Scaling for the digital customer—and providing the much-demanded one-stop shop—is not an easy proposal for traditional financial institutions. However, credit unions have a number of unrecognized advantages over banks right now that should not be discounted or overlooked.
Credit union’s collaborative approach to technology development should not be discounted. One of the most visible advantages for credit unions is the support of innovative credit union service organizations (CUSOs) for joint research and development. CUSOs provide the opportunity and resources to develop white label technology that a lone credit union may not be able to afford.
A bit more abstract, but no less powerful, is a unified, collaborative marketing campaign that reinforces the association between credit unions and consumer trust. That’s consumer trust with a capital “T.” Trust is a key component for the credit union brand identity, and trust will become an increasingly important digital payments differentiator as the new technology continues to be challenged by fraud.
Credit unions should consider their options to connect and engage with members. The industry has traditionally excelled at securing “transactional loyalty,” with tools such as structured reward programs and targeted messaging. Moving forward, there will be an intense focus on securing long-term “emotional” loyalty as well. This includes strategies such as personalized communications, affinity groups and utilizing members as brand advocates.
Faster and more comfortable retail experiences are often the go-to idea for improvement but so is mobile integration and chat tools like, the use of a chatbot on messaging apps. Eliminating friction in the consumer experience when making a purchase will continue to grow in importance, and transaction models such as Uber rides, PayPal’s One Touch online checkout and Amazon's 1-Click ordering are leading the way. Credit unions could gain much by combining their head start in transactional loyalty with easier forms of one-touch payments.