Developments in technology have resulted in huge shifts in how business is conducted across the board, and Credit Unions are no exception. Like it or not, your Credit Union is in the race to meet the expectations of members in an increasingly digital financial services sector. Ensuring you can offer them the wide range of digital and online services many people now rely upon is integral to your strategic future. We’ve talked to people at the front line of Credit Unions, and put together ten top ways to do just that.
1. Develop a responsive Credit Union website
A recent study found that a visitor to your website makes a decision on whether or not they’ll stay in just 17-50 milliseconds, less than half of the time it takes to blink. What are potential (and existing) members seeing when they visit yours?
With mobile use on the rise and information being consumed in much more spontaneous ways via portable devices, members and potential members will be frustrated by clunky navigation and impossible downloads if you haven’t invested in responsive design. Not every member can come into the branch - and
not every member wants to - so why not publish frequently asked questions and guides via your website? An easily accessible responsive website is the ideal home for downloadable assets and helpful content, as well as news, events and success stories.
2. Have an on-site loan calculator & expression of interest form
After launching their fully responsive website with easy-to-use loan calculator and membership enquiry form, Mullingar Credit Union received over 200 enquiries in a two month period.
While finalising a loan may still require a chat with a loan officer, it’s entirely possible to gather as much information as possible through an enquiry form to make that process smoother for both members and potential
members. Long gone are the days where members used the loan calculator and pinged off a request for a call back - it’s now possible to collect data around income and existing debts before members have to come in-branch
3. Offer Credit Union services that bridge the gap between physical and digital
Everyone in the country has at least one debit or credit card in their wallet, and the vast majority have used it to order something online - Bank of Ireland reported a €1.34bn e-commerce expenditure by consumers in December 2017 alone. Having technology that has a physical presence while existing in the digital landscape allows you to offer members both cash and cashless services, while encouraging them to move all of their money management online.
Recent advances in Credit Union technology mean you can now allow members to access their accounts through kiosks and ATMS, showcasing digital capability while retaining your physical presence for members that aren’t quite ready to make the leap yet. It’s always worth reminding them while they’re using these services that things can get even more convenient with online banking.
4. Develop your member communication system
Keeping the lines of communication open with your members is highly important, and fosters a relationship that ensures they stay with (and make use of) your Credit Union.
Some simple changes can mean a lot when it comes to member experience - ensuring a 100% response rate to customer queries, as well as offering cross-channel communication (that they’ve opted into!) mean your members get regular, friendly reminders that your Credit Union is there for them.
5. Make your member-facing tech more user friendly
With the fintech revolution, banking is increasingly customer focused in both usability and language, and Credit Unions need to make sure they keep up. Simplifying your online products makes the transition to your Credit Union easier for those who are used to managing their finances online, as well as ensuring new users can easily get to where they need to be within their accounts.
6. Make use of business intelligence for your Credit Union
Your core system no doubt holds a huge amount of member data, so why not make it work for you? Having the right business intelligence tools in place means you can quickly and effectively convert your existing data into meaningful member analysis that helps you create marketing campaigns to grow your loan book and your membership.
Rather than waiting for members to come to you, why not reach out to let them know about the products you have that suit their profile? Creating relationships with members is at the heart of a strong customer service strategy; especially important in the financial services industry where ready exchange of information and intricate knowledge of members is mutually beneficial.
7. Become an active presence on social media
Social media can be a great tool to help your Credit Union reach new members and a means of engaging more regularly with current members. Having a social media presence used to be viewed as a nice additional extra - but now it’s an essential part of any strategic plan for growth.
Credit Unions need to remember that whilst growing a following on social media is time-consuming, not maintaining this presence can be damaging to your brand. Nothing says we don’t care quite like a neglected social media stream.
8. Introduce innovative member onboarding
In a recent report, PWC called out the onboarding of many financial institutions for being “anachronistic” - so why not differentiate yourself?
Credit Unions have always been known for their member focus, so having friendly, easy-to-use digital onboarding is a modern way to live up to your traditional ethos. It makes joining your Credit Union easier and more attractive than ever, and means younger demographics who live on their phones can still access your services without coming in-branch. A real win-win.
9. Offer paper-free ways to access your Credit Union
Your members are increasingly busy, as is your Credit Union, and being able to offer paper-free, remote ways to access services will benefit you both.
Introducing tech like e-signatures means a reduction in operating costs for your Credit Union, but more importantly, can create a huge shift in how you’re perceived by potential and existing members. Offering a way to apply for and sign off on a loan without setting foot in branch is a surefire way to up your successful application rates, and with Advanced e-Signatures, you also mitigate risk.
10. Make it cooler!
For many members, the Credit Union is somewhere they saved as children and at some point, they stopped being active members. Perhaps they moved away from their communities and began favouring the accessibility and perceived sophistication of banks, or perhaps they just decided they’d “grown out of” what the Credit Union represents.
While the Credit Union has a reputation for being enduring its perception among young people has to change - many new challenger banks are steeped in customer-focus and “honest” banking, so the chances to really capitalise on what your Credit Union stands for is there for the taking - as long as you have the tools and processes in place to back it up.
Technological sophistication has been linked with the advancement and success of financial service providers, and Credit Unions are no exception. If you can upgrade your services, digitise your offerings, and take a leap into the ever-changing world of fintech, you’ll see some amazing returns.