By now it’s clear, data and data analytics is an extremely important growth area for credit unions. Behind it all, there is one main motive – monetizing data to its fullest extent. There is tremendous value to be unlocked from data, and with it, tremendous money to be made by monetizing it. However, the burning question in the credit union world is: Whose Data is it Anyway?
There are a lot of “solutions” out there to help credit unions leverage data to their fullest extent. Whether it be an analysis on the loan portfolio to increase net interest margin or a next best product analysis to increase the number of products per member. All are extremely beneficial to the credit union’s top line, bottom line, and members. Yet, how we get to these analytic outputs is extremely crucial.
There are several different options with pros and cons to each. Instead of going into detail of each path a credit union could take, the focus should be on what’s important – the data. It is easy to find a company that has a “solution” and wants “help” analyze your data but the fundamental question to ask is: “Do they want to help me (my credit union), or do they just want my data?”.
Making this distinction is an important first step in the data analytics journey. The credit union should be focused on monetizing their own data and not giving that data away to someone else to monetize it for themselves and their own benefit. The fact of the matter is everyone wants your data. What company wouldn’t? It’s some of the most valuable data out there – where your members shop, how much they spend, what types of vehicles they have, or what their credit scores are, etc.
Instead of giving away the value of its data, a credit union must figure out a means to monetize that data for itself. The data in the credit union industry should STAY in the credit union industry. Though establishing the means (mainly infrastructure and resources) to do this is no easy task. It’s out of the reach for most credit unions, but there are CUSOs that allow credit unions to do so.
The question of “Whose Data is it Anyway” has a simply answer: the data should be owned by credit unions and the credit union industry. Instead of giving valuable data away, credit unions need to come together in the form of a CUSO to help manage, store, analyze, and most importantly, monetize their data together. No third party, non-credit union, or non-CUSO should own the credit union data. Data is the asset of the future and the industry needs to band together to ensure this valuable asset stays within the industry and is not taken by some company with ulterior motives.
The simple answer to “Whose data is it anyway” is: It’s yours. Make sure partners understand that the data and analytics outputs belong to your credit union, your members, and the credit union industry in general; not someone else for their own benefit.