A Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

BY DWAYNE SPRADLIN

If a lack of innovation isn’t already hurting your credit union, it won’t be long before it is. In fact, remaining technologically complacent is, arguably, the greatest risk CUs face. Here’s how to remodel your whole business approach to thrive in today’s culturally shifting financial institution environment.

As someone who understands the importance of credit unions to localities across the country, I’m concerned by the proverbial writing on the wall.

In the last several years, technological innovations and cultural shifts have changed consumer expectations in nearly every industry, including banking. Yet while everyone from retailers to airlines have changed the way they do business, credit unions have been slow to adapt, if they’ve tried to adapt at all. That failure to change – or to change quickly enough – is the biggest risk facing credit unions today.

If your institution isn’t innovating, it’s in trouble. A recent study found that while 75 percent of consumers still rely on a traditional financial institution for most of their banking needs, four in 10 say they’re increasingly less dependent on their bank and more excited about what alternative companies – the Venmos and the Kickstarters of the world – can provide.

Many credit unions have attempted to attract and retain customers by adding basic technology features. But mobile banking and robo-tellers aren’t enough to set you apart from the big banks that already offer those same services. In fact, just one-third of consumers say they perceive product differentiation among financial services providers today. A digital banking presence isn’t a game changer at this point; it’s merely table stakes.

What’s really needed is a wholesale remodeling of the way credit unions do business – a complete rethinking of the value proposition and customer relationship. What does that look like? These three steps are key:


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