7 Trends Credit Unions Must Jump On or Lose Essential Opportunities

7 Trends Credit Unions Must Jump On or Lose Essential Opportunities

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Returning to 2008, cooperative credit union had actually outscored banks by a significant margin, until 2018 when the two markets tied. The ACSI study showed lower scores for monetary services in general that year, however the decrease by cooperative credit union is the most dramatic. Further, the distinction between credit union scores and those of small community banks– which by definition are the banks that look more like credit unions– is bigger. Smaller sized regional and neighborhood banks scored the highest in the banking category at 81, four points ahead of cooperative credit union.
The kicker for cooperative credit union is that the greatest drop in score by standard was the “courtesy and helpfulness of tellers and other personnel.” The issue: When you speak with credit union executives, this is most pointed out as their leading competitive benefit.
Takeaway: Credit unions require to get clear on how they will transition a service culture from the branch/call center to digital.
2. Membership Growth is Flagging.
In 2020 credit union subscriptions increased 3.2%, which is the slowest rate considering that 2014, according to a CUNA Mutual patterns report. Membership growth rate for credit unions have actually fallen for 2 years in a row, following a banner year in 2018.
Ron Shevlin at Cornerstone Advisors keeps in mind in a blog site that credit unions and megabanks were the losers in 2020 in share of main bank consumers. In 2020, credit unions went from having been thought about a primary bank for 15% of those surveyed to 14%.
Takeaway: CUs have to get major about digital-first acquisition methods.
3. Digital Transformation Has Become a Necessity.
” Trend adoption– or innovation adoption– in the real life is a bit quicker than with credit unions. If it were a city, Credit Unionville would be downright charming and wholesome by contrast.”
— Kirk Drake, Ongoing Operations blog site
To make his point, Drake consists of a graphic revealing credit unions lagging in innovation areas such as AI, cloud, fintech, digital improvement and marketing automation as compared to other players in the financial services industry.
According to a PSCU and PYMNTS.Com research study [ PDF], “Credit unions took a more proactive technique to innovation in 2020 than they did in 2019, by their own evaluation. 12% of CUs say they introduced new products and services before their rivals in 2020, and 46% say they fasted to innovate brand-new services after observing market patterns. This is far more than the 8% of CUs that reported innovating before their rivals and the 30% that reported innovating quickly after having actually observed market patterns in 2019.”
The same report notes: “CUs appear to have an extremely different concept than do their members about what makes up innovative services and products. Numerous cooperative credit union members do rule out the innovations their CUs developed in 2020 to be innovative at all.” [Focus included]
Takeaway: The real judge for innovation is not internal. It is everything about the perception of the next generation of membership– theyre your future.
4 Good News Trends that Credit Unions Can Build On
While competitors is grows more complex, credit unions have essential advantages that, coupled with financial investments in digital improvement, will lead to favorable modifications for.
1. Member-Centricity Remains a Strong Hook.
The key to digital improvement throughout all markets isnt technology. Its about member-centricity, as I have mentioned in an earlier short article. Putting the member at the very center of your method works.
” The fact that credit unions are member-owned supplies them a natural mandate and reasoning to establish the member as the true north-star.”
— Pari Bose, PenFed Credit Union
This point is also well made by Lisa Kuhn Phillips, VP at Allied Payment Network and previous COO at 3Rivers Federal Credit Union. Speaking about the chance for cooperative credit union to win the customer experience, she states, “Their mission and purpose matters as they prioritize membership first.”
There is a plain distinction in between the member-centricity of credit unions versus the consumer complete satisfaction principles of many banks. Naturally, there are exceptions in both camps. There are banks that have a laser-focus on clients and cooperative credit union that lead with cost-reduction and revenue-optimization over member-centricity.
The foundation to every leading credit union is an obsession about serving members. Novak adds that “credit unions that are mission-driven, open to taking calculated risks, and prioritize growth can unleash the power of digital improvement.”
Throughout a current working session with a credit union executive team, I was struck by an observation made by the CEO. I brought up a quote from Francisco González, the Executive Chairman of BBVA, the Spanish banking giant, where he stated “We are not a bank. We are a tech company.”
I was discussing how some organizations are focusing on information as a differentiation point. The CEO stopped and stated, “Its not about the data, its about the insights from the information.”
Clearly, that is a powerful distinction. What struck me is that I have utilized that quote sometimes in front of bank executives but not one has made that point.
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Existing industry trends might appear unfavorable however in fact the opportunities for the cooperative credit union motion couldnt be much better. Lets analyze what these trends are and why there is cause to be so favorable about the future of cooperative credit union.
There are 7 patterns credit union executives need to act and take a look at on. Ill share 3 patterns, and essential takeaways, in the “problem” category initially and then four more, in the “great news” category.
3 Bad New Trends that Must be Overcome for Credit Union Success
All of us understand that 2020 was a difficult year for all markets. Digital adoption by customers was accelerated by shutdowns worldwide. Banks and credit unions had to depend on remote channels from drive-up only branches to video banking to ATMs. More than anything, they relied on digital banking. But this added pressure on ailing credit union digital infrastructure has actually spotlighted some of their competitive weak points.
1. Member Satisfaction Must Be Reinvigorated.
Every credit union executive we understand says that cooperative credit union contend with much better client service than banks. Yet, according to the annual survey by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), credit unions “fell 2.5% to a rating of 77 on a 100-point scale”– tracking banks by a point.
This is the 2nd year in a row that credit unions ranked behind rely on this survey.

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2. Member Experience Can Blossom When Member Obsession is High.
Credit union member fascination comes through in lots of methods. Generally, the member fascination was concentrated on the branch experience. Theres a growing number of forward-thinking executives within the credit union industry who are soaked in design thinking and its application to all member experiences. Increasingly these thought leaders conversations have actually moved from digitizing physical processes to enhancing member journeys, increasing member engagement, and orchestrating omni-channel strategies.
” When we release digital banking experiences that are crafted from the consumers viewpoints, there is evidence that we will improve complete satisfaction, boost sales, broaden the depth of relationships, boost retention, and positively effect our companies,” states PenFeds Bose.
” Empathy” has been a term frequently utilized by Human Resources, but it is now bandied about by the credit union executive suite, along with “Net Promoter Score” and more traditional procedures of member loyalty. In the meantime, humanizing digital experiences helped with by information and artificial intelligence has become the rallying point. My firm believes that serving credit union members can best be done through deeply comprehending member habits and offering appealing experiences.
Supporting this point, Bose says that “a digitally-mature credit unions path to winning is knowing their member much better and supplying contextual and appropriate assistance, education, and next steps through digital. Cooperative credit union have demonstrated a long tradition of knowing their members in the branches (personal service)– the challenge is how to extend that understanding, recommendations and personal service in the digital arena.”.
Cooperative credit union approach towards member-centricity is likewise shown in their product advancement and promo.
Novak states that “as wholly-owned cooperatives and stewards of member assets, cooperative credit union have delivered sustainable and special worth to consumers.” To illustrate his point, Visions Novak points to how his cooperative credit union provides totally free identity theft restoration and credit monitoring to members rather of charging a month-to-month fee for the service. The idea, he states, is to safeguard their members possessions. Banks will tend to offer such services as a way to maintain consumers or decrease expenses.
Takeaway: Member-centricity is the special sauce for credit unions. Lean into it through digital abilities.
3. Strategic Planning Gains When the Horizon Lengthens.
Strategy and preparation horizon is another element that sets credit unions apart compared to a lot of banks. Kuhn Phillips keeps in mind that cooperative credit union have a longer-term monetary perspective, while banks tend to concentrate on much shorter term monetary profits.” This permits cooperative credit union to build out long-term digital change roadmaps versus the annual preparation horizon that experience shows lots of banks have.
Cooperative credit union acquisitions of banks have actually included a brand-new depth to their method. While this might have seemed sacrilegious as soon as, “we are now seeing this occurrence with some consistency,” says Novak. He adds that credit unions “are well-positioned with strong balance sheets.”.
Takeaway: Exploit tactical distinctions that enable your organization to have a longer planning horizon.
4. Partnerships and Open Banking Hold Promise for Credit Unions.
When I began dealing with cooperative credit union among the discoveries was the sense of neighborhood between them. It is not something I saw much on the banking side.
I was surprised when a digital banking executive at a credit union told me that he had just gotten the code for a system that had actually been developed by another credit union in a various part of the country. They were planning to utilize the extremely exact same code for a new system. I passed on that story to a credit union good friend, and he was shocked that I was shocked.
” The distinction is between who they serve– shareholders (members) or stockholders. The expectations are different between those who invest in a credit union collective and those who buy a bank.”.
— Lisa Kuhn Phillips, Allied Payment Network.
She adds that “credit unions are a community.” This makes them extremely familiar with genuine partnerships, including cooperative credit union service companies (CUSOs), that equate well to fintech collectives and partnerships.
When I have discussed open banking with bank executives, the reaction is shaking heads. They conclude that such a design will never ever be seen in the U.S. By contrast, cooperative credit union audiences easily accept the role of markets, banking-as-a-service, and other models that are likely the future of banking.
Novak notes that modular banking and tapping into a partner environment are 2 approaches of development that cooperative credit union have actually used for years. He sees cooperative credit union “uniquely positioned to commit the appropriate research efforts to contract with key partners on their ascension up the food cycle. Up and coming partner suppliers are more readily suited to dealing with credit unions to quickly present alpha and beta opportunities, that in turn, might enhance the member experience and conversion through the sales funnel.”.
Takeaway: Partnerships are crucial to extending the organizations capabilities, even in areas that are believed to be beyond reach.


Further, the difference between credit union ratings and those of small community banks– which by definition are the banks that look more like credit unions– is bigger. Smaller sized regional and neighborhood banks scored the greatest in the banking classification at 81, 4 points ahead of credit unions.
There are banks that have a laser-focus on customers and credit unions that lead with cost-reduction and revenue-optimization over member-centricity.
To show his point, Visions Novak points to how his credit union offers totally free identity theft remediation and credit tracking to members instead of charging a month-to-month fee for the service. I was stunned when a digital banking executive at a credit union informed me that he had just gotten the code for a system that had been developed by another credit union in a various part of the nation.

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Choose Where Youre Steering Before You Start.
Andre Iervolino, CEO & & Founder at Volino Consulting Group, book author, and previous Chief Technology Officer at REV FCU alerts that lots of cooperative credit union dont yet know how to specify the needed digital transformation they must go through.
Iervolino says “credit unions must create digital change tactical strategies that contain an extremely clear vision and objective declarations, a strong main tactical focus, and company integrated programs in order to operationalize the most important initiatives.” He includes that “within the next five-to-eight years relevant and successful banks will have four locations of focus only: Executive Management (C-Level suite), Marketing and Sales, DevOps, and Strategic Partners.”.
While we agree with Iervolino, our experience during the last couple of years working with forward-thinking CUs has actually reinforced our belief that there is an increasing tide of cooperative credit union executives that do see the need for digital transformation and are pursuing it completely. Eventually, our company believe a member-focus will triumph. Just those organizations that comprehend it, whether they are cus or banks, will persevere.
This content was originally published here.


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