This month you’ll read all about the “next normal” for credit unions as we enter a January that looks much different than last year’s.
There was a little bit of normal in 2020 for credit unions. You served members when they needed it the most as financial first responders when the pandemic hit, and you’re helping them get back on track as we try to come out of it.
It is normal for credit unions to be there for our members in good times and bad. But we need to look at what “being there” means.
Our COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Task Force said in its latest industry outlook that the pandemic has hit fast forward on the digitization of financial services.
With in-branch visits and even ATM trips limited by current circumstances, how will you ensure your members can access their money when they need it most?
Convenience, simplicity, speed, empathy, personalization are all demands of the 21st century consumer, and we need to be well-equipped to meet these demands.
This kind of transformation—along with continued innovative products and services and exceptional member service—are how credit unions secure a place in the post-pandemic economy.
The products and services you created directly in response to your members’ needs in the face of the fastest economic collapse in history are a great start.
Continuing to enhance the member experience, keeping pace with the evolution of payments, and leveraging the benefits of data analytics are more than task force recommendations, they’re essential elements of modern financial institutions.
And while the next normal involves a degree of self-reflection, we also need to turn outward. We need to tell our story.
We can’t be shy, we can’t be bashful, we can’t take for granted that policymakers know everything we do for their communities.
Instead, we need to leverage each success story we have into another success by telling decision makers what you’ve done and how you can do it better with their help.
If you haven’t participated in credit union advocacy before, there aren’t any more excuses. Every story we tell is a living, breathing example of the credit union difference and its potential to change members’ lives.
“Normal” for credit unions is people helping people—what we’ve done for nearly 90 years—and what we’ll continue to do. The “next” part means we have to find ways to reach more people with the credit union difference with the tools at our disposal.
Credit unions have done incredible things over the last year, but we’re capable of more.
Let’s do more in 2021.
JIM NUSSLE is president/CEO of Credit Union National Association.