CUNA Mutual Group: 5 reasons to make convenience a strategic priority

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Consumer demand for convenience is impacting the consumer experience like never before. According to Rich Trace, VP of wholesale lending and commercial protection for CUNA Mutual Group, these are the five reasons why success may very well depend on how convenient it is for members to do business with a credit union:

Competition gets it. Competitors realize that consumers increasingly prefer conducting business when and where it is available to them. Over 70 percent of financial institutions said that improving the customer’s digital experience was their top priority in 2017.

Convenience goes both ways. Trace explained that consumers will take the path of least resistance, as long as it delivers value and meets their needs. One clear sign is the fact that online-virtual banks had the highest net gain (11 percent) among customers switching their financial services provider in 2016.

Mobile is a must. Face-to-face interaction isn’t dead, but the prognosis is not a positive outlook. As smartphones get smarter and deliver more convenience, mobile is growing as the channel of choice. The use of mobile banking grew 33 percent in 2013 to 43 percent in 2015 among mobile phone owners with a financial services account, according to the Federal Reserve.

Technology revolution is picking-up speed. From ATMs to debit cards to mobile banking, there used to be a lag between the next big innovations with time to react. That is not the case today, not with investment in fintech having risen in the past decade – from $1.8 billion in 2010 to $19 billion in 2015.

You may have blinders on. It is important not to assume that members already have found convenience and have little reason to leave. Trace discovered how a study found that 62 percent of retail banking executives surveyed said they deliver an excellent customer experience. Only 35 percent of customers agreed.

As members continue to migrate toward the most convenient channels available, successful credit unions will empower their members to manage their finances as easily as possible.

Trace outlined the following three keys to success:

  • delivering a streamlined, efficient end-to-end lending process to support credit union growth;
  • using digital tools to engage credit union employees and equip them to better meet evolving member expectations; and
  • understanding that data is a roadmap to tendencies and behaviors that focus on how to optimize member interactions.

Delivering convenience is important to meeting members’ expectations, it is a never-ending process. As simple as it can for members to join and do business with credit unions, it is also just as easy for members to leave.

Rich Trace is VP of wholesale lending and commercial protection for CUNA Mutual Group, the leading provider of insurance and financial services to credit unions and their members. He can be contacted at Rich.Trace@cunamutual.com.

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