Simply dabbling in digital is no longer enough to ensure success. Digital innovation has quickly evolved from a “nice-to-have” to a “need-to-have” in a credit union’s toolkit. Consumers are more apt than ever to leave their primary financial institution in favor of a more digitally savvy one. The resounding message to credit unions seems to be “go digital or die.”
Already, many credit unions have made significant headway in their digital transformation journeys. They’ve added mobile banking, adopted digital wallets and embraced tech-savvy member service solutions such as chat bots. Each of those initiatives, among others, have the power to boost a credit union’s clout as a marketplace leader.
For Elements Financial Federal Credit Union, achieving digital excellence is high on its list of strategic objectives. To meet that objective, the credit union focused in on four key things.
- Defining digital excellence. The Elements Financial team determined two key stakeholder groups who would define the standard for digital excellence: employees and members. When they surveyed their own staff and asked “What three words come to mind when you think of digital excellence?” they provided answers for both groups. Both of those groups, when surveyed, had their own definitions for excellence. “For the employee, it was loud and clear that it meant reliability, efficiency and speed,” said Chris Sibila, EVP of Payments and Technology at Elements. For the members, they noted a need for ease-of-use, mobile options and security.
- Getting buy-in from key stakeholders. Involving both credit union employees and members in digital transformation is critical to success. “They first have to understand the ‘why’ behind it,” noted Lisa Schlehuber, CEO of Element. “Then they have to understand the ‘what.’” Once credit union employees are in support of a digital change, they can also encourage members to follow suit.
- Building and executing a targeted strategy. By understanding what employees and members are looking for in a digital strategy, Elements was well-equipped to deliver. The credit union has already rolled out Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay in response to member needs. In addition, Elements has a robust fraud detection alerts system associated with its card portfolios – a tactic that addresses member and account security.
- Developing a ‘technology company’ mindset. Credit unions, Sibila notes, are more than simply providers of financial services. In fact, he says, at Elements they consider themselves a technology company with a charter to provide financial services to members. By adopting a ‘technology company mindset,’ credit unions can position themselves well for the future.
For more details on how to enhance a credit union’s digital journey, download CO-OP’s white paper on machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data.