It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on all industries, but financial services companies and credit unions in particular were hit especially hard.
It’s fair to say that credit unions faced significant challenges when the pandemic first reared its ugly head.
Keep reading to learn about some of these challenges and the progress that has been made in addressing them over the past year.
3 Challenges for Credit Unions Caused by COVID-19
Challenge #1: Rapid Transition to Remote Work
When COVID-19 first appeared, credit unions needed to transition to virtual interactions overnight, leaving behind the traditional face-to-face format the industry has known for decades.
Although this shift caused a ton of headaches, smart credit unions turned to remote work solutions that enabled them to work more productively and deliver strong digital experiences to their members.
Challenge #2: Limited Member Interactions
During the pandemic, foot traffic plummeted at credit unions. In an industry in which member experiences play a critical role in success, credit unions were forced to get creative when determining how to best serve members and personalize interactions in the limited time they had for each engagement.
Without being able to impress them face-to-face, credit unions focused intently on serving up positive experiences in drive-through teller engagements. At the same time, they invested resources into ensuring that members had pleasant experiences online, on apps, and over the phone.
Challenge #3: Survival in a Difficult Market
With interest rates on the decline, the market for credit unions appears likely to shrink in the coming years as investors eye more lucrative opportunities. Of course, the pandemic compounded this issue further, and perhaps accelerated that decline.
This is not to say that the future is bleak for credit unions—quite the contrary. In fact, there is a golden opportunity for credit unions to get ahead by using this transitional period to modernize their brands and differentiate their offerings.
How Credit Unions Have Made Progress During COVID-19
Though 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for all credit unions, a number of them rose to the occasion. Because of these smart moves, they’ll end up in a much stronger position when the pandemic is finally in the rearview mirror. Here’s why:
Accelerated Digital Transformation in Banking
Before the pandemic, many credit unions were in the middle of their digital transformations. But when COVID-19 kept us home, credit unions needed to accelerate their digital transformations in banking in order to continue providing value to their members.
If there was a silver lining to the virus, it’s that credit union digital transformation efforts rapidly matured—making it much easier for well-positioned credit unions to meet the goals outlined in the World Council of Credit Unions’ Challenge 2025 initiative.
Improved Company Cultures
In order for digital transformation efforts to succeed, cultures need to shift. If employees and members don’t buy into the new approach, great results aren’t possible.
Over the past year, credit unions have had no choice but to transition into digital-first company cultures that use technology to delight their members. These credit unions understand that, even when the pandemic passes, chances are the virtual approach to banking will eventually become the new normal. The sooner your credit union agrees with this reality, the faster you’ll be ready to thrive for years to come.
As the market continues to change, it’s important to bake continuous learning into the foundation of your credit union. Keep yourself informed about evolving consumer trends, and it’ll be that much easier to meet and exceed member expectations.
Helped Those Who Needed it Most
According to a recent Gallup survey, credit union members have been hit harder by the pandemic than the average American. During these turbulent times, members looked to their credit unions for hope, stress relief, and peace of mind.
Credit unions that were able to meet these needs no doubt earned the trust of their members, who will continue to trust them with their banking needs for years to come.
It’s Time to Continue Your Digital Transformation
Although you may have been able to get through the pandemic with an ad hoc approach to banking, every credit union needs purpose-built solutions designed to navigate the post-pandemic world with ease.
For more information on the easiest way to move your digital transformation efforts forward, check this out.