Ben Rempe

Identify this year’s best tech investments

Learn about six key steps that can inform technology decisions.

March 10, 2021

More than ever, the message is loud and clear to traditional financial institutions—a dollar invested in delivering top-notch service through technology is not a dollar wasted. Consider that it’s a dollar more valuable than the rest—one with the ability to yield multifold returns by the year’s end.

You don’t need all the answers or an oversized budget to get started. In fact, knowing you don’t have all the answers is likely the very best way to get started.

The road to success is paved with many steps. Here are six keys to get you started.

  1. Look at where you’re diverging from the top performers. There are plenty of tools out there to show you how you’re faring against the competition. Where are you falling behind?
  2. Pick one lagging area to improve. Identify one place where injecting technology can help close the gap with your key competitors. Do you want to streamline internal processes, increase efficiency, or enhance a customer-facing tool? (Bonus: you’ll soon discover how improvements in this area impact others.)
  3. Commit to an open mind. It sounds easy enough, but this step might actually be the most difficult. It requires a degree of vulnerability to rethink your approaches and be open to the idea that they may no longer serve you well.
  4. Bring together a diverse set of internal team members. Gather a mix of employees with different lenses on the issue. Give them problem-solving license to be creative and innovative and see what happens. This is a simple but powerful exercise.
  5. Identify best practices. You don’t need to come up with a major disruptive solution to effectively compete today. To start, ensure you’re at least offering what your competitors are and make your best effort to do it well.
  6. Talk to your members. The pandemic made social distancing the norm, but even when more people filled the lobby, how many of your interactions were meaningful? Do you gather useful feedback about what you could do better? If you aren’t, pick up the phone or send a personal email.

You might be surprised at which “small” things can make a big difference. For example, consider the ability to start a loan online with a prefilled application and the ability to electronically sign documents. These conveniences shape the way your members feel about your credit union—and whether they’ll stay with you further down the road.

This mini-road map will identify the right intersection of creativity, practicality, and customer needs for your 2021 technology game plan. Follow these simple but important steps and you’ll be off and running in the right direction.

BEN REMPE is chief operating officer at LenderClose, which leverages technology to help credit unions reimagine the lending process for speed, efficiency, and exceptional borrower experience.