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5 Steps For Embracing The Digital Shift

Here’s how to engage and retain the banking business of Millennials and Gen Zers with purpose and technology.

Credit unions are losing members to banks and fintechs are expanding their market share. Digital is not an option anymore, it’s a necessity, but a credit union’s personal touch is still highly valued by today’s consumer.

How can you go digital and stay personal? Read our five-step guide below for credit unions that want to embrace the digital shift while preserving the true essence of the member-owned cooperative.

1. Go digital and engage with younger generations

Millennials and Generation Z are not so different: they both share the need for a financial partner that can help them organize money while keeping pace with ever-changing economic scenario.

Some Gen Zers, among others, are focused on having the chance to get a personal loan, even if struggling to establish their professional careers. Some Millennials are keen on sharing ownership, not only bank accounts, as this element resulted in a truly differentiating point after the 2008 financial crisis.

And both like to interact with financial partners that not only care, but that offer high-level, yet affordable and easy, digital banking experiences.

The ability to deliver this kind of service level is key when competing with fintechs and banks.

2. Be member-centric by understanding your members deepest needs

What do members expect from digital banking? And from where do they prefer to interact with their credit union?

It seems that today, credit unions not only need to answer these questions, but they also need to evolve dynamically, transforming as they go on their transition to digital banking. Imagining the members’ entire set of financial needs, being accessed from their laptop at their kitchen table or from their mobile phone while sitting at the lake, is a mindset that these organizations should embrace to adapt to their members’ behaviors.

Creating digital experiences that are built around the evolution of members’ preferences and behaviors is now possible through the integration of innovative technologies: how people respond to things and phrases, how colors affect our responses, how terminology matters, and how the workflow creates action. All of these can be today a leverage through which to align digital experiences to true-life behaviors.

3. Be recognizable by easily branding your digital platform

Having more control over the brand and the image of the credit union is critical to gaining consistency in the overall member and staff experience.

Can you imagine having a digital banking app from a bank that doesn’t have a strong branding effort embedded in the overall experience of the application itself?

No, you cannot.

Nevertheless, banks often have resources that credit unions simply don’t.

A focus on marketing and communications activities is pertinent, but what if this could be as easy and affordable as printing the old-fashioned collateral?

Designing your own digital branch, easily and with drag-and-drop capabilities, empowers credit unions to make up for the lack of resources or of a marketing and communications department at all directly from within their digital banking platform.

4. Be a certified partner, by offering the highest level of security

Your member’s data is crucial and deserves the highest security levels. You also need to be in compliance with regulations as well as provide the transparency on security methods your members expect. They want as much control over their data usage and management as possible.

Combining different popular methods of security can be a good way to be a certified partner that builds security levels that meet market standards while guaranteeing members understand the value of this approach.

Choosing the right mix of security and convenience is a good way to be a trusted partner.

5. Become a fintech, but with a heart

Today the credit union movement needs to compete with aggressive players, such as the fintechs. These organizations have invested money and resources in designing front-end interfaces to be delivered quickly to younger generations. But what happens when going beyond the front end? Fragmented data and processes, not connected with your overall organizations’ systems, can generate a Frankenstein effect that creates inefficiencies, increases costs, and generates security issues.

The back end can be a valuable resource to leverage when it’s built by someone who knows the credit union business from within. This is how we envision our digital banking approach: a way to manage your financial supply chain all along the journey, with a deep understanding of the credit union’s main business processes and future challenges, and the mission to help you provide affordable and high-level financial services to each of your members.

Robin Kolvek is CEO of VisiFI. For more information, visit www.visifi.com.

This article is sponsored by a recognized solutions provider in the credit union industry. Callahan & Associates does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer, and the views and opinions offered here might not reflect those of Callahan. If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact the Callahan team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.
September 15, 2021

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