By Terrence Griffin, Chief Information Officer, CO-OP Financial Services
From social platforms to wearables and machine learning, new technologies are coming at credit unions faster than many would like. And information management is becoming a much bigger challenge for us all.
Facebook, Twitter and other social, mobile platforms are teaching businesses how to market to consumers. At the same time, consumer privacy is slipping away. Every time someone arrives at the airport, eats dinner with friends or goes to beach, it is out there on social sites for the world to see. How consumers are going to manage their privacy remains a question going forward.
I serve on the steering committee for the Secure Payments Task Force, established by the Federal Reserve to involve a cross-section of industry leaders in an ongoing discussion about the state of the payment market. American Express and MasterCard also sit on this committee, as do many global financial institutions and big box merchants.
The Fed recognizes payment security as a critical issue for the nation and is committed to making strides on this front. Our sister committee, the Faster Payments Task Force, is chartered with bringing new efficiencies to the payment landscape. These organizations are going to prove critical for credit unions, transcending Money20/20 to shape an environment in which payments are both more secure and faster from the consumer perspective all the way up to the operations of large financial institutions. This is exciting to see.
As an industry, we need to better understand a new generation of consumer on the horizon – Generation Z (born mid-to-late 1990s or from mid-2000s). Today’s children and teenagers are entrenched in technology in ways that extend far beyond that of previous generations. Gaming continues to drive engagement with them, and they require high levels of privacy on the Web.
Payment systems for games speak volumes about the needs of young consumers, who are primarily making in-app purchases, buying coins, characters and other gaming elements using a credit or savings account. Securing their personal data is critical to preserving their anonymity on the Web. Mobile is huge with them as well. Technologists today are hard at work building applications for this emerging market.
While technology marches on, there remains a strong need for physical branching – and for technology-driven services to closely simulate the in-branch experience. Regardless of the channel, consumers don’t want to feel like a number. And they crave convenience. Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) is taking off. So is person-to-person (P2P) payment technology that allows money to change hands virtually in real time. That is what today’s consumers – and especially our youngest consumers – expect. Remember that today’s teenagers and younger do not know life without the Internet.
To navigate this brave new world of technology, credit unions need a flexible, collaborative approach to decision making. I recommend further diversifying your board of directors by putting technologists and innovators of all ages in these positions. Tap into your organization’s forward thinkers, test the boundaries and apply new technologies to your business model.
Ultimately, it’s not about either the technology or the business: it is about merging the two to deliver what is best for the consumer.