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Credit unions engaging with digital transformation

A recent study, involving 221 credit union employees, conducted by CO-OP Financial Services, found that 88 percent of respondents indicated that digital transformation is something that is either “quite” or “extremely” important. The advantages of doing so are linked with increasing membership and with this market share.

The main headlines from the survey were:

73 percent of respondents stated their credit union is planning to increase budgets for digital initiatives in the next year.
However, just 44 percent rated the experience of digital transformation to date as “good” and 10 percent considered their credit union was meeting a high standard.

While the survey showed the importance placed on digital transformation, the reality was that few credit unions have actually succeeded in implementing a major overall of their operations. The primary reason for this was found to be a lack of investment.

Other reasons hampering digital transformation were lack of resources; an inability to innovate quickly and effectively; a tired IT infrastructure and limited technological capabilities among staff and outside partners.

Looking at this issue further, in an interview with the financial website PYMNTS, Matt Kardell, chief revenue officer of CO-OP, stated that despite restrictions it was imperative that credit unions have a “forward-thinking approach in not having to build a digital infrastructure themselves.” This meant seeking out partners to develop digital operations. In addition, credit unions could seek to work together in order to pool innovation costs.

Kardell also emphasized that credit unions must survey their own members to find out what is important to members in terms of using digital services. This survey needs to drive some of the digital changes, including areas like ease-of-use and data security. This is also a two-way process, for credit unions also need to educate members about the benefits of digital services.

One concern expressed by the process is with credit unions keeping their distinct identify and not being simply seen as online banks offering credit and debit services. One strength of credit unions is developing member relations and the digital process needs to ensure this trust relationship is not lost.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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