Harness the Power of Credit Union Transparency

 

Credit unions are, in many ways, the antithesis of big bank operations. The goal of most credit unions is to integrate with the communities they operate in and help serve and educate their members in a bid to be more accessible than larger, corporate-feeling financial institutions.

At the heart of that differentiation is the transparency credit unions choose to have with their members. There’s no need to hide the “secret formula” from the world – a credit union’s job is to share the ins and outs of the financial industry with everyone who has a willingness to learn.

Here are some of our favorite ways you can harness the power of credit union transparency.

Why Credit Union Transparency Is So Important

Many professionals make the mistake of thinking that transparency within their business just means being overly honest – you share even the most mundane details about your operations with your members. But that’s not it.

When you think of credit union transparency, imagine showing your membership base all of your mission, vision, and values, as well as a demonstrable list of how your credit union is consistently working to meet those goals and embody those core tenants. So, how do you create that transparency and make it authentic and valuable for your members?

Share Your CU’s Unique Traits

Credit unions are far more transparent with their business practices than any big bank or other financial institution by virtue of the publication of your credit union’s general information. From business plans to quarterly performance and investment success or failure, credit unions are beholden to their members because the business is almost always owned by those members.

Since everyone is given a stake in the credit union and its success, you’ve already got a great framework for legitimate business transparency.

From there, you can share other unique aspects of your credit union. Do you serve a specific community or industry? Are there other programs that allow your credit union to stand out among the crowd? Lean into these aspects and use them to create a transparent communication line between you and your members.

Financial Education is Key

We are all intrigued when an expert in their field asks something like “Do you want to know my secret?”

Credit unions are the first ones to share their insider expertise with members, and that transparency is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

Cultivating a financial education program (or multiple programs) boost your business transparency while also showing member and non-members alike that you aren’t gatekeeping your financial planning knowledge, you are willing and able to share it.

Lending Trust is Waning

Because of predatory student loan practices and payday lending, many of today’s borrowers and potential borrowers are very skeptical about the loan process.

Because so many people have seen the negative effect a bad loan can have on someone’s livelihood for years or even decades, it’s more important than ever to focus your credit union transparency on sharing helpful information about the lending process.

There are many reputable credit unions sourcing and creating loan programs ethically and in a way that benefits both the credit union and the borrower. It’s your job to prove to your prospects and your members that you aren’t taking part in less-than-reputable lending practices.

Faster and Clearer Transactions

Big words and complicated programs aren’t what your members are looking for. They want helpful insights given to them in ways they can understand, and they want to be able to manage their finances quickly and easily.

Impressive technology isn’t about creating a complex and intricate solution – it’s about creating real change or momentum with as little effort and friction as possible. This is why your communication efforts with your members are so important.

You have hundreds or thousands of people using your services every day. Chances are, they can give you some great insight into what’s working and what’s not. Make sure those lines of communication are open and easy to access.

Boost Your Credit Union Transparency with Elegant, Member-Facing Solutions

The more you can show your members what you do, the easier it is for them to believe your statements about being transparent. IMS Integration has several member-facing solutions that can boost your credit union transparency, including Online Self Service Forms, Online Courtesy Pay, and Make a Statement.

Communication is a key component of transparency, and IMSI can help you share insights and offer vital resources to your members anytime, anywhere.


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!


Credit Unions & the Great Resignation

 

The Great Resignation has not been easy for credit unions. And much like the rest of the country, your credit union must be looking for some explanations and solutions to the problems caused by the Great Resignation.

Your credit union staff is quite often part of the “face” of your CU’s brand. And as the Great Resignation and its effects linger, it can reflect poorly on that brand if you are unable to keep your branches staffed well. As inflation and cost of living expenses rise, it is less likely that your credit union is a “bad employer” and more likely that you aren’t marketing your positions in an optimal way, among other things.

Let’s talk about what the Great Resignation is and how to create targeted solutions to keep credit union staff issues to a minimum.

The Great Resignation: What It Is and What It Taught Us

In 2021, nearly 50 million people left their jobs voluntarily. This number is 12 million higher than the previous year.

What caused this mass exodus? Here are some of the top reasons cited by those who quit:

  • Burnout (40%)
  • Organizational changes (34%)
  • Lack of flexibility (20%)
  • Instances of discrimination (20%)
  • Contributions and ideas not being valued (20%)
  • Insufficient benefits (19%)

The stress from the pandemic – including many companies calling their staff back from remote work to in-office, loss of employees due to COVID, increased responsibilities, etc. – are all contributors to the burnout that many people are feeling in their workplace.

And credit unions are not exempt from these things. Like many businesses, most CUs can’t support 100% of their workforce going full-time remote, and it’s up to individual institutions to decide how to handle cost of living hikes and inflation issues.

However, when you look at the list of reasons why people are leaving in droves, a lot of it comes down to employees not feeling supported by the businesses they work for and support.

And while this information may seem negative, it’s also worth noting that the financial services sector actually experienced the Great Resignation less significantly than other industries. However, the number of resignations is still outweighing the number of new hires, even now, though that trend seems to be slowing the further we get into 2022.

Hiring & Recruiting: Jumpstart Your CU’s Search

If you are looking to increase your credit union staff numbers, or you have vacant positions to fill, we’ve got some tips.

Right now, posting your open positions on your website and your favorite job boards isn’t enough to attract the candidates you’ll want. Your hiring approach has to be more active.

You can use those same job boards to seek out specific people or to search for individuals who may be gainfully employed but looking for other opportunities. For example, LinkedIn lets people note on their profile if they are open to other job opportunities, even if they aren’t actively looking to change jobs.

You also need to expand your search. Though each position may have preferred skills, it’s important to seek out and evaluate potential candidates who don’t fit all the criteria on your list.

When you think about the ideal person you’d like to fill a specific position, what sort of attributes are most important? Do they need to be personable? Should they have high problem-solving capabilities or be great at written communication? Many of these attributes are tantamount to, say, their experience working in the financial sector, but they are often overlooked until after the interview process has already begun.

Offering sign-on bonuses or other perks including higher wages that are consistent with or better than your area competitors is helpful, too. But these things are only so important to prospects, especially for businesses with staffing issues based on workload, company culture, or other more systemic problems.

Evaluate Your Expenses

Much of the effect of the Great Resignation for credit union staff was seen in the resignation of frontline workers including tellers and other employees who work directly with your members. And while this can be frustrating, it also offers a great opportunity for your credit union to see what improvements can be made to ease the burden on front-facing roles by implementing new processes or investing in new technology.

The Great Resignation is also a great opportunity for your branches to evaluate other expenses. There are likely ways to reduce costs without reducing your staff. For example, IMSI has a host of credit union solutions that take some of the more repetitive or preliminary member-facing tasks and creates online solutions that you can build directly into your CU’s website or app offerings.

Web Solutions for Busy CU Leaders

When you are having staffing issues, the last thing you want to do is make things harder for yourself or your current credit union staff. That’s why IMSI concentrates on bringing you customized, high-quality solutions for your online forms.

Our online self-service forms can collect information for you and even enable member-led self-service request fulfillment. IMSI can build dozens of forms that can ease the burden on your staff and place some of the power back into your member’s hands.

Are you interested in learning more about IMSI’s self-service forms? Reach out to us today and request a consultation.


Preparing Credit Union Employees for the Holiday Season

 

Like last year, 2021’s holiday season is going to present some unique challenges, many of which are – at least in part – caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Labor shortages and supply chain disruptions are going to make for some challenging interactions, and your credit union will not be immune. Here are some ideas for preparing your credit union employees for the holiday season.

Upgrade Your Tech Game

The 2020 holiday season was a record-breaker in terms of tech use. More people than ever turned to online solutions to shop for gifts, check in with family members, and so much more.

IMS Integration is dedicated to creating top-of-the-line tech-based solutions to help keep your credit union ahead of the curve. With items like web loan applications, online account opening, and Skip a Pay, your members can manage their funds at their convenience and adjust their financial plans to accommodate holiday spending and income changes. Our new Infuzion offering is an extremely powerful tool, developed to streamline complex functions without needing to develop scripts or build Java.

What does all this mean? Your employees will have more time to help with other member needs during the holiday season.

Acknowledge Changing Trends in Member Habits

According to PCSU, there are several trends to be aware of so you can meet or exceed holiday goals. These are great initiatives you will want to make sure your employees are aware of and working to educate your member base about.

The first is that October and November are great months for credit line increases, providing members with more flexibility and larger scope and volume of purchases, including lines of credit with the purpose of finishing

The second pertains to top-of-wallet behaviors. November and December are good months to run promotions and campaigns that bring certain cards and programs back as top priorities.

And the third trend is more geared toward the first of the year. In January and February, your employees should turn their attention and focus to offering balance transfers and convenience checks, helping members to find and take advantage of lower rates once the holidays have ended.

Plan Ahead

Many sources across industry disciplines are reporting that the “holiday season,” rather than being contained to November and December, is actually becoming a 3-4 month endeavor that starts just as August ends.

To help your employees have the tools and resources they need to succeed through these busy months, it’s important to plan ahead.

Auditing past years’ activities, brainstorming new and modified ways to handle the increased demand for products and services, and even hiring seasonal help can be beneficial as you prepare credit union employees for the holiday season.

Don’t Dismiss Team Morale Checks

The holidays, while often touted as the most wonderful time of the year, are often harder for many people, especially those who deal with customers face-to-face (or screen-to-screen). While it’s important to prepare your credit union employees for the holiday season by giving them the professional tools and insights they need, you also need to be aware of the state of team morale and mental health.

While it’s important to celebrate with your team, it’s also a good idea to check in with your teams. If someone isn’t feeling particularly cheery, allow them to take the space they need, even if it means they won’t be attending the company Christmas lunch or holiday dinner. You can even move the celebration to after the new year, so your staff can enjoy the festivities outside of the stress that comes with the frenzy of holiday activity many industries are affected by.

Give Your CU a Great Gift, Too

IMS Integration has a range of professional services that are customized to you. UI and Batch Scripting in Keystone, custom web development, and custom electronic forms are a great gift to give your credit union for the new year. Let our expertise make things easier for you and your employees in future holiday seasons. Request a consultation today for more information about our credit union solutions.


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.


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.


Credit Union Leadership & Innovation in 2021 and Beyond

 

Innovation is often seen through the lens of cutting-edge technology, but the cornerstone of anything innovative is the creativity to start or improve existing ideas and processes. And credit unions across the U.S. were able to grow their membership by 2.8% between year-end 2019 and September 2020. Far from the perception of antiquity that seems to stick to them, credit union leadership and innovation are paving the way to a bright future.

Fostering Creativity through Leadership

If innovation stems from creativity, you need creative leaders in your credit union. The role of a leader is said to account for 67% of the influence in determining if the organization will be creative.

But how does a leader foster creativity? In short, you foster an environment where creativity can thrive. Your leaders should be trained in creativity methods – prioritize the idea of showing your teams that creative ideas are more than just encouraged, they are tested and executed. Creating a space that allows for feedback and testing on new ideas shows your managers and employees that they have the power to affect change on every level. And once your staff feels like they can be vocal, they’ll continue to contribute to those conversations.

Spearhead a Competition

Sometimes, you can find creativity when you think outside the box. Many companies, large corporations with even larger social media followings, often run contests to drum up creative taglines or content ideas. You can do that within your own teams, too.

Rather than simply relying on your marketing team to shoulder all creative burdens, invite other departments and create a friendly competition out of creating a new logo, tagline, or advertising campaign. Idea-based competitions can take many forms and garner surprising results.

