‘Look, a Landline!’

Determine which delivery channels members want today and tomorrow.

October 26, 2010

My dining room probably looks a lot like yours. There's a big table in the middle that seats eight. In the corner, there' a desk with a standard cordless phone.

A couple weeks ago, I had some college students sitting at my dining room table consuming vast amounts of food. While we ate, the phone on the desk rang. One of the students pointed to the ringing phone and exclaimed, "Look, a landline!"

It was as if he'd spotted a species of animal long thought to be extinct. It was like, "Look, a woolly mammoth!"

I never thought of my landline phone as outdated technology. But it's rapidly becoming so as cell phones and smart phones render landlines virtually obsolete.

For me to keep up with the latest in personal electronic gadgetry is one thing. For a credit union to keep up with the latest service delivery technologies is quite another.

If I invest in technology for my home that quickly becomes obsolete, no big deal. But if a credit union invests in a service delivery strategy that quickly becomes obsolete—that is a big deal.

Credit unions face the daunting task of figuring out which delivery channels members want, and what they will want in the future. Mobile banking looks like an investment many credit unions are willing to make.

And the investment might be more of a competitive necessity—all of the 10 largest retail banks in the U.S. currently offer mobile banking services.

Nearly 37% of U.S. adults whose primary financial institutions offer mobile banking have used it in the past year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. And in the first half of 2009, the phrase “mobile banking” appeared in direct mail offers more than twice as often as in the first half of 2008, according to Mintel Comperemedia.

Before spending a dime on any technology or delivery channel, analyze your local market conditions and conduct reliable member research so you build your service delivery strategies around members’ wants and needs.

STEVE RODGERS is editor of Credit Union Magazine.