The Decision Maker

Big Data Backlash

Posted by Aaron Wang on Jul 7, 2013 10:03:48 AM

Credit unions considering Big Data initiatives may be put off by the furor over the Edward Snowden affair. Would members be disturbed if their credit union adopted “Big Data” practices?

Of course, credit unions have strong confidentiality agreements with members and NCUA regulations further safeguard member confidential information. A good practice in these times of uncertainty would be for credit unions to remind members of these measures to assure them sensitive personal data is safe.

As for internal use of member data, the following line from an East Coast federal credit union member privacy policy is typical, “Staff may access member account information only when necessary for business reasons.”


This is where Big Data comes into play. For credit unions, the practical definition of Big Data is “All Data”. This means the credit union has an ability to integrate and analyze all internal data about member accounts.

Achieving a “360 degree view” of a member is the primary goal of an All Data strategy. Yet, member accounts are often segregated in data silos. Breaking down the walls means connecting the disparate data sources under a single umbrella data source.

This is not a trivial task. Data silos may be created by the applications of incompatible vendors. Creating connections between these data sources takes considerable time and knowledge.

Unfortunately, most credit unions lack the Information Technology resources to implement an All Data strategy. Relying on knowledgeable outside vendors is usually the only alternative. As a result, credit unions should ask the following questions when evaluating potential vendor partners:

  1. How strong is your company’s focus in the credit union movement?
  2. To what degree do you understand the business issues faced by today’s credit unions?
  3. What is your experience in integrating data from various credit union applications?
  4. What is your experience helping credit unions use best practices in visualizing and analyzing data?
  5. What options for ongoing support and knowledge transfer do you provide?

Getting solid answers to these questions will help a credit union better evaluate the suitability of a vendor partner to help implement an All Data strategy.

For credit unions, a Big Data strategy means an All Data strategy. #bigdata #creditunions

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Topics: Data Analytics