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Digital Meets Personal: Building Stronger Credit Union Experiences in the Era of COVID & Beyond

Jul 31, 2020 4:40:02 PM

Create a digital and in-person credit union experience that solidifies existing relationships and attracts new members.

Credit unions hold the distinct advantage of being one of the last bastions of close, long-standing customer relationships in the banking world. Unlike traditional banks—many of which feature centralized decision-making and out-of-state headquarters—credit unions are truly community- and member-focused.

These facts were never more evident than during the peak of the COVID crisis, when customers were forced to use drive-throughs, ATMs and other solutions to interact virtually with their financial institutions. As the United States emerges from pandemic-related shutdowns, credit unions are now well positioned to continue using a combination of in-person and digital solutions to solidify the bonds they’ve formed with their members.

Answering the Call to Create a Hybrid Credit Union Experience

Whether they’re offering regular banking accounts, personal loans, mortgages, or PPP/SBA loans, credit unions can now use technology to:

  1. Bring their operations into the digital age and
  2. Serve a wider member base that wants the convenience of using modern tools.

According to Credit Union Times, credit unions nationwide embraced these opportunities in earnest when the pandemic hit in early 2020 to help their communities, offer new programs and provide emergency assistance.

“Phones started ringing, online banking business shot up, and a new generation of credit union members was born,” the site claims. And it didn’t come as a surprise that this new generation had different expectations than its predecessors. Meeting those expectations in a meaningful way involved instituting mobile banking, remote deposit capture, Internet banking and other modern tools.

“The first week of the pandemic we saw a surge in remote access because all of our clients were now working remotely, so there was some slowdown,” one credit union executive told Credit Union Times. “Then online transaction volume increased as well. So we doubled every digital channel 50 to 100%. We saw a 50 to 100% increase in our electronic transfers, a huge influx since the credit union lobbies were shut down.”

Another executive said his credit union’s active voice response capacity doubled from 55,000 a week to 110,000 a week during the pandemic. “Everybody was checking their balances, with a lot of members checking through interactive voice response. In addition, we saw a surge with mobile access — more than 60,000 were using mobile banking.”

While many organizations doubled down on their efforts to modernize the virtual credit union experience, prioritizing digital transformation didn’t come naturally for those who were behind the tech curve when COVID hit. Bogged down by manual processes, proprietary technology systems, Excel spreadsheets and a lot of paper, these institutions lacked the digital/remote infrastructure needed to ensure the safety and convenience of both employees and members.

As a key member of the leadership team of your credit union, here’s why this may be keeping you up at night as you look to the future: 

  • COVID has emphasized the need for digital processes and considerations for how members might feel about the branch if in-person isn’t possible.
  • Just because you’re reopening your doors doesn’t mean that members are walking through those doors.
  • With a second phase of COVID anticipated later this year, you’re probably thinking now about the next potential business disruption.

 

Breaking Out of the “Lobby Mindset”

By connecting digital banking with the in-person experience, you can break out of the lobby mindset and begin serving a larger swath of existing and new customers. Because the credit union experience is now a continuum — and not just based on face-to-face contact — every interaction counts. Here are some key issues to consider when shaping this continuum:

How can you create consistent experiences as you rotate staff and work remotely?

Develop a playbook that all employees can work from when interacting with customers, and even when those employees and/or customers aren’t necessarily face to face on a regular basis.

What kind of drive-through experience — the “new normal” interaction point — are you offering your members?

Consider going beyond the “drop the documents in the chute” mindset, and encourage tellers to engage in conversation with members, ask them how they’re doing, and inform them of any new services that the credit union is offering.

Is paper so important that members must travel to a branch to conduct transactions? And, what do members really need to walk into your branch to do?

If paper transactions and walk-ins aren’t needed, then a mobile app can help fill the void and allow members to do business with you without having to visit a branch.

How can you personalize digital interactions in a way that reflects the in-person experience?

Use branding, the credit union’s logo, color schemes, and engaging messaging to help members feel like they’re still connected to your organization.

How can you better take members’ concerns into account?

Poll members on a regular basis to find out 1) whether your new/current offerings are meeting their needs, and 2) what you can be doing better. Use these insights to shift your strategies and improve member retention.

CDP Offers More Options for Your Members

Because more members are opting for hybrid credit union experiences, offering seamless, off-site interactions and transactions will help you stand out from the crowd. CDP’s experienced team of digital transformation consultants can help you execute a plan that supports your in-person services with virtual solutions to serve members safely and most efficiently.

Available at a lower price point and with more flexibility than DocuSign or Adobe Sign, CDP’s eSign lets you quickly and easily send and receive digital documents and obtain digital signatures from members on demand. Best of all, your employees can be trained and onboarded with the technology within just 15 minutes.

With eSign from CDP, credit unions can:

  • Send any document from any system
  • Sign quickly and easily from anywhere on any device
  • Request and receive supporting documents (e.g., driver’s license, W-2s, etc.)
  • Use mobile device cameras to share supporting documents
  • Save time with document templates
  • Customize a workflow to add multiple signers
  • Automatically capture detailed audit trails to legally validate signed documents

Click here to learn more about how this advanced eSignature platform can help your credit union solidify its current relationships and attract new members as you move into the future of the financial industry.

esignatures for banks and credit unions

Kait Kluz
Written by Kait Kluz

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