfers and bill payments were a great start, but more and more, users want to be able to perform 100% of their credit union tasks digitally.

Online self-service forms are a key component in that evolution.

From Payment Apps to Communication Apps

Credit union websites and mobile banking apps are changing. Previously, the main functions of this technology were for customers to view account balances or move money from one account to another.

With the COVID-19 crisis, solutions that we thought were years away had to be implemented virtually overnight. And rather than stopping that momentum, it’s time to harness that power to transition even more functions to online platforms.

The teller window experience has started going digital. Banking apps will need to start offering customer service digitally – using chat functions and online self-service forms.  

Self Service Forms – What Are They and What Can they Do?

As more complex member requests are processed digitally, having a wide array of online self-service forms is essential. In the past, one-on-one support has been the standard. But now, 81% of all customers prefer having the ability to “do it themselves” using online self-service over talking to a live representative when they encounter issues.

Online self-service is contact between a credit union and its members without involving a live credit union employee. Members can and want to take care of themselves using your credit union’s software and resources.

Self-service forms are customizable solutions designed to incorporate your credit union’s brand and image and to collect information required to fill member requests.

Some examples of tasks online self-service forms can help with include:

  • ATM/Debit – Address change, Delete Card, New Card, Reorder, Research Requests
  • Auto Transfer
  • CD Rollover Request
  • Checking Conversion
  • E-Certificate Request
  • HE Packet
  • Lost Card Notification
  • Reorder Checks
  • Savings Bond Request

Benefits of Self Service Forms

Online self-service forms offer a range of benefits for your credit union and your members.

It saves your customer service and support representatives’ time. By processing straightforward or standard requests through online self-service forms, your members are able to steer themselves through many processes that would previously have needed a credit union employee’s help.

Saving that time also means you are saving money. If you give your members the tools to answer their own questions and complete tasks online, your staff will be fielding fewer calls, tickets, and email requests.

Customization is key. Every one of your members wants to handle their information and their money differently. Having a good volume of online self-service forms can help your members do their banking the way they want to in regards to account details, payment methods, and more. Handing these tools to your customers also empowers them and gives them a sense of ownership and control over their finances.

It also keeps them engaged – which means traffic to your credit union’s websites and apps will increase. Driving traffic to your website also increases the chance that your customers will go on to explore further. You now have their attention on your site and they will view and take advantage of your new products or purchase additional services from you, as well as contributing to your online community by following news, events, and social media pages.

IMS Integration Can Help

At IMS Integration, we make online self-service forms to help create tailored software solutions for your credit union. Contact us to learn more about how our member-facing web solutions can help you.


Credit Unions Offer Unique Post-COVID Solutions

 

Since credit unions are member-owned, not-for-profit institutions, many have created new pandemic-centric programs. Here are some of the post-COVID solutions CUs are offering to help their communities while generating business. We’ve also included a unique opportunity for credit unions looking to add to their offerings.

Short-Term, Low Rate Personal Loans

Credit unions have stepped up to help their members by offering 3-month and other short-term loans at or near zero percent interest. These short loans are often called pandemic relief loans.

Individuals and businesses are using them to bridge the gap caused by lost wages and reduced business. These “small dollar” loans are being compared to stimulus checks that each individual gets to control and define.

Financial Counseling

Unlike big banks, credit unions don’t take advantage of their customers’ financial ignorance. Though this isn’t a new offering, offering financial counseling is a major asset right now. No one was prepared for a pandemic or its effects, but punishing customers for their lack of knowledge creates brand distrust and hurts your bottom line and your customers’ livelihood. Credit unions have adjusted hours and protocols to offer one-on-one counseling to their members throughout this crisis.

Financial counseling is another example of how credit unions have been focused on helping their communities well before COVID-19.

Waiving Fees

Though it seems counterintuitive, many CUs were encouraged to waive fees. Eligible fees include ATM withdrawals, early withdrawals on timed deposits, credit card balances, loan balances, late payments, and more.

Increasing Credit Card Limits

CUs are increasing credit card limits to accommodate the lack of cash flow from shutdowns and decreased capacities. This solution does not include all memebrs. However, increasing credit for trusted borrowers creates business for the CU and eases the financial burden temporarily for members.

Deferring Payments

Similar to the pandemic relief loans, credit unions are also generously deferring monthly payments. Members are grateful for the choice to defer a payment for one month, giving them time to recover lost finances.

IMS Integration’s software includes Skip A Pay, which can help your credit union easily process these deferments.

Bonus: Small Business Service Opportunity

Nearly six in ten small businesses said they’re at least somewhat likely to look for a new banking relationship in the next year, according to this Forbes article. Many of these small businesses accept upwards of 10 different payment types. But why does this matter to your credit union?

Processing these payment types through a third-party service includes fees. These fees make it even harder for small businesses to turn a good profit. And as COVID measures continue to affect the economy, small businesses are looking for ways to cut costs. This is where the opportunity comes in: credit unions should consider providing accounting and payment services to SMEs (small- and medium-sized businesses).

Offering these services generates business for you and provides your local business owners with a valuable service.

Final Thoughts

Though it feels like things are shifting toward a new normal, many of your members are still struggling to adapt to the changes caused by COVID-19. By now, nearly all government-mandated relief efforts have ended.

This creates a huge opportunity for your credit union to re-evaluate programs and pick up that slack to help your communities bounce back even faster. These efforts also generate business, so it’s really a “help us help you” situation.

Upgrade Your Software Today

IMS Integration offers unique solutions of its own for credit unions. Contact us to learn more about how our member-facing web solutions can help you better serve your members.