With the lingering effects of the recession continuing to fade, credit unions are starting to see tangible signs of growth. Strategic planning teams are trying to position their credit unions to take advantage of this post-recession rebound.
Credit unions’ expanding technology budgets are one indication that credit unions have adopted a growth mindset. About 50% of credit unions responding to CUNA’s 2014 Technology Spending Survey say they’re increasing their 2014 tech budgets over the previous year’s budget. And 22% of those credit unions are increasing their tech budgets by 6% or more (CU Mag, 6/14, p. 20).
Another indication credit unions are focusing on growth: 72% of respondents to an informal strategic planning survey by CUNA said growth is their top planning priority. Tied for second place with 40% each are technology strategies and member service strategies. But achieving growth in this post-recession economy will be challenging for a couple of reasons:
It’s difficult to chart a course and then stay true to that course in the midst of such volatility— competitive uncertainties, disruptive technologies, and a relentless torrent of new rules and regulations.
CUNA’s 2014-2015 Environmental Scan (E-Scan) is a strategic planning tool designed to help credit unions anticipate future trends and plan accordingly. An overview of the recently released 86-page E-Scan shows 10 trends credit unions should consider as they hold their strategic planning sessions and make plans for growth.
1. Mobile payments
Mobile bill payments by smartphone users jumped 150% from 2012 to 2013. Mobile payments are growing by 68% annually, from $16 billion in 2010 to a projected $214 billion by 2015.
Th is transaction type continues to be the single greatest opportunity—and threat—to credit unions, according to Mark Sievewright, president of credit union solutions for Fiserv, and author of the E-Scan’s payments chapter.
Credit unions can capitalize on emerging technologies and changing demographics, Sievewright says, by focusing on the three pillars of payments success: real-time, mobile, and social payment capabilities.
To remain at the center of members’ financial lives, credit unions must increase member loyalty by giving them the ability to conduct any transaction—on any channel—at the speed they expect.
“If you focus on real-time, mobile, and social payment capabilities that meet exacting standards for integration and risk management, you’ll remain members’ institution of choice—even in this rapidly changing payments landscape,” Sievewright says.
2. Mobile banking
With more than one million interactions each day, mobile now dominates all channels of customer engagement.
Representing three of every five customer contacts, mobile’s newfound dominance is driven by consumer expectations. Consumers want to access their financial products and services from handheld devices with ease, reliability, and speed.
Given current trends, mobile devices will soon surpass personal computers as the most common tool used to access the Internet.
Pay close attention to all facets of the mobile user experience so your credit union can create intuitive and flexible member interfaces built on robust information architecture.
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