Technology, Generational Evolution Mean New Strategies For CUs

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CORVALLIS, Ore.-Credit unions must continue to revamp their technology strategies as the industry evolves and the next generation of members joins the workforce.

That was the message that came out of a recent webinar co-hosted by NCUA and the CUNA Technology Council, which suggested that mobile banking is set to take over the traditional role of checking balances and transaction history, while home online banking becomes more of a budgeting tool.

Moreover, as more services are demanded by Generation Y, it is imperative that CUs deliver the message that they are ready to serve them, several experts said.

Growing Up In The Advertising Age
"This is the group that has grown up in the advertising age," Bryan Sims, CEO of brassMedia Inc. pointed out. "Because of that, this group has grown up with a defense shield where they choose not to hear things that are not relevant to them. If you are not something they want to hear about, they will tune you out."

As Gen Y enters the workforce, it is looking for the latest products and services, and they're also looking for honesty and functionality, he said. Sims noted social media has become so popular because it is extremely convenient and an "extension of what is real," which is why CUs need to engage in those mediums as well as more traditional channels he argued.

As the population changes, so does product demand and with more mobile devices than people in the world, mobile banking is likely to skyrocket, Loretta Weller-Mowers, SVP-eCommerce at San Diego County CU argued. She predicted the number of Americans using mobile banking will jump from 10 million in 2009 to 55-65 million by 2020.

"For a long time members would log in on Friday, check their balance then log in on Monday and see how they did," John Best, chief technology officer at Wescom Central CU, Pasadena, Calif., explained. "Mobile is changing home banking Mobile is going to become (like home banking) which members used in the late 90s and early 2000s where they checked balances and history."

An Important Role Down The Line
Home banking will still play a very important role down the line, however, as it moves from a transactional tool to a budgeting tool. Best called services that emulate Mint or Wesabe an "absolute necessity" going forward to ensure retention with younger members who are more likely to leave if they don't get the budgeting services they desire from their CUs.

Though members are demanding more advanced services, that doesn't mean they have a firm grasp of the nuances involved. With remote deposit capture, for instance, step-by-step instructions for setup and use are critical to adoption, according to Ed Langel, Director of Electronic Services at Chicago-based Alliant CU. "Remember, these are not trained individuals," he said. "More and more members are asking for deposit capture... but they don't want to know how complicated it is or even how it works. But they want to know that it will work every time."

Finally, normalizing all of these channels is also crucial to member experience, explained Kyle Welsh, VP Technology Services at Boeing Employees CU. Many member-facing channels end up in silos, even though members prefer to have a consistent experience across the board. Welsh encouraged other CUs to explore the transactions available to members through all of their touchpoints and then develop a strategy to harmonize them.

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