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A Mission-Forward Path To Pandemic Recovery

In the age of digital, a “people-helping-people philosophy” is needed more than ever.

We continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic recovery with newfound optimism. The pandemic presented an opportunity to embrace innovation as we quickly developed ways to adapt to our new reality at work and at home. The crisis also helped us learn just how resilient we are as people, organizations, and an industry. As we move forward together, theres a renewed sense of the importance of purpose and mission.

The Great Resignation

A survey by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reveals more than 40% of U.S. workers are actively searching for a new job or plan to soon, which is twice the rate of 2019. In addition, desire to make a career change is ranked among the top five reasons workers are considering leaving their current jobs today. Many workers are becoming more aware of what they really want out of a job and in their lives due to the pandemic.

According to Anne Bahr Thompson, author of the SHRM survey, Purpose is why we exist. It is the impact we want to make in the world beyond profits and products.

Employees are more motivated when they find meaning in their work. Its an opportunity to assess what gaps might exist between your organizations stated and lived purpose. Its ideal timing to help employees understand theyre part of something much bigger than themselves.

KPMGs paper, Purpose Driven Work, tells us this view taps into the trend that employees are increasingly motivated to stay with a company if they believe the work they do contributes to a bigger purpose. Todays workforce is looking for more from their jobs; they want a way to make a mark on society.

Credit unions can leverage the drive for purpose-driven work. When employees joined your credit union, they joined a movement. Their work and individual contributions are significant and have the power to create a positive impact on your credit union, membership, and community.

The State Of Financial Health

The need for financial health is real. Millions of Americans are struggling to spend, save, borrow, or plan in ways that allow them to be resilient and seize opportunities over time.

Jennifer Tescher, president and CEO of the Financial Health Network, said The data is troubling, showing that millions of Americans are continuing to struggle financially with massive implications for their health and wellbeing.

In addition:

  • More than two-thirds of Americans are financially coping or vulnerable.
  • 44% of those financially coping report high or moderate levels of stress from their finances.
  • The financially coping struggle to find a balance between addressing daily needs and saving for the future citing financial management challenges and lack of clarity on how much is safe to spend.
  • 80% of accountholders expect their primary financial institution to help them improve their financial health, yet only 14% strongly agree that their financial institution delivered.

Consumers who believe their financial institution cares about their financial health are:

  • 3X more likely to be very satisfied with their primary financial institution.
  • 3X more likely to recommend their primary financial institution.
  • 5X more likely to be interested in purchasing additional products and services.

While improving financial health is a complex problem, when credit unions, financial health organizations, partners like Symitar, and others come together to leverage relationships and use fintech innovations to drive change the result is a positive financial outcome for millions of Americans.

The Purpose Narrative And Mission To Serve

Many digital challenger banks are focused on financial health-centric services such as no-fee accounts, early wage access, and automatic savings tools. These challenger banks also evangelize their purpose and mission on prime digital real estate not buried deep in their website or app. Here are a few examples:

  • Chime ~13.1M Users. Chime is a financial technology company founded on the premise that basic banking services should be helpful, easy, and free.
  • Stash ~6M Users. Stash is a personal finance app that simplifies investing, making it easy and affordable for everyday Americans to build wealth and achieve their financial goals.
  • Varo ~2.7M Users. Varo is all-digital, mission-driven, and designed for the way you live. They believe banks should be a force for good and help accountholders live better lives.

Your credit union can communicate its mission and purpose by assessing what you are communicating on your home page, digital banking login, and when members click Join, Open, or Apply.

Many new challenger banks and fintech apps are on a mission to serve the unique and unmet needs of ignored market segments. A few examples of niche market segments include kids and teens couples people of color immigrants small-business owners, musicians, and the LGBTQ+ community. These inspirational examples of thinking big, but acting niche demonstrate exciting possibilities for the industry.

The Path Forward

Credit unions demonstrate their cooperative principles best when they dont dilute their impact. An institution cant be all things to all people. Defining purpose and mission requires strategic intent and choice. Choose your members, narrow and align organizational focus, and win your market by serving it well and improving financial health.

The future of banking is fast becoming a battle of ecosystems and experience that extends far beyond financial products. While challenging in its complexity, the opportunities are endless. Banking is constantly evolving to serve the Modern Member℠, so we must continually adapt to satisfy those seeking experiences that are empathetic, authentic, relevant, seamless, appropriately simple, and personal.

Symitar believes in the power of partnership and openness to help your credit union level the playing field with larger banks, big tech, and neobanks. Ben Metz, head of Digital at Jack HenrySM, explained:

We want to ensure that community financial institutions are prepared for the future, so weve delivered a platform that attracts modern fintechs with services that financial institutions can use to build their own unique ecosystems and better serve their accountholders.

We value the opportunity to empower our clients to improve financial outcomes for individuals, businesses, communities, and the credit union movement. In the age of digital, the people-helping-people philosophy is needed now more than ever.

From leading core, digital, lending, security, and payments capabilities to a truly open approach of working with credit unions, Symitar is your human-centered, tech-forward partner. We offer a comprehensive, integrated platform to help you achieve your goals. Together we serve the Modern MemberSM and advance the value and importance of credit union membership.

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.
May 2, 2022

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