5 questions every credit union should ask in 2018

2018. It’s here. And if you live in the United States, it’s cold. Very cold.

So let’s warm our brains up with five questions. Hopefully, by stoking your imagination, you’ll feel the fire – all the way to your hands and feet.

Don’t worry, to get things going, I provided some inspiration for you.

1. What are you focusing on in 2018?

Looking ahead, there are the three areas credit unions should focus on:

1. Process automation

To remain competitive, many credit unions are prioritizing process improvements and technology enhancements that will benefit their members.

In fact, nearly 70 percent of Chief Information Officers from financial institutions said they planned to spend between one and 10 percent more on technology in 2017, compared to previous years, according to a recent survey published by SourceMedia Research. The other third of respondents, which includes more than 300 individuals from various financial institutions, intended on growing their IT budgets by even more. This will only increase in 2018.

Clearly, if you’re not utilizing the fantastic technology available today, you won’t be able to keep up with the competition.

2. New market development

Credit unions are going to focus on expanding their current and potential membership by providing competitive and niche products, continuously delivering outstanding service and fulfilling a specific community need that deepens brand awareness while attracting new members.

The takeaway? If you don’t focus on your community, your members won’t focus on you.

3. Delivery channel evolution

Credit unions need to remain committed to providing convenient methods of service delivery to their current and future members. This starts with transforming online account and loan application processes so members using these services enjoy excellent experiences.

Again, it’s all about taking advantage of technology. Maybe even beginning your own digital transformation.

2. How will your strategy evolve?

In 2018, our credit union clients are focusing on overall operational and organizational efficiency. They are not abandoning their 2017 efforts; instead, they are armed with a deeper understanding of what is vital to serve a more demanding generation of customers with fast, streamlined processes.

By doing so, these credit unions position themselves to provide positive member experiences, while differentiating themselves and building long-lasting loyalty.

3. What has been the primary lesson that credit unions learned in 2017, and what has been their response?

Credit unions in the United States are continuing to thrive with the number of members and accounts on the rise. However, tremendous growth doesn’t come without challenges.

Growth initiatives put a lot of pressure on existing processes, systems and resources to keep up – and it means more competition to get ahead. As a result, our credit union clients have realized the huge importance of evaluating how to meet these new challenges with technology, such as content services platforms, and squeeze as much value as possible from existing systems and resources.

With the right technology, you can simplify your IT environment and reduce the number of information silos and applications your credit union must support.

4. What competitive threats or issues will 2018 bring?

In addition to other strong credit unions located in their regions, our credit union clients have their eyes on big box banks and FinTechs. FinTechs rely on leading-edge technology to remain innovative, agile and successful. In 2015, investments in FinTechs amounted to more than $19 billion.

But 2018 looks even better, as 82 percent of U.S. commercial banks plan to increase FinTech investment over the next three years, according to American Banker.

Additionally, as is the case with many other industries, our clients are focused on security and how to keep member information safe. In fact, the average cost of a data breach in the US was $7.35 million, according to a recent study from Ponemon Institute.

That equates to $225 per lost or stolen record – not to mention the cost of losing members, detecting, escalating and remediating the breach. Because security is a top priority, many technology providers like Hyland have employed security experts to monitor the security of products and proactively enhance their software solutions to combat new threats.

5. Looking five years out, how do you see the market, the opportunities and threats, and how do you plan to respond?

With today’s growing non-traditional banking options, the stakes are high. Credit unions will respond to increased and non-traditional competition by leveraging technology to make life easier for their employees as well as banking experiences superior for their members, well into the future.

To do this, credit unions will capitalize on innovative technology, like enterprise content management platforms (now called content services), to improve member service and reduce operating costs. By using a robust information management solution that includes workflow software to capture information electronically and automatically route it through processes, notifying key stakeholders along the way, credit unions will increase the speed, accuracy and security of important processes like member onboarding, loan application reviews and wire transfers.

With a true focus on members, in 2018, credit unions will leverage technology to take advantage of things like fast and accurate service, dividend payouts, and innovative, easy-to-use services and products. Technology will continue to be the answer to achieving a competitive edge and providing the superior service members expect.

I hope this helps you start planning for 2018, if you haven’t already begun. Here’s to a great year!

* This blog post was originally published by CUtoday.com.

Michelle Harbinak Shapiro

Michelle Harbinak Shapiro

Michelle Shapiro brings more than 15 years of experience in the banking industry to her role as Financial Services marketing portfolio manager at Hyland. Her mission is to share best practices and evangelize the power of ECM as a tool for banks, credit unions and lenders to help automate paper-based processes and proactively manage regulations.

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