1. 2012-2013 Credit Union Environmental Scan, escan.cuna.org/planning
2. CUNA Financial Exchange white paper, cunatechnologycouncil.org; select
“white papers” under “tools and resources.”
CUNA Strategic Services alliance providers
Both credit unions and vendors recommend watching marketplace leaders such as Apple and Google to see how new applications and devices shape financial services and everyday products.
Credit unions must look beyond the financial services market to monitor new applications and approaches that change how we handle everyday tasks, says Gunsallus. Some new vehicles, for example, offer wi-fi hotspots and voice activation to interact with laptop computers.
As the timeline for consumer adoption becomes more compressed, credit unions must be prepared to act quickly and adapt technology to serve members in new ways.
“We need to watch these trends so we understand them when they take off,” Gunsallus says. That’s key to taking advantage of innovations that serve member needs.
DIEBOLD ON INNOVATION
Credit Union Magazine recently asked Diebold to share its impressions about technology innovation. Joerg Engelhardt, vice president, financial industry marketing, offers insight into what credit unions can expect to see in the months and years ahead.
CUMag: What innovative technologies does Diebold plan to provide in the next few years that are largely unknown technologies at this point?
Engelhardt: Many of the technologies Diebold introduces to the financial market aren’t unknown; it’s the application of the technology that’s unique. Diebold seeks innovative ways to apply technologies that have already been proven in other industries. And we do this in a way that supports a credit union’s business priorities of increasing operational efficiency and improving member experiences.
Technology in today’s environment is not “one size fits all.” Technology providers and service firms are doing more to customize technology applications to ensure the solutions credit unions are implementing are strategically integrated with their existing business structures. Because technology—both on the provider and the credit union sides—changes rapidly, service-based partnerships are emerging as a preferred business model.
CUMag: What’s the most revolutionary technology you foresee will make a big impact on credit union operations, marketing, or other disciplines in the next decade?
Engelhardt: Mobile technology already has changed the consumer landscape and will continue to revolutionize how credit unions interact with their members and recruit new members. But a credit union’s focus shouldn’t be solely on what technology to deploy—it also must be on how the technology is applied.
Some technology providers might aggressively push credit unions to adopt the latest and greatest mobile tools or functionality, but mobile implementation must be done strategically. Credit unions should start by determining how the mobile channel should be integrated with existing channels in a way that meets consumers’ expectations and is consistent with the credit union’s business priorities.
CUMag: What technologies will be most helpful to credit unions in competing with banks, payday lenders, online financial providers, and nontraditional financial providers in the decade ahead?
Engelhardt: The key is “connectedness.” Knowing what offers to market, knowing each member’s preferred mode of interaction, advising members on the best plans of action for their financial situations, and understanding or anticipating each member’s financial needs will help to build the trust that it takes to keep and retain lasting relationships.
The emergence and rapid growth of mobile has heightened consumer expectations, and highlights the need to be strategic when incorporating new technologies. Credit unions shouldn’t adopt new technology just because it’s “hot.” They need to validate that there’s a need from the members’ standpoint before jumping on the latest technology bandwagon. If there is a need for a new technology, credit unions should implement it strategically, so it’s integrated with other offerings and not a stand-alone component.
For the past decade or so, credit unions have explored options for transforming branches in a way that combines key technologies to support process efficiency. Diebold works with credit unions to implement branch transformations across all channels in a way that drives member retention and consumer experience.
The result is a true experience-based sales environment in the branch, and a deep connectivity across all delivery channels. This environment enables credit unions to implement new technologies strategically to benefit members and the credit union.
CUMag: To grow, credit unions must attract and retain younger members. How will technology assist credit unions in this pursuit?
Engelhardt: While attracting and retaining younger members is important, credit unions must not lose sight of other valuable demographic sets. Baby boomers and Gen Xers are the bread and butter of a credit union’s member base and their needs should be considered, too. The purchase of iPads among middle-age business professionals, and their eagerness to conduct financial transactions on those iPads is stunning.
A 50-year-old member and a 24-year-old member can look very similar to a credit union when it comes to channel use. So development, implementation, and member education of these solutions should take both demographics into account.