The Future in Present Tense


The change happened overnight. Literally. When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in March of 2020, the banking industry was immediately transformed.

Banks and credit unions shut down their branches and customers had to immediately eschew face-to-face interactions within credit union branches and rely on virtual operations.

For years, the industry has seen a move, particularly among younger generations, to mobile, digital banking. But the pandemic accelerated a shift to electronic banking, and banks and credit unions were forced to boost their e-service capabilities, particularly their bankcard and credit card operations. Credit Unions that were behind in boosting digital services fell farther behind.

Large national banks had an advantage because they had the capital and the staff to quickly adapt. Credit unions had a harder road. First, many credit unions don’t have a large staff to service credit and debit cards. Instead, many have shifted those operations to a credit union service organization (CUSO) to manage card operations. This is difficult because credit unions are closely tied to the communities they serve. They have counted on personal relationships and customers service to their members. But after 2020, the front door for all credit unions became the card in each members’ pocket.

Member Access Processing (MAP) was founded in 1998 by former credit union executives. The company’s mission as a CUSO is to provide credit and debit card processing service to credit unions.

But the real value that MAP provides is as a time machine. MAP takes credit unions from a present time when they are behind the card services that larger banks provide and moves them into a future where they have the same features, same access, same benefits, and same products that card holders get at the largest banks. MAP adds to that the customer service that credit union members depend on.

More importantly, MAP focuses on finding new ways for credit unions to increase revenue without falling back on interest.

MAP is the nation’s only aggregator of the Visa debit processing service platform for credit unions. That gives credit unions who choose MAP an important, vital alliance. This provides credit unions the opportunity to leverage the technology, security, and service of Visa, the same services that large banks use, for their members. MAP enhances those services with customer service that is second to none.

Fraud remains a major concern in credit and debit cards. MAP excels in managing fraud. A top priority is evaluating fraud data to minimize losses for clients by paying attention to the micro decisions that often lead to fraud which has resulted in clients seeing 36% less fraud than the Visa national average. This, despite MAP credit union partners experiencing approximately seven transactions more than the Visa national average.

In addition to providing clients with data, MAP successfully bolsters client marketing efforts. The company has developed a step-by-step process to help partners identify portfolio objectives and devise a strategy to reach new cardholders while increasing transactions from existing members. Instead of seeing credit unions fall behind in the card processing arena, MAP is helping them drive into it.

Part of that process is to both collect and use data sets from Debit, Credit, Prepaid, PIN, Signature, ATM, and Merchant services to help credit unions adapt quickly to new trends, swiftly react to problems, and add new features that members want and need. Personalization, particularly on card reward programs tailored for any credit union’s member base, is also a critical factor.

The future arrived much faster than expected. The need for credit unions to match and exceed members’ desire for better, more robust card services has never been more important. Particularly in an era when younger members churn at a moment’s notice if they aren’t getting the service or services they need. Credit unions have always been the heart of the communities that they serve. Coming out of the pandemic, that is still true. What’s also true is that members now want state of the art card service, mobile access, and paperless transactions. Credit unions need partners to make that happen.

About Author:

Cyndie Martini, President and CEO of Member Access Processing, has managed and directed successful credit union card and ATM portfolios, marketing programs and business strategies for a quarter century. In addition to her expertise in the payments industry, Martini has over 30 years of marketing, sales, strategic planning, advertising, and payment technology experience and is recognized as an expert in the field of card and network payment systems. A veteran of the Washington Credit Union League and League Services Inc. (LSI), Martini is a loyal advocate for credit unions, having put her experience to work helping member-based cooperative financial institutions grow and succeed.

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