Succeeding in the mobile financial services arena requires credit unions to develop a mobile-first strategy in everything they do, says Steve Hoke, director of loan growth products for CUNA Mutual Group.
“I don’t just mean the technology tools they develop, but with things they’re executing—it could be an advertising campaign,” he says. “A credit union may place an ad in the Sunday paper, and it will need to think how members will engage with them from that ad into the mobile space.”
That could mean putting a QR code in the ad, or a short website line. “That kind of integration between traditional advertising and the mobile experience is important to users as well.”
Embracing a mobile-first mindset also requires credit unions to mobile-optimize their websites and services, Hoke says. “Credit unions really need to get on the bandwagon with mobile optimization. That means mobile-optimizing their websites, their home banking platforms, and certainly their lending platforms as well.”
Hoke has seen firsthand the explosion in mobile transactions. He says CUNA Mutual’s Smartphone Loan product experienced a 63% increase in loan applications from 2012 to 2013, due mainly to the ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile devices.
Despite the increasing popularity of mobile financial services, Hoke still believes in branches.
“Branches are an important part of the relationship credit unions have with their members,” he says. “But day-to-day transactions are shifting to mobile. Branches will be more of a resource for members when they want financial education or when they’re going through a complex transaction and need more guidance.”
Bill Merrick is deputy editor of Credit Union Magazine. Follow him on Twitter via @CUMagazine.