Don’t Give Up

This embracing of creative ideas requires a fair amount of buy-in, as well. When you take on these new ideas, you have to keep them in place. Most new programs need time to be implemented, and then understood and accepted. This is especially true if your new process also involves your members.

Investing in innovative ideas means investing in the time it takes to see if the change will net a positive outcome.

Creative Problem-Solving Process

Practice makes perfect, and CUManagement offers a 4-step creative problem-solving process:

  1. Clarify the problem
  2. Generate ideas. The more, the better.
  3. Develop solutions from the best of your ideas.
  4. Plan for action.

Once you’ve created a process that works for you and your teams, you can build on these 4 steps and tailor it to give you the best outcomes.

Embrace Failure

Some of your innovative ideas will fail. It’s inevitable. And how you and your team leaders handle that is paramount to fostering a culture of innovation.

When those failures come, it’s important to practice humility and forward-thinking. According to Meistertask, when team members consider their boss a humble leader, this creates “psychological capital,” which increases feelings of hope, optimism, and resilience.

Like any team effort, focusing on solutions and adjustments over blaming or apologizing allows for growth and continued momentum.

Professional Services for Innovative Credit Unions

IMS Integration knows credit unions from the ground up. We have a range of professional services that are customized to you and your credit union. From custom web development, to UI and batch scripting, to custom electronic forms, IMSI can help you implement innovative solutions that will better serve your members and create opportunities for your business.

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.


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.


Credit Union Leadership Tips for Improving Performance and Problem-Solving

 

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” –Phil Jackson

Credit unions, like many businesses, are coming off one of the toughest years in modern history. To get through this and start moving forward with some solid momentum this year, let’s talk about some credit union leadership tips to improve performance and solve problems.  

Separate the Problems

There are two different types of problems: ones you solve and ones you can disregard.

As a leader, your employees should come to you with potential issues, but it’s important to be able to distinguish which ones you need to devote time and resources to, and which ones are isolated incidents or one-off problems that aren’t likely to crop up again.

Just because something isn’t working doesn’t mean it is a problem that needs to be solved. A problem is only worth your time if it can be assessed in context with your goals and you determine it will inhibit you from reaching those goals.

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goals by Hyper-Focusing on Damage Control

There are tons of examples of the 80/20 rule in business, which states that 80% of all business success is going to be attributed to 20% of its processes.

But if your only focus is damage control or problem-solving, the 20% of the processes that are necessary for your credit union to grow isn’t being completed.

One way to change this trajectory is to practice your own 80/20 strategy – encourage your employees to spend 80% of their time doing their regular job duties, and allow for 20% of their time to be focused on brainstorming and implementing new ways to grow your business.

Losing sight of your goals is just as bad as not having any in the first place.

Embrace a Targeted Approach

There are always more problems. Even if you have a perfectly trained staff that never makes mistakes, you will still encounter issues.

And expanding your resources doesn’t always help. Kristen Cox, consultant and former Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget in the State of Utah, talks about the “seductive seven” – common ineffective tactics that organizations often use when responding to problems.

The Seductive Seven are:

  •  More Technology
  • More Data
  • More Strategy
  • More Training & Communication
  • More Reorganization
  • More Accountability & Assigning Blame
  • More Money

These things are seductive in that these things often pull focus and allow leaders to fixate on these shiny solutions rather than creating space for any actual problem-solving.

Kristen goes on to say that increasing performance means leaders must “start by stopping.” Your credit union’s resources are not infinite. So, rather than employing lots of quick fixes and buzzword action plans, you must devote your time to training your staff to recognize when to stop doing things that aren’t working.

It seems counterintuitive at first, but success comes not just from doing things that are helpful, but also from ceasing activities that don’t return good results, axing technology solutions that don’t work for you, and amending processes to weed out redundancies.

Implement Software Solutions That Work

As we said, it’s not about implementing more technology – it’s about implementing the right technology. And IMS Integration is here with your credit union-specific problem-solving software.

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.