The Credit Union System COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Task Force released new findings for credit unions regarding business continuity, digital services and automation, staffing and operations, and industry financial impact Thursday.
“Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the credit union business environment has evolved as staff members shift to remote work and attention to providing digital financial products grows,” said Greg Michlig, CUNA chief engagement officer. “The Task Force is actively and collectively thinking through ways we can provide strategic insights for credit unions as they continue to adapt to the realities of the COVID-19 world.”
For credit union members, the expectation for service has seen a residual increase due to the migration to a mostly digital environment. Credit unions have adopted a more strategic approach to staff training to better equip employees to provide stellar digital service to their members. The path forward for many credit unions will be a hybrid approach to service, combining both digital and face-to-face interactions.
Some credit unions on the task force are looking to modify their structure to support universal banker roles as they repurpose facilities that were intended to for large volume, in-person transactional services. Many credit unions have already made this transition this over the past several years while others have kept more traditional service models in place. One of the obstacles noted was a perceived lack of planning and training tools around implementation of universal banking practices.
CUNA has endeavored to meet this need with 32 CPD Online modules on universal employees.
As part of the shift to digital service, technological innovations such as contactless card payments, DocuSign and eSign services, e-notaries, and virtual teller technology have seen an uptick across the industry. As credit unions look to maximize returns on investment, there will likely be a push to further integrate tech services into core platforms.
The pandemic has also magnified the need for Americans to address financial well-being; economic disparities have grown, putting consumers who were struggling pre-COVID-19 into worse financial straits. To address this reality, credit unions have dedicated additional resources to financial counseling so that staff can improve members’ financial journeys.
Data sharing has also been a critical issue during task force meetings. The Leagues and CUNA are partnering to collect data from credit unions across the country regarding loans, mortgage forbearance and extensions, fee waivers, loan payment extensions, PPP loans, and new products. To minimize duplicative efforts in the marketplace, Inclusiv has joined data collection efforts.
With representatives from a number of credit union organizations participating, there has been an opportunity to discuss macro trends in lending as it relates to more specific categories, while gathering observations and operational impacts from the credit unions on the task force.
At the most recent meeting, Kristina Grebener, CUNA vice president of market intelligence, shared survey results and information gathered from CUNA Communities and CUNA Council member discussions on COVID-state credit union operations. The task force also heard an update on data collection practices and insights from League presidents, the Filene Research Institute and Inclusiv. In addition, Terence Roche, co-founder and partner with Cornerstone Advisors, presented an overview of research their organization has done throughout the financial services sector.
The CU System COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Task Force brings together representatives from the three-tiered system of credit unions, Leagues and CUNA, along with system providers and affiliated organizations, to discuss strategies, resources and best practices for credit unions as they operate in the shifting environment of the COVID-19 pandemic.