Toddlers are playing games on tablets and young children are using hashtags and emojis. And those same technology-embracing kids are the future members of credit unions who one day will be seeking loans.
It’s time for credit unions to prepare for a change in how they carry out their loan processes.
“Young individuals will drive expectations on how we serve our members in the future,” Courtney Angeley, impact director at the Filene Research Institute, said during a breakout session at the CUNA Lending Council Conference Monday in Nashville. “Make things easy for them. ‘Ease of use’ should be your new mantra.”
According to research from Price Waterhouse Cooper, 46% of consumers say the main reason they’ve refinanced with their existing financial institution is because the process was simple and streamlined.
Consider digitizing the lending process to make it simple and streamlined for your members.
Angeley says there are five rules to keep in mind:
1. Attitude is everything. Define what “digital banking” means for your credit union. Understand it’s a mindset and culture that needs to be built, not simply the processes that are carried out, she says.
2. Know what’s important. There are always reasons why a credit union decides not to go digital, including cost, time, and employee resources. But consider the impact not doing so will have on members.
According to Filene research, improving day-to-day activities via mobile/smartphone banking is extremely important for 66% of members, but only 15% say they are satisfied with their credit union’s offerings. And 58% says it’s important to improve day-to-day activities via online banking, but only 21% are satisfied.
3. Realize that frictionless lending can be a help or hindrance. The speed of a process can be a competitive advantage. Identify sources of friction in the loan process, such as complicated policies, duplicate staff roles, or unnecessary steps.
But also remember there are times when slowing down the process is an advantage, such as when you’re dealing with an emotional member, Angeley says.
“There are opportunities to create friction that will benefit your member,” she says.
4. Continue to embrace the human touch. Digitizing the lending process doesn’t mean removing all human interaction with members, Angeley says. Rather, seek to adopt digital activities as a way to improve a personal, high-touch service model that allows members to feel important.
5. Integration isn’t an afterthought. Look at your lending process and determine what points are a priority for becoming digital. This could be making sure your systems are integrated, establishing digital signatures, or offering online loan applications.
“It’s setting out what’s important for your credit union and following through on that,” Angeley says.
►Read more conference coverage from CUNA News, and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNAJennifer, @AdamMertzCUNA, @cumagazine, @CUNACouncils, and by using the #LendingCouncil hashtag. Learn more about the CUNA Lending Council, a member-led professional society for credit union executives, by visiting cunacouncils.org.