The Art of the Single Source of Truth


Banking is both an art and science. There are technical components to banking – but for me, it’s how these parts come together to create art. There’s an art to finding a single source of truth based on your institution’s data, which for many, takes dedicated time, resources, and effort. If credit unions are the canvas, technology and systems are the colors, then credit unions are the painters. Without the right brush, a banker fails to paint a full picture of their customer; this is a recurring problem today.

Historically, credit unions have had a difficult time finding the single source of truth from their data, which impacts their ability to increase shareholder value, grow and profit from customer relationships, drive revenue, cross-sell and create more targeted marketing efforts, and more. For credit unions to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with customers and deliver on their promise to the communities they serve, they’ll need to uncover insights from their data – and this starts with the paint brush.

There is a large gap between perceived and real value of data in most credit unions. While the country’s largest institutions are refining these finer points, regional and community credit unions haven’t had access to any such analysis. The metadata is often wrong and not reconciled to the general ledger, because it is implemented in silos, which doesn’t import the data correctly. Simply put, finger-painting won’t help a painter make a museum-worthy masterpiece; a paint brush will. Credit unions need this technology to deliver a better customer experience and drive results for strategic initiatives within their organization.

Based on McKinsey research, financial institutions need to master four key areas:

  • Build a 360-degree view of the consumer
  • Base decisions on consumer signals
  • Design for customer journeys
  • Use cross-channel distribution.

Having a single environment where customer and bank data is easily accessible solves for these areas. It’s especially important in today’s increasingly digital environment where people thrive on human-centered interactions that credit unions have the information needed for more meaningful and focused conversations. For example, a bank should be able to tell if a husband and wife with separate bank accounts at the bank are part of the same household, then recommend products and services based on their family’s need. Or, that a college-aged son or daughter living at home during the pandemic might not need mortgage-related offers but could likely use a low-interest credit card option for coffee, pizza, and video games. And this is where a banker’s brush meets the color and the canvas.

Credit unions were already having a tough time householding this data well before the pandemic, missing out on key opportunities to deepen relationships. The pandemic has accelerated the need for efficiency and uncovering the truth; credit unions don’t have time to cobble together disparate systems to understand how their institution is performing or better know their customer base. They need a centralized database where they can see the profitability of the customer, and a way to predict how they will respond to fees, changes, and offers based on usage, and where they can realize opportunities through execution, accountability, and coaching, when necessary.

It’s time painters invest in a leading paint brush, one that is compatible with the type of canvas and colors they have. This is huge for community financial institutions, especially, that might not have the resources to piece together their disparate systems and data. That’s why partnering with companies that combine the data and add intelligence to deliver a single truth will be key to competing on relationships and a bank’s performance. Credit unions don’t need to be professional painters, they just need a canvas, paint brush, and some colors.

Mac Thompson is founder and president of White Clay, a fintech company that combines a bank’s disparate data, curates the metadata, adds intelligence, and delivers one version of the truth to optimize client value and bank performance. He is responsible for directing and setting the company’s vision and goals to provide profitability, pricing and sales facilitation software for credit unions and credit unions. Thompson’s more than 25 years of banking experience includes leadership roles with Bank of America, Chase, and regional and community credit unions where he redesigned sales processes, created mobile applications, and delivered strategic opportunity assessments for consumer financial products. “Making banking better” is not a slogan for him, it’s why he gets out of bed.  

For more information, please visit White Clay.

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