5 Issues that are Keeping Credit Union Executives Awake at Night

Credit Union Technology Bar

What keeps credit union executives up at night? Unless you’re watching Letterman’s top-ten lists, you lie awake thinking about your own ledger of hot-button issues. Keeping branches relevant, satisfying member service concerns, compliance, mobile technology and Millennials are some of the major reasons for those sleepless nights. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Regulatory Burden

The regulatory burden is real and catastrophic. Credit unions now carry a much heavier regulatory and risk management load than even a year ago. During the last quarter of 2013, there were some 65 regulatory changes contained in some 5,000 pages. That alone should keep you tossing-and-turning. Then add in $8 billion-plus in regulatory fines levied at the federal level during that last 2013 quarter and the “walking dead” might be a relief.

2. Keeping Branches Relevant

Many members are more frequently choosing digital and social media to engage their credit unions, but face-to-face contact still beats Facebook when it comes the more significant financial events, such as account origination, mortgages, refinances, personal loans, insurance and investment. The challenge for credit unions is to create more interesting branches to attract those more accustomed to a self-serve experience. Wells Fargo has been experimenting with new 1,000-square-foot sites that contain new ATMs, along with off-site tellers aiding customers via tablets and wireless phones. You can also automate routine and repetitive tasks such as cash handling to free member-service reps (MSRs) to cross-sell.

3. Service Stations

Accountholder demands reflect the world we live in today. This translates to personalized service and a 24x7 reach. The option of engaging with a real MSR should always be there at realistic (and maybe unlikely) hours of the day. Members still crave handholding and access to knowledgeable representatives when it comes to more strategic dealings and a more personalized experience from the teller line to self-service channels.

4. Mobile Platforms

One of the bigger problems is underdeveloped and non-compelling mobile platforms at credit unions. While a mobile platform lends itself to creativeness what we can do with mobile still needs defining.  According to Pew Research, in 2012, 55 percent of cell owners say they used their phone to go online. Among those who go online with their phones, 31 percent say they do most of their online browsing on their phone. These are the kinds of members that credit unions need to attract. Credit unions should consider mobile and social media as a way to engage members. From an ROI it makes sense as according to Javelin Strategy and Research mobile transactions cost only transaction being only 10 cents versus $1.25 per ATM transaction.

5. Millennials

Millennials view financial services differently than the Boomers and Gen Xers that preceded them. A three-year study from Scratch found that Millennials increasingly viewed financial institutions as irrelevant. That the bad news. The good news? Credit Unions can gain the trust of Millennials by demonstrating they both have the same fundamental foundation — involvement in social issues and the community — in common.