Foster Financial Inclusion at Your CU

 

More than half of adult consumers in the US are financially unhealthy, according to a study from the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI). And of the 1 in 5 Americans who have no bank account, all of them often choose to use nonbank options rather than your member-centered credit union. So how do we increase access to credit union services in a way that captures this huge potential member audience?

Financial inclusion is a concept that is defined by many factors, but the main goal is to ensure that all communities, regardless of race, status, or financial education, have equal access to credit union services and opportunities.

Here are some ways you can foster financial inclusion at your credit union.

Create Digital Solutions

Your members should be from all walks of life. And digital tools are the best way to foster equality in terms of financial barriers to entry. Some of the main reasons people choose not to use banking or credit union services include things like the branch’s hours of operation not working for their schedule, and the inconvenience it causes them when they have to go out of their way and physically visit one of your locations.   

Digital tools can help remove those barriers and create meaningful progress toward full financial inclusion.

These tools can be member-facing or in the background.

For member-facing digital tools, one of the most popular recently has been the inclusion of online self-service forms, account opening, and web loan applications.

And these member-facing solutions are only as good as the digital infrastructure that supports them. That’s why it’s also important to use a leading provider of enterprise data protection like IMS to keep things running smoothly with solutions like compliance and IaaS.

Mobile solutions are also a growing sector within the digital banking realm. Accessibility in banking means meeting your members where it is most convenient for them, whether that’s in your lobby, in their home office, or in their phone screen.

Keep Up with Industry News

Recently, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion was created by Chairwoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and Ranking Member Ann Wagner (R-MO).

The goal of the committee is to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the financial and banking sectors. Part of the committee’s purpose is to introduce new legislation (called the Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act) that includes expanding classifications for credit unions as “low-income” credit unions. This would mean that if any area is more than 10 miles from the nearest branch of a financial institution, it would receive the “low-income” distinction.

The bill that includes this change would also allow federal credit unions to add these underserved communities to their field of membership.

Legislation is changing all the time, and another way to increase financial inclusion in your credit union and its practices is to keep your ear to the ground when it comes to developing initiatives. Using your credit union’s status and expertise to weigh in on and share important changes to the system can also help educate members and non-members alike.

Share the Importance of Moving Banked Dollars into CUs

Certain big businesses, like NerdWallet, have recently moved assets from big banks into CDs (Certificate of Deposit) in an effort to create more equity in communities that are disproportionately struggling due to the pandemic.

Investments made in order to bring assets to credit unions are a surefire way to help individuals and businesses in your CU’s community. You can encourage and ask bigger businesses with ties to your communities to help in these efforts.

Now, more consumers are holding big businesses accountable and asking that they show their commitment to the communities that support them by giving back to those communities.

Doing this through a credit union can help those individuals and businesses get the same financial opportunities given by big banks, and even get them at competitive rates.

Embrace BNPL

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solutions are gaining popularity across the country as we work to decrease the number of unbanked and underbanked individuals. This practice allows  

Credit unions can combat the need for prepaid cards in underserved communities by offering BNPL and other debit-forward options with no added fees. This allows you to create meaningful relationships with these communities. You can also use these products and services to boost financial inclusion in the communities your credit union serves.

Use Your Data to Create an Inclusive Future for Your CU

Your data is the gateway to help people access your credit union services. It’s also a way to foster membership growth, problem-solving and troubleshooting, and so much more. In order to promote financial inclusion, it’s important to create a digital atmosphere that can support all of your members’ diverse and unique needs.

The IMS DataArchiver saves up to 80% of primary storage costs and is scalable to manage unlimited file servers in a distributed environment with zero disruption to end-users.


CU Tips for Serving the Unbanked & Underbanked

 

The Federal Reserve has reported that 22% of US adults are unbanked or underbanked. And one of the top reasons Americans report not wanting to put their financial assets into the hands of banks and credit unions is because they don’t trust them.

But this puts credit unions at an advantage over big banks – many Americans struggle with brand trust, especially with for-profit brands. Credit unions are financial institutions that only exist to serve specific communities, industries, and areas. Here are some tips for using your credit union to better serve the unbanked and underbanked.

Build from Your Foundation

As we mentioned, credit unions are built on brand trust – they are non-profit organizations owned by their members.

The first thing you should be doing is educating your communities (both in-person and online) about these advantages. It’s hard for the unbanked and underbanked to have the same trust issues with your credit unions when they, as members, are the owners and primary beneficiaries of your products and services. As more and more people become distrustful of big business, it’s important to remind your members and non-members alike that you are here for them.

