Time for Credit Unions’ Varsity Team to #StepUp

#LiveUp to Member Expectations

We’re heading into the home stretch for the March 10 Underground Collision for credit unions! What a time to be in credit unions! The financial services world is evolving into one in which collaborative guerilla warfare is the path to beating out the Goliaths of the banking and even retail world. With Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon changing the face of consumer experience in copious aspects of retail and placing users front and center, credit unions must redefine member service to compete – and win!

Here’s a taste of what you can expect from the Underground Collision #LiveUp panel leaders, Baxter Credit Union CEO Mike Valentine, SchoolsFirst FCU SVP for Organizational Performance & Strategic Planning Kevin Martin and renown credit union consultant Sarah Canepa Bang.

Check out more Underground blogs from Collision speakers here!

Mike Valentine: I don’t know about you, but I’m not satisfied talking about how credit unions can compete against the Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazons of the world. Let’s be of the mindset we can win against them. But how? By thinking beyond channel delivery and finding the balance between relationships and digital transformation. Staying focused on amplifying the human aspect of what we do, and leveraging technology.

Using data to improve the member experience is what will set us apart. I believe the opportunity lies in delivering products, services, and tools that are mobile-first and personal to help create financial security for the growing percentage of the population that’s unable to get there on their own.

Consider what we do on our phones every day. We interact with others by emailing colleagues, texting friends and family, and keeping up with a broad network through social media. In between those activities, we transact. We track our steps and calories, follow the stocks, transfer money, check our credit score or deposit a check. That’s a lot of power in one simple, hand-held device. We will win in financial services if we can find a way to be present and relevant everywhere our members are – socially and with fast, easy and accurate functionality.

Remember the days before automated loan decisions? Our employees got to know the applicant on a very personal level. Like a trusted friend, we listened to the member’s story, and then “sold it” to someone to get the loan approved. Our need to grow and scale necessitates using technology to make the decision for us but shouldn’t negate our desire to understand every member story. That’s where technology AND the right employees, a great culture and leadership that focuses on the value of relationships come in. I think the phrase, “people won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” sums this up well. Let’s show our staff, our members and our partners how much we care.

Our need to grow and scale necessitates using technology to make the decision for us but shouldn’t negate our desire to understand every member story. – Mike Valentine

Kevin Martin: Our objective of providing Members world-class service remains Credit Unions’ North Star, however the tactics and tools we deploy to achieve this objective must continuously adapt. Everything we do should start and end with the Member. Not just with the Member in mind, but actually with the Member. Their experiences, comments, pain points, preferences, and aspirations. We must understand their current journeys and design new effortless journeys (including digital journeys). We must find productive ways to include more voices in our design and decision-making processes. My colleague always says, “we are not our Members,” so we must do everything in our power to ensure our actions are guided by their needs, not our biases or assumptions. Our strategic advantage lies at the nexus of truly understanding our Members and the doing what is right for them and their families. 

Sarah Canepa Bang: As Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon (GAFA) and other tech companies continue to unlock new revenue sources by moving into financial services, one thing is clear – they can’t do it alone. They may have technology, gobs of money, loyal user bases and massive amounts of data, but thanks to government regulations, they need financial institutions—and the bigger, the better. Collaboration on this scale is hard, but GAFA and the big banks will eventually make it work.

Join thousands of credit union leaders who are willing to #SpeakUp and ready to #ActUp!

Very few, if any credit unions will be able to go it alone in competing against these guys. The
good news for credit unions is they don’t have to. Collaboration is the bread and butter of credit union competitiveness, and they have nearly 50 years of experience at it. From ATMs to branches to payments to loans, credit unions have already found the answer and it’s in their DNA. Working together.

To be sure, the weird science of mixing big banks and GAFA is producing a whole new beast. And it’s going to take more than your average cooperation to provide members the technology and access these Fintech Frankensteins will offer.

It’s game on for credit unions, and their proven ability to collaboratively innovate can produce big wins for members and the industry itself. Although it may take a little effort to build up cooperative muscles that have gone flabby with age, nothing brings a team together faster and better than a good opponent. For the credit union industry, half-time is over and it’s time for the Varsity to get back on the field.