Data Takes Flight At Wings Financial

The Minnesota credit union is mining data and using analytics to broaden, and deepen, the member experience.

Top-Level Takeaways

  • An all-in approach to data by senior management empowers staff members at Wings Financial to leverage member intelligence opportunities.
  • In-house capabilities are being fostered along with advancing vendor tools, to learn from member feedback through multiple channels.


Wings Financial Credit Union
Data as of 12.31.18

HQ: Apple Valley, MN
MEMBERS: 262,265
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 19.7%
ROA: 1.45%

Member intelligence is driving an evolution in the member experience at Wings Financial Credit Union ($5.1B, Apple Valley, MN), which has gone all-in on using data to act and serve.

Member intelligence is a broad concept, says Mike Lindberg, who leads the credit union’s Strategic Analytics Member Insights team. He says Wings’ search for clarity in member intelligence and experience is focused on understanding:

  • In what ways does Wings currently provide value to members?
  • How do members want to see value from Wings?
  • How can Wings position itself to improve value to members?

The Twin Cities credit union is gleaning insight from personal interactions in person and digitally and actively building its internal analytics skills while working closely with vendors advancing their own offerings in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and visualization software.

Here, Lindberg shares what Wings is doing in the realm of member intelligence and experience and also discusses inquiries that can inform a similar exploration at any data-savvy credit union.

What are the opportunities for member intelligence in 2019?

Mike Lindberg, Strategic Analytics Member Insights Manager, Wings Financial Credit Union

Mike Lindberg: As data sciences expand, there is more complex information to provide more informed decision-making. Many of our vendors are exploring how these data services can be embedded in their applications and aligned with application workflows to increase the efficiency and impact of each interaction.

As a credit union focused on providing meaningful value to our members, we’re looking forward to leveraging the intelligence these vendors are, or will be, providing in their applications to inform and enhance what we’re choosing to build internally.

Speaking of that, the greatest opportunity in member intelligence continues to be fostering a culture that values honest feedback from members. As our members shift toward channels that reduce interaction with tellers and member service representatives, the need for meaningful connection and feedback increases. Without this interaction and study of our members, we would still be making assumptions based on pieces of a puzzle as opposed to a more holistic vantage point.

How are you gathering member feedback? How are you analyzing that feedback and putting it into action?

ML: We’re fortunate to have a variety of means through which members voice their feedback, such as social media, our website, in-person interaction, focus groups, and annual and quarterly member surveys.

Our Strategic Analytics Member Insights team is continuing to integrate these data sources, mine the useful insights about our membership, and make these insights available visually through our dashboards, currently using Tableau.

We aim to expand these efforts to support all channels while continuing to enhance the strong partnership between our marketing team and our analytics and insights team.

As with anything, what we’re able to learn from our members helps us serve them. We present feedback monthly and quarterly to the organization and quarterly to our board of directors. As projects and decisions are made, these feedback items are taken into consideration.

Check out the Credit Union Tableau Users Group. Connect with others from the credit union industry to work together on improving analytics that drive member value.

What are some projects you’re working on that enhance the member experience?

ML: Member experience is at the heart of all our projects. Our aim is to focus on providing simple, right-fit solutions for our members’ needs across the appropriate channels. We see the digital channel mobile and online to be a key part of our project portfolio for 2019.

We’re also working to strategically expand our brand footprint through branches, advertising, and technology that supports interaction between members and employees at Wings. We want each Wings employee to have more opportunities to serve our membership and come together to help the organization be successful in that goal.

How will you use that information to enhance the value Wings Financial returns to members?

ML: We have a team of leaders and employees at Wings that have completely bought in to our mission to provide value to our members. That shows in their passion for identifying and enhancing the value that our members see in their credit union.

We continue to create and leverage market-leading products, return value to our members through rates and rewards, and use information about our members to make interactions more insightful.

Wings has already been recognized as providing top member service and we know we can continue to show our members that their success is our goal in each interaction with them.

What tools are you using?

ML: From a data perspective, we use the SQL Server stack (Integration Services for ETL, Reporting Services, Analysis Services for cubes) and Tableau for data visualization. We currently have elements of CRM embedded in our MISER core processing platform and augment it with data solutions. We also leverage SDKs (software development kits) from several vendors for our internal application development team to build custom solutions to speak to our members’ needs digitally.

How do you plan to develop that capacity in 2019, with your vendors and internally?

ML: There is huge opportunity moving forward both internally and with stronger vendor partnerships. Our vendors are constantly enhancing their products, services, and integrations. We’ve chosen great partners and are looking to leverage these partnerships to return value to members.

For 2019, a continued push toward understanding the utility and the opportunity for each of our vendor partnerships will be key to our success. Internally, we have great knowledge and experience. Our focus will be leveraging that experience, along with the intelligence we’re building around member insights, to continue enhancing the value we deliver and the trusted advisor relationship that we already enjoy with our members.

5 Areas Of Opportunity

Mike Lindberg, who manages the Strategic Analytics Member Insights team at Wings Financial, sees a lot of opportunity in member intelligence. With the direction of several key leaders in his organization, Lindberg is helping Wing enhance its member experience strategy and the ways in which members perceive and receive value from the credit union.

Here are a handful of questions in five areas of opportunity that Wings is addressing in 2019.

  • Feedback Consumption: How can we consume member feedback in more meaningful ways? How can we turn day-to-day member interactions into feedback that helps us design better service? How can we more effectively align products and services to our members?
  • Account Usage: What products and services are our members adopting? Do demographics, employment industry, or other elements help determine how products and services fit our members? What measurable differences are there between active users of a product or service compared to nonactive?
  • Credit Union Interactions: In what ways do groups of members interact with service channels? How does this interaction change over time? Does it depend on the products or services they have? Are there channels with stronger adoption than others? Where do we focus service channel to better serve specific groups or geographies? How can we better understand what interactions our members find valuable?
  • Behavioral Analysis: How can we identify members that transact in similar ways so we can better serve them? For example, can we build products, services, or experiences for savers that differ from other behavior groups?
  • Demographics And Additional Data Points: How do we use information to get a better picture of our members? How can we align this information to deliver products, services, and support in a meaningful way to each member? In what ways can we leverage this information to continue to understand where our membership finds value?

This interview has been edited and condensed.


April 8, 2019

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