Build a digital credit union

Created by
Laura Hillhouse
July 2, 2019

Financial institutions face so many demands for change that it can be overwhelming. This often makes it tempting to sit and back and think that everything will eventually sort itself out. Unfortunately, in an increasingly digital world, this isn’t the best choice to make.

We see the banking market change almost daily. Tasks that were once limited to branch visits can now be done online and the entry of challenger banks such as Monzo and Revolut are changing the digital banking landscape. With the rise of these new banks comes new and evolving consumer expectations and one’s that every financial institution will be expected to fulfil.

To remain relevant in an ever-changing market, credit unions need to put more focus on becoming digital. It’s important to note that this is not only limited to credit unions. Banks and building societies are also doing the same in order to compete with the likes of Monzo and Revolut. Your members will soon expect and demand digitisation and if they don’t get it, they can very easily go elsewhere to receive this kind of service. So, how you go about digitising your credit union? Making the decision to do this can be daunting and the first few steps are the most important. We’ve put together some advice to help you get started on your digital journey.

Take the first step

A great first step is to firstly acknowledge that you need to make changes to achieve the goals of your credit union and what your main reasons for change are. Discuss your thoughts with your credit union staff, volunteers and of course, your board. Take their thoughts and ideas on board. Many staff or board members can be nervous and worried about making mistakes when adopting new technologies. It’s important to make it clear to them that not being an expert is normal and it’s all part of the adaptation process and digital journey. Making your team feel comfortable is important as you'll want everyone on board when it comes to embracing a new way of working.

Lead the way

As a leader in your credit union, adapting your own role and behaviour will make your team feel a lot more comfortable. It shows them that you’re all making this change together and it will also be obvious to members that you are making positive changes as a team. Taking the lead in your digital journey will make the process easier for other staff members and will help to keep the credit union running smoothly. Every transformation needs a leaders so don't be afraid for it to be you! 

Focus on an easy member experience

If members have the choice of going through a loan application that could take weeks or one that could take days from a bank, it makes it much easier for members to choose the latter. This is why you need to adapt to the wants of your member and give them what banks are currently offering them.Applications for mortgages and loans can all be done seamlessly through digital means. If your credit union doesn’t keep up with these processes, members will go somewhere else to access them. 

Don’t worry about having to build an entirely new IT system, the rise of FinTech partnerships can make all of this possible without the huge upheaval or cost. Having a member mobile app and internet banking portal will give members access to your credit union without always having to make a trip to the credit union. With more and more people going online, this is an important part of the member experience.

Keep it personal

We know that building that personal relationship for members is important for credit unions. This element of your service can still be there even if you are communicating with your members via a mobile app. Just take some time to rethink how your relationship with your members will look. You won’t lose the relationship with your members, it will just evolve into something a little bit different. Think about how you still add value to your member and how this can still be done through a digital experience. If you’re finding it difficult to visualise, speak to your technology partner. They’re there to help you keep the same, and even improve, the level of customer service that you give to your members.

Put your plans into action

It can be a little daunting embarking on a brand new digital journey but it will all be worth it. You will have many more opportunities to achieve the goals of your credit union. Look into what others in your industry are using and research FinTech's that can help you.

Remember it's normal to feel uneasy when taking these first steps but once you fully embrace it, it will make the jobs in your credit union so much easier in the long run. Use your technology to strengthen the relationship with your members and invest the time and training your staff need to give members the best experience possible. Technology doesn’t need to be difficult, it can give you the means transform your credit union.

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