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Welcome to St. Louis

PSCU, the world's largest credit union service organization, convened its 2018 Member Forum in St. Louis just steps away from the world famous Gateway Arch. As the conference kicked off, PSCU had already made news by announcing it was the latest credit union group to join CULedger, followed by the announcement that the CUSO was launching a new digital banking platform, Lumin Digital. The first day included remarks from PSCU CEO Chuck Fagan, legendary Alabama football coach Nick Saban, breakout sessions on the future of fintech, the keys to excellent member service and more. Read on for a glimpse at some of the day's highlights.

Further coverage from the conference can be found here.
PSCU CEO Chuck Fagan speaking during the CUSO’s 2018 Member Forum in St. Louis.

Chuck Fagan, PSCU

PSCU CEO Chuck Fagan opened the day with an update on the CUSO's business strategy and results and a broad look at the financial services industry. One analyst PSCU recently worked with, he said, predicted fewer than 5,000 credit unions will be in business by the year 2020 — a sign that industry consolidation is likley to increase even further. Along with that, he said, will be continued changes in how credit unions do business. One example? The old definition of "primary financial institution" no longer applies.

It used to be that having a consumer's checking and savings account garnered PFI status. "Now it's about engagement," he said. "You have four generations of membership that each want to do things differently." And if credit unions don't position their products in a way that support engagement with all of those demographics, they risk losing that business.

More and more consumers want a banking experience like what they see from major web retailers.

"Members want an easy user experience that's clean — companies like Amazon and Netflix have it figured out," he said. "You've seen the surveys; They trust Amazon enough that they might bank with them."

According to PSCU research, 75 percent of millennials are already on digital platforms, and 47 percent use mobile banking. "You never see them except through a mobile phone," Fagan noted, adding that P2P payments are also growing, with 33 percent of millennials using that channel.

"Your digital apps have to be more efficient and have to compete with the big guys that are investing hundreds of millions of dollars," he said.
Legendary University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban addresses the PSCU 2018 Member Forum in St. Louis.

University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban

Legendary University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban bestowed some wisdom on credit union leaders during a keynote address.

“The most important thing in establishing a winning environment and culture is the mindset of the people in your organization,” Saban told the crowd. “And to me, that starts with what kind of vision do you have? What is your vision, what are your goals and aspirations for what you want to accomplish in your company or your team or whatever it is? And the second part of that is what do you have to do to accomplish it?”

The six-time national champion also reinforced some leadership principles many credit union leaders may be familiar with.

“You want to define the expectations and the principles and the values of your team so everybody has a chance to buy in,” he advised, adding, “You have to be able to serve other people. We can all be critics. It’s very easy to tell someone what they didn’t do right. Never pass up the opportunity to reinforce good behavior. Catch people doing it right — that’s what will stimulate them more than anything else.”

For more from Saban's remarks, click here.
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Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki, a former Apple employee, brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and chief evangelist at Canva, offered a presentation titled "The art of innovation," and reminded credit union professionals that nearly all great innovation is the result of failure — at least at first — and isn't always popular.

"Great innovation upsets some people — it's OK!" he reassured the laughing crowd.

What's important, he said, is to keep pushing forward and be willing to take small successes when they occur. But don't get too hung up on one innovation. After all, he reminded, when Apple introduced a five megabyte hard drive, someone asked "What are people going to do with all this disk space?"
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Lisa Ford

Customer service expert Lisa Ford told attendees there are three levels of service in today’s world: rude, indifferent and exceptional.

“People want a relationship, not a transaction,” she explained. “Whether it’s a phone call, fingertips, drive-thru, face-to-face; whatever it is, we’ve got to make certain we are creating an experience that is truly memorable for that customer.”

Consumers can get banking services almost anywhere, she said, and who knows who will be offering those services next? “So we’ve got to be creating that truly unparalleled service experience; anybody can offer our product, not everybody can offer that interaction, that experience we can do.”

If credit unions want loyalty from consumers, they have to create an emotional connection. Credit unions today are serving as many as four generations at one time — all of which interact with the intuition differently — and the emotional connection will be different for each consumer. For some it might be that parents or grandparents were also members of the credit union, but “we’ve got to be so good in today’s time, because we are serving so many people that have a different mindset than what we started serving many years ago,” she said.

She offered rules for better serving members:

1) The members’ experience drives the relationship. “Today’s customer wants an experience that is personalized and customized to them,” she said. The best example of that, she added, is Starbucks, which turned an 89-cent item into a $4 item and created an experience out of it.

2) Know your customer and show them. For credit unions, she explained, that means using data, because no matter what channel the member uses, they want to feel like the person they are interacting with knows where they’ve been.

3) Add value. If a business isn’t adding value for the consumer, there’s no difference between them and anyone else, and that point all that matters to the consumer is the price. “So we’ve got to be brilliant at adding value.”

“If we’re not relevant, someone else will be,” she insisted. “That will be the game changer — that will be, in today’s language — the disruptor that takes us out of business."