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Credit Unions Set 2023 Testing Agenda for The Lab at Filene

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The Lab at Filene takes the next step in innovation by testing new products and ideas to help credit unions grow and make a positive impact on their members and communities.

At the first ever Lab Symposium held last month at Visa’s San Francisco innovation center, two dozen credit union sponsors and stakeholders convened to set Filene’s 2023 testing agenda, share perspectives on emerging innovation opportunities and establish connections among the group of innovation-minded organizations.

Sponsors of The Lab voted on which ideas they wanted to pursue further testing on from a menu of options identified through Filene’s ecosystem of academic talent, communities and strategic partners. Five ideas rose to the top as having high potential to fuel growth and maximize member and community impact while addressing key yet-unanswered questions:

  • Financial Wellness as Engagement Strategy
    • How can credit unions expand member relationships by providing tailormade plans to improve their financial well-being?
  • Re-thinking Physical Space
    • With digital transformation of financial services, how can credit unions leverage physical space to create value for members and communities?
  • Subscription-based Pricing Model
    • Could a subscription model for banking products and value-added services increase engagement with existing and prospective credit union members?
  • Virtual Credit/Debit Cards
    • Can virtual credit/debit cards help reduce fraud and create a “sticky” member service?
  • Digital Engagement for Indirect Lending
    • How can credit unions best relay what they can offer to indirect members and successfully expand their relationships?

Each test identified through The Lab’s first round of testing opportunities provided a solution within one of four categories: new and expanding relationships, new ways to open credit access, remixing the value proposition, or competing for share of wallet. Filene is thrilled to reach this milestone and excited to work with some of the most innovative credit unions in the country to run these tests.

Next steps for The Lab at Filene entail creating detailed plans for each of the five test concepts and assessing which Lab Sponsor organization will test which concepts. From there, The Lab will conduct tests and produce actionable insights for credit unions to adopt proven solutions and expand their capacity for innovation.

The Lab at Filene’s founding sponsors include:

  • Bank Fund Staff Federal Credit Union
  • Chartway Credit Union
  • Community Financial Credit Union
  • Elements Financial
  • ELGA Credit Union
  • Farmers Insurance Federal Credit Union
  • Financial Plus Credit Union
  • Logix Federal Credit Union
  • Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
  • Origence
  • Royal Credit Union
  • Unitus Community Credit Union
  • University Credit Union
  • Visions Federal Credit Union
  • Verity Credit Union
  • Visa
  • Westerra Credit Union

Here is what the founding sponsors have said about their experience with The Lab at Filene so far:

  • Tonita Webb, CEO of Verity Credit Union: “Filene is an incredible partner in helping us gain knowledge, insight and innovative direction through the research and testing they do on behalf of credit unions. This type of work sets credit unions up for success, pairing resources (that none of us have time to build out individually) with actionable results that enable us to better serve our members. We’re excited to utilize The Lab on ‘rethinking physical space’ to look at our own branches and implement updates that address the needs and concerns of every member in our community.”
  • Terry Katzur, CEO/President of ELGA Credit Union: “Being a founding sponsor of The Lab at Filene provides ELGA Credit Union an opportunity to work with other forward-thinking credit unions. Together we can support and shape future solutions that have the potential to improve the financial well-being of our membership. We are honored to be part of such an innovative group of credit unions and partners and look forward to working with them.”

    April Clobes, President/CEO of Michigan State University Federal Credit Union*
  • Chad Williams, Director of Enterprise Project Management, Visions Federal Credit Union: “Visions Federal Credit Union is excited to be a sponsor of The Lab at Filene because we are passionate about the betterment of all credit unions. Having a central hub for ideas to be tested and vetted will help all credit unions support members. In the end, that is what we are all here for, the members we support and serve.”
  • Colin Boone, Vice President-Digital Experience at Royal Credit Union: “Royal Credit Union appreciates the opportunity to work in partnership with Filene and other leaders in the credit union movement to advance The Lab’s 2023 agenda and positively impact the financial well-being of our Members. I am inspired by the opportunity to collaborate with this amazing group of credit unions and stakeholders. The initial meetings of The Lab group left me feeling energized and excited about the tremendous results that will be produced for our Members.”

Credit union and system partners can still get involved in The Lab at Filene by becoming a sponsor. Visit filene.org/innercircle to learn more, or email Josh Sledge at joshs@filene.org.

About Author:
As Senior Director, Josh leads Filene’s Incubator program, which tests innovative solutions with the potential to help credit unions grow and increase member financial well-being. With over a decade of experience in cross-sector innovation, he collaborates with credit unions and other industry stakeholders on live pilot tests to identify and scale products, strategies, and technology that make a difference for credit unions and their communities.

About Filene:
Filene Research Institute strengthens organizations through innovative research and incubation to improve consumer financial well-being. As an independent cooperative finance think tank, Filene’s membership network connects a community of leaders and bright minds to change lives through innovation, truth and cooperation. In addition to delivering cutting-edge, actionable academic research, Filene also provides incubators to test and scale solutions, events to spark organizations into action and advisory services to help accelerate and implement innovation. For more information, visit filene.org and @fileneresearch.

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