Regain Market Share from Payday Lenders

According to a recent article from the Credit Union Times, unsecured consumer loans account for less than 10% of credit union’s loan portfolios, but make up 100% of the portfolios for payday lenders. The article posits, “one could argue that payday lenders are already making more money serving the underbanked than credit unions serving the banked in the same product category.”

By using your recently-implemented online products and services at your credit union, you could take back this market share and still make a good profit, even by offering loans that cap at 18% APR. Compared to the 400-500% being charged by payday lenders, this not only can help you generate more business for your credit union, but it also offers unbanked and underbanked individuals a great opportunity to start building brand trust. This could even lead to more of these people choosing to become members of your credit union.

Focus on the Needs of Low-Income Communities

Most unbanked and underbanked individuals are found in lower-income communities. While that community may only be a part of the areas you serve, it’s still important to create connections within it.

A great way to foster those connections is to partner with local non-profits. These organizations operate as food banks, community centers, minority-led professional associations, and other businesses.

Focus on creating business relationships with non-profits that can help you grow your membership while you help them get their products and services more attention.

You can offer financial literacy and education classes at local community centers or set up a booth at a community event to offer quick budgeting consultations to underbanked and unbanked individuals. And then you can put out donation jars or other marketing materials from your non-profit partner. You can also feature them at your next community event or become a sponsor for their next program.

Part of expanding your services to the unbanked and underbanked is meeting them where they are.

Re-Examine Your Minimums and Other Fees

According to a detailed paper from The Clearing House, thee of the top four cited reasons people do not have a bank account include:

  • Not having enough money to meet the minimum balance requirements
  • Don’t trust banks
  • Bank fees are too high

These issues have the potential to be solved through a re-examination of your credit union’s current fees, minimum requirements, and other potential barriers to entry.

The unpredictability of these fees also drives away the unbanked and underbanked. In a study cited by the paper, one of the main reasons people choose payday lenders (whose services virtually always cost more to use than a bank or credit union) is because many check-cashing customers “preferred to pay predictable flat fees they understand, rather than incur unexpected charges.”

Simplicity and transparency are worth more than stability in their finances. These brand trust issues run deeply through the unbanked and underbanked, and that distrust has to be addressed by your credit union if you hope to grow your membership.

Use Your Expertise & Assets to Educate

Part of what keeps people unbanked and underbanked is the distrust in the motives of financial institutions. Historically, those with fewer or less reliable assets are preyed upon by banks who look to hike interest rates as well as other penalties and fees. This creates a cycle that keeps unbanked and underbanked individuals in their current situation. And partnering with a bank that doesn’t have their best interests in mind only perpetuates and exacerbates the debt cycle for these people.

To help bridge the gaps between your credit union and the unbanked and underbanked populations, you can use your expertise, educational resources, and online assets to create connections with these individuals.

Even just running a few marketing campaigns online and via social media could pull in new prospects that have unique needs your credit union is already able to assist with.

Next-Level Credit Union Solutions

Unbanked and underbanked individuals may not bring record-breaking cash amounts into your business, but it’s important to serve this subset of your community to create more diversity in your membership. It’s also a great way to show your members that serving them, in any capacity, is your credit union’s top priority.

When serving your members is your main concern, it’s easy to push other things aside, like data management, backups, and disaster recovery, or IaaS. At IMS, we are created to provide you with the private cloud services you need to keep your operations running smoothly. IMS uses the premier backup solution for credit unions, which can give you peace of mind as you work to improve your credit union for your staff and your members.


6 CU Tips for National Credit Education Month

 

 

March is National Credit Education Month! This is a great time to help educate your credit union members about credit health, establishing credit, and much more.

Younger generations of credit union and banking members are more inclined to use debit solutions. But credit is an important facet of financial health, and this is the month to highlight your CU solutions.

Here are some of our favorite tips for celebrating National Credit Education Month.

Focus on Providing Credit Education

One thing that credit unions do better than any other financial institution is educating members. The secrets to credit health aren’t hoarded within the vaults of your CU; you are here to help your members create the best version of their financial lives.

Focus on providing resources to your member base. This could include helping them determine the best online sites for free credit scores and monitoring or enrolling them in specific classes or webinars to help boost their credit confidence.

Many Gen Z members and younger Millennials are hoping to buy their first homes in the next several years. And many of them don’t have enough established lines of credit to qualify for home loans. Now is the perfect time to help educate them on how to create and manage these lines of credit responsibly.

Offer classes or online resources (blog articles, infographics) about:

  • different types of installment loans
  • revolving credit
  • home equity
  • hard versus soft inquiries
  • collections
  