By Mark Vipond
Many of the online and mobile technology decisions made by credit unions have been reactions to rapid member adoption of digital devices and increasing industry competitive pressures. Now, credit unions find themselves in contracts with a handful of vendors who don’t always work well together. In addition, the pricing models and disparate digital channels in place are increasing costs and often create poor member experiences.
Publications and online forums are filled with debates over the future of the branch. Some advocate for remodeling strategies that lower costs by providing the minimum needed to support those members who continue to frequent the branch. Others argue that turning the branch into something more akin to shopping at an Apple store will drive more revenues through personalized member experiences. With branch traffic flat or declining, it is remarkable how much thought and planning is given to a channel whose future is questionable. This effort to sort out how to build the branch of the future too often eclipses the amount of time being spent by institutions on developing a digital strategy for delivering e-channel services.
Today more than 60 percent of those with access to the Internet access and manage their accounts online and a third of these use mobile devices to conduct banking transactions. Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, members have demonstrated a growing appetite for digital devices that deliver convenience and access to the services they depend on to organize their lives.
As expected, credit unions have worked hard to provide the digital tools and services their members demand and have developed an impressive range of e-channel offerings. But all too often these services have been rolled out—one on top of the other—with the absence of a long-term strategy. The result is an unsustainable digital services model. With disparate service channels resulting in a poorly optimized member experience, increasing per user costs and rising complexity within their operational environments, credit unions in this situation are sacrificing their competitive advantage while spending too much money.
Now is the time to consider remodeling your e-channels to incorporate a more strategic, seamless and cost-effective approach to providing members with the digital experience they expect.
Exploring the ROI
For some credit unions, gaining better access to member data and providing those same members with a more seamless experience might be reason enough to replace their legacy e-banking platforms. However, most organizations need to cost justify before beginning such an undertaking.