Member-focused initiatives must be blended with high tech solutions in the credit union industry
In his #1 New York Times Bestseller book, Megatrends, John Naisbitt predicted that with the rise of “high tech” solutions, people would increasingly feel a need for “high touch” connections to balance technology overload. The need for personal touch in financial services has been continuously met by the credit union industry. Many banking customers have become disillusioned after being treated as just another number in a bank’s system. The mission of credit unions is to deepen relationships with their members to provide them with exceptional products and services. However, they realize that technology on its own will not bring about superior service for their members. By keeping the High Tech/High Touch balance in utilizing Big Data/Analytics (BD/A) solutions, credit unions will bring efficiency to their processes and excellent service for their members.
Here are four ways that BD/A solutions are providing a blend between technology and personal touch that will drive the credit union industry into the future:
1.) Personal Finance Management (PFM)
Providing members with the tools to manage all of their personal finances is one of the most powerful capabilities of BD/A. Integrating members’ financial data into one location allows them to take control of their finances and reach their financial goals. Major PFM developers, such as Mint, have already been building applications for every area of their users’ financial lives. Member data populated via a PFM portal will enable credit unions to provide better service to help members reach their goals. This will enable the credit union to view a member’s entire financial picture and tailor products/services accordingly. The “high tech” of data integration meets the “high touch” of a user-friendly PFM interface.
2.) Loan Applications
Credit unions store a tremendous amount of member data that can be used to pre-populate loan applications and allow for quicker, more intelligent funding decisions. Through integrating member data from various sources, credit unions will be able to customize loan applications according to the relationship that has been established with the member. By utilizing vast sources of data, applying for loans will be as easy as clicking a button. Also, decisions on loans (within certain parameters), will be immediate and provide the member with a clear picture of what the credit union is able to provide them.
3.) Branch Design
As members continue moving toward digital channels, credit unions will need to redesign their branches to match the revolutionary change sweeping the financial services industry. With the old banking paradigm swiftly changing into a retail model, the design of branches must follow suit. The design of a bank and the design of a retail store each adhere to vastly different approaches. Banking has the stale idea of processes that take place behind the scenes (fortress style) as a customer sits and waits for the “people upstairs” to make a final decision on their fate. The retail model puts the consumer in charge as they are able to shop for the best deal. Technology has empowered the consumer, and credit unions must seize the opportunity to architect an environment for members that truly displays the philosophy of “people helping people”. Being transparent and empowering members to browse for various financial products is the new direction of credit union branches. The “High Tech” of BD/A will give credit unions the ability to build branches for the future that have a “High Touch” atmosphere.
4.) Membership Lifecycle
BD/A solutions allow credit unions to respond to changes in a member’s financial lifecycle. As members journey through life, their financial picture constantly changes. Credit unions can assist in these transitions by utilizing data produced by each shift in a member’s financial picture. Frequently, members are not aware of the opportunities they have right in front of them. By utilizing the “High Tech” of BD/A, credit union employees have the ability to reach out (“High Touch”) to members with good news that will assist them in accomplishing their financial goals.
Future of the Credit Union Industry
As credit unions continue to deepen relationships with their members through BD/A solutions, they will be able to develop a greater sense of community. By giving members a tool to manage their personal finances, developing more efficient loan applications for borrowers, redesigning branches and managing member’s financial lifecycles, BD/A solutions allow credit unions to combine new technology (“High Tech”) with the ingrained cooperative philosophy (“High Touch”) to form a harmonious vision that will continue to propel the credit union industry into the future.