The digital channel has become the primary focus of financial services companies seeking to differentiate themselves from their competitors. This is happening because more consumers are going online to do every kind of business — from securing a personal loan to refinancing their cars.
The same thing is happening in the credit union space today. As a CUSO, we spend a great deal of our time in conversation with credit union executives, staff, and their members. The uncomfortable truth is that — despite the fact that credit unions might be ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new technologies — many are still struggling to deliver the online experience their members are demanding. It’s not just that credit unions need better technology, they need to be able to use it in new ways.
Three Reasons Credit Unions Are Investing In New Technologies
In our conversations across the industry, we heard about three primary pain points that credit union leaders are still dealing with. Eliminating these blockers is key to providing a better digital experience to members and keeping credit unions relevant in a highly competitive marketplace — one where competitors are just a click away.
The first pain point is their current technology doesn’t offer an end-to-end experience for the member. Members want to learn about a new product, complete their application and have the product processed and fulfilled in the same end-to-end platform, as part of a single online experience. That’s not easy to do with the tools credit unions are relying on today.
The second pain point is that originating new products takes too long with many existing technologies. Whether it’s setting up a new member account or originating a personal loan, auto loan, or home equity line of credit (HELOC), speed is key to a good member experience. This is especially true for younger credit union members. When millennials consider a new consumer loan, for instance, they aren’t thinking in terms of week or days but rather hours and minutes.
The third pain point is that many technologies do not make it easy for credit unions to personalize their offerings. If the platform isn’t flexible enough to customize workflows, personalizing products to the institution’s strategic plan will be impossible, to say nothing of customizing member experiences.
The Benefits Credit Unions Want Now
Solving the problems mentioned above will help credit unions in many ways, but doing so will require a platform that offers:
An end-to-end experience through origination to fulfillment.
Automated decisioning with built-in fraud detection and mitigation.
Seamless access to data and verification providers.
Flexibility to create a personalized experience for members.
A marketing front-end that keeps the member conversation going.
The benefits such a platform offers the credit union go far beyond the excellent member experience they need. It also offers faster originations and seamless data integrations for a 360-degree view of the member that is available to anyone in the institution. Best of all, it provides the credit union the ability to truly treat members like valued individuals rather than transactions, even when they are fulfilling a new product or service request.
The Solution Credit Unions Are Seeking Now
In conversations we’ve had over the past two years with hundreds of credit union executives and their members, we found out what it would take to end this frustration and truly deliver what the member wants. Overwhelmingly, they are seeking a similar solution.
Credit unions want a member-facing origination portal that offers members a unified origination experience, regardless of whether they are becoming a new member, originating a new loan, or applying for a credit card. They want to allow members to apply for a consumer loan, membership, and/or deposit account and complete their post-application steps online, from any device.
This digital front-end should connect to the credit union’s other applications, including its home banking system and its loan origination system. And regardless of what the member needs, the system should allow them to provide real-time decisioning, document upload, eSign, and funding, all through a single platform.
But if all the credit union does is complete the transaction, then they are still just treating the member like a transaction. Credit unions need to keep the conversation going with technology that allows them to stay in touch with members through the entire process using digital, mobile, and email communications. This conversation should be relevant and provide applicable products or services that improve the member’s financial situation.
The goal of the right product, at the right time, with right message, can be realized with curated campaigns. These lender to member outreach campaigns are driven based on a member’s product set as well as the lender’s strategic goals. To the member though, this is a timely relevant offer that shows the credit union understands and is helping them.
A Distinction That Matters
One important distinction between the way most credit unions are using today’s tools and a real solution for a better member experience solution lies in the way these technologies are integrated together.
Although some technology developers talk about vertical integration, where systems involved in the origination of a single product or service can share data effectively, very few talk about horizontal integration. This ability to share member information across multiple departments within the credit union is one of the ways these institutions set themselves apart from all other FIs.
Sharing important member information with other departments goes way beyond cross-sell opportunities, although those are certainly enhanced. The real benefit is that everyone in the credit union has a complete view of the member and will know exactly who they are engaging with at every touchpoint.
Brit Barker is SVP, Sales for Enterprise Solutions for Origence.
It’s not just about new tools; it’s also about the credit union’s ability to integrate these tools both vertically and horizontally to get a better view of the members they serve. This is how credit unions will not only remain relevant but also dominate their markets.
We recently unveiled our arc DX member-facing origination portal, designed specifically to help credit unions meet the demands of today’s digital-first members. Origence arc DX enables members to apply for a consumer loan, membership, and/or deposit account and complete their post-application steps online from any device.
Tightly integrated with our arc OS (previously Lending 360) consumer loan and account origination system, arc DX and arc OS provide credit unions a true end-to-end platform that covers the entire member journey.