The uncertainty surrounding daily life during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shows that how credit unions address members’ day-to-day needs is just as—or more—important than the products and services they offer to assist with major life moments.
“How do you think about the member’s life journey?” says Todd Clark, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services, a CUNA associate business member at the elite level. “We tend to only think of certain milestones, but between those milestones there are many moments where we can engage with members. Credit unions must capture the everyday engagement.”
During CO-OP Think20 Virtual, Clark spoke about the need to build relationships with members that focus not only on moments associated with life stages—such as mortgages, vehicle loans, or student loans—but also those moments associated with a member’s lifestyle—the everyday moments where members need their financial institution.
During COVID-19, Clark says credit unions have seen declines in traditional loans—vehicle loans, mortgages, student loans—as members opt to save instead of borrowing. At the same time, some members have more immediate needs, such as finding emergency sources of funds to meet basic needs due to loss of income from the pandemic.
The pandemic also has shown the importance of digital options and their role in the future.
During the pandemic, credit unions and members have had to shift to using digital options, such as remote deposit capture, online banking, and interactive teller machines, as credit unions closed lobbies and switched to drive-thru banking or mobile offerings to ensure safety.
Members have also increased their use of digital payments. Clark believes that will continue to grow in the future as contactless payments become more common.
To build personal financial relationships with members, Clark suggests focusing on building trust, looking out for members’ financial wellness, and providing the delivery platforms members need and want are available.
“Build a member experience that will earn that relationship,” Clark says. “Think of how you can humanize the technology and get members to engage with that technology, but still have a way to connect them with a real person if that technology isn’t working.”