Data and the digital business model were the two trends from the 2019-2020 CUNA Environment Scan that Jeff Rendel, president of Rising Above Enterprises, explored during an Executive Series presentation Wednesday at the America’s Credit Union Conference at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida.
The protection of data is at the front of members’ minds. “Data and information are just as important as assets and loans,” says Rendel, who notes that credit unions should always remind members that they verify identities and keep their email addresses safe.
Training for both information technology employees and front-line staff is also important to protect member information, he says.
Artificial intelligence is another way credit unions are harvesting and leveraging data. “This type of technology doesn’t mean the human touch is going away,” Rendel says. “Artificial intelligence adds convenience; humans still provide guidance and support.”
But credit unions still have not adopted data analytics strategies to leverage member information, Rendel says. “We have so much information available to us already,” he says. “Let’s take a good hard look at our core information and maximize what we have at our fingertips. “
He notes that satisfaction surveys show members are happier when they hear from their financial institutions more frequently.
Today’s credit unions are moving towards a more digital model to meet members’ demands for around-the-clock access. “Across all generations, members reach for their smart phones first,” Rendel says. “You have to have a mobile-first philosophy in your delivery and you have to have a mobile-first philosophy in your marketing.”
That trend has affected branches as well. “The branch is not going away but it’s changing,” Rendel says. “The branch is smaller. Even when members visit branches, they’re using more transactions to do their business. Branches even look different.”
Financial institutions—and all retailers--are using digital and data to make an emotional connection with consumers. To emotionally connect with consumers requires both technology and the human touch to support it, Rendel says.
Those organizations that establish emotional connections with individuals generate more profits and have higher retention rates. Those individuals are more likely to view the credit union as their primary financial institutions.
Rendel left attendees with three things to focus on: