Accelerating Your Next: Introducing The CU Strategic Investment Assessment Powered by CO-OP and backed by EY NextWave

Accelerating Your Next: Introducing The CU Strategic Investment Assessment Powered by CO-OP and backed by EY NextWave

Accelerating Your Next: Introducing The CU Strategic Investment Assessment Powered by CO-OP and backed by EY NextWave

By Samantha Paxson, Chief Experience Officer

“Build, buy or partner? Invest in new technology or update legacy systems? Prioritize payments or lending? Grow membership by casting a wider net or targeting specific audiences?”

What is keeping you up at night?

In an era of COVID-19 response, mergers and acquisitions, stiff competition from Big Banks, Fintechs and Big Tech, credit union leaders are now facing some of the most stressful strategic choices they will ever have to make.

What’s needed is smart, informed and credit union-specific consultation to help leaders place the right strategic bets for future growth – not only for their members, but for the movement.

Now, more than ever, credit unions need to adjust long-term strategy in swift and meaningful ways to serve our members in a post-COVID-19 world. That’s why CO-OP has partnered with EY to create The Credit Union Strategic Investment Assessment Powered by CO-OP and backed by EY NextWaveTM, a proprietary, credit union-centric tool, designed to provide CU leaders with insightful, strategic guidance unique to their enterprise. The Assessment interprets data inputs provided by the credit union and informed by EY’s breakthrough NextWaveTM Consumer Financial research to create a strategic blueprint of the enterprise’s business opportunities with recommendations for how each individual credit union can reach their maximum potential.


The EY NextWaveTM research that formed the foundation of the Assessment outlines four paradoxes in consumer financial services today:

  1. Financial Health. Consumers’ perceptions of their financial health is quite optimistic versus consumers’ actual behaviors, which indicate futures filled with debt; the opportunity for the financial services industry to address this gap is large, particularly as members recover from pandemic-induced economic shock.
  2. Trust. Consumers lack trust in the financial services industry overall – even though trust with their PFI was still quite high.
  3. Convergence. It’s harder than ever to differentiate – and consumers have a harder time perceiving the differences in the current, crowded financial services landscape. Despite claims to the contrary, financial service companies have changed very little over time.
  4. Digital. In a digital-first world – and as COVID-19 has accelerated demand for safer, contactless and digital products – consumers still need and want human interactions; finding that perfect balance is a tough call for financial service companies.

The research points towards these four paradoxes leading to a complete reframing of consumer financial services over the next 5 years. “Financial institutions face major choices that will determine how they stay relevant, earn more customer trust and play to win,” the report predicts.1 Making the right strategic choices to earn Primary Financial Relationship (PFR) status has never been more critical.

However, it can be hard to know where to place big bets with limited resources for the maximum results. That’s where The CU Strategic Investment Assessment Powered by CO-OP and backed by EY Nextwave™ comes in.

By investing the time and resources upfront to complete the Assessment, credit unions will benefit from a program that integrates industry-leading research with their enterprises’ distinct profile to identify the strategic model that offers the most upside potential for their credit union. There are five strategic models positioned in the Assessment: Vertical Integration, Digital Native, Financial Utility, Product Producer, Ecosystem Integrator.

These are flexible – not static – strategic models that can create the kind of differentiation financial service institutions will need to address the four financial paradoxes uncovered in the research and to respond effectively as the economy stabilizes and recovers. Your credit union may have a propensity towards one or more of these models.

The customized Strategic Blueprint results will use each credit union’s unique inputs to recommend a main, strategic model to create the greatest upside opportunity in terms of revenue and share of relationship. Because the data inputs are critical to providing the best outcome, CO-OP recommends that each credit union identify a cross functional team to take the Assessment together.

“The Credit Union Strategic Investment Assessment will enable us to understand where we lie in our technology investments, what those mean to us, where our shortcomings are and where to invest. We’re very excited about that.” – Dave Libby, CEO of Town & Country Federal Credit Union.

Here’s an overview of what credit unions receive via the Assessment report:

    • An executive summary of your credit union’s results
    • A strategic blueprint outlining the strategic models with high potential to drive growth at your credit union and the data and meanings behind your current state and future state opportunity, specifically:
      • Who to Target: Opportunity segments to focus on for your strategic model
      • Where to Invest: Solution sets and capabilities needed to serve these markets
      • What it’s Worth: Incremental segment penetration potential to create economic upside
    • A supplemental package enabling you to dive into more detail regarding your strategic model, target member segments and recommended capabilities.

The process emulates an extensive EY consulting engagement to make a premium Management Consulting service accessible to all credit unions for just $1,200 – an incredible value! “Credit unions would have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to receive this type of in-depth, and insightful strategic mapping and consultation. CO-OP is scaling consultation to make it accessible and self-serviceable as we look to build and preserve the modern credit union movement,” says Todd Clark, CO-OP CEO.

The Assessment is open from May 11- July 2, 2020. For more information about The CU Strategic Investment Assessment Powered by CO-OP and backed by EY Nextwave™ please visit:


1 NextWave Consumer Financial Services: financial subscriptions are coming. Page 4. 2018.