MADISON, Wis. (11/6/13)--While credit union members increasingly use digital channels for low-value transactions and finding information, they still prefer to receive financial advice in branches, according to a new report from the Filene Research Institute.
Branches must be more efficient, and branch leaders must be free to focus more time on high-value behaviors such as advice, product sales, and resolving complex issues, said the report, "Channel Delivery for Tomorrow," which was co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.
Despite steady use and preferences for branches, the strongest growth right now is in mobile and online services. That growth, coupled with the cost advantages of distributing information and low-value transactions in digital channels, means credit unions need to seek out and adopt digital channels. Those that do not will not be compelling enough to be the primary institutions for the millennials and digital natives who are now choosing their institutions, the report said.
While credit unions can make gradual changes with current members, it is easier to start migrating new members to preferred channels. The report offers three ways to do that effectively:
Credit unions must match the right transactions with the right channels to be sustainable, the report said. Good strategy acknowledges trade-offs, and credit unions cannot afford to invest equally in every channel. Most credit unions should focus strategically on digital channels, which will only increase in importance for attracting and retaining members in the next three years.