3 New Year’s resolutions every credit union should make this December

In the midst of the holiday season, people have to-do lists longer than the strings of twinkle lights they’ve clipped to their gutters. So it’s easy to lose sight of 2019 – to wait until you’re back in the office in January to start gearing your credit union up to succeed in the last year of this decade.

But with new technology, marketing tactics and service offerings constantly popping up, you’ll already be behind. Does this mean you need to resolve to jump on every fintech bandwagon, or sleigh, that drives by?

Nope. As with personal resolutions, business resolutions take a little reflection on the past, in addition to looking into the future. The three resolutions below are based on insights from this blog post, by former Hylander Michelle Shapiro. She loved writing about New Year’s resolutions, so I used some of the insights she provided as inspiration.

Resolution No. 1: Maintain your values

Insight: “Credit unions are not-for-profit, because their purpose is to serve their members and their communities,” said Shapiro. “They have been doing so in the U.S. for more than 100 years. Promoting financial literacy, hosting charitable golf outings, honoring local teachers, awarding scholarships, supporting sustainability and more, credit unions are advocates and avid supporters of their membership and communities.”

No matter how fast the financial services industry moves, credit unions must stay focused on the values that separate them from other financial institutions. And luckily, credit unions share major values like community, sustainability and social responsibility with millennials, one of the largest and most influential populations (estimated at 86 million) in the world today.

“Entrepreneurial and independently minded,” as described by Inc.com, “millennials care about the world around them and are characteristically more tech-savvy, more well-informed, more product-driven, less brand-focused and more civic-minded than their predecessors.”

Who wouldn’t want to be in a mash-up with millennials?

However, credit unions do need to remember that this savvy group is also all about doing things digitally. Maintaining your values while prioritizing digital transformation is the key to reaching this demographic.

Resolution No. 2: Keep setting records

Insight: “Credit unions are setting records. Total assets at credit unions reached a record high of $1.4 trillion at the end of 2017,” said Shapiro. “Starting 2018 with a slam dunk, credit unions added 463,000 memberships in January, which is considerably higher than the 209,000 gain recorded in January 2017.”

Ready for an update?

“Credit unions added more than 4.208 million memberships in the first nine months of 2018, the fastest pace in credit union history and significantly above the 3.625 million added in the similar time period of 2017,” according to a CUNA Mutual Group report.

Whoa.

Will credit unions keep setting membership records year after year? With the huge millennial market noted above, the opportunity for continued success is real.

What will it take? Ensuring that members have great digital experiences that work across devices and speed your banking processes. The best ways to accomplish this are by using robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent capture, advanced electronic workflows and core banking system integrations.

Resolution No. 3: Keep an eye on the competition

Insight: “Credit unions are also very aware of their competitive threats. Many have their eyes on big box banks and fintechs,” said Shapiro. “They’re all focused on security and how to keep member information safe. It’s an important topic. In fact, the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. was $7.35 million in 2017, according to a recent study from Ponemon Institute.”

There are many people out there who love the core values of credit unions. Membership is increasing at record rates. Unfortunately, your credit union isn’t the only one who knows this.

Other credit unions, big banks, fintechs and yes, hackers are all aware of the opportunities that connecting great principles with online tools and digital interactions present. The former are digging into research and looking for opportunities to do it better than anyone else. The latter are salivating over the data of millions of credit union members who like to perform banking transactions online.

What can you do?

Start looking for high impact member journeys that you can improve through digital transformation. But don’t try to tackle too many journeys at once. It takes time and resources to perform this kind of discovery.

But the benefits can be huge. For example, redesigning a credit-lending journey helped one bank cut the time to fund loans in half and reduced costs by 30 percent. Another bank saved $200 million over four years by transforming the same journey. Credit unions can – and should – do the same.

As for keeping your member journeys secure, it’s truly all about choosing the right technology. A robust content services platform gives credit unions the ability to capture information securely, keep unstructured data out of risky systems, collaborate securely and minimize information touch-points.

If you’re already utilizing a content services platform, maybe it’s time to move forward with mobile solutions, electronic signature solutions or integrating it with your core systems.

Take a breath

You may be thinking, there are only three weeks left in 2018, how am I supposed to tackle resolutions now?

Resolutions are simply a set of intentions for the New Year. Creating them for your business now helps you focus and get back on track quickly when the holiday craziness simmers down.

So take a few minutes. Take a deep breath. And use these resolutions as a jumping off point to tackle 2019 with gusto!

Rick Hiles

Rick Hiles

Rick Hiles is a team lead in Hyland’s Financial Services group. A graduate of Miami University, Rick has worked for Hyland since 2012.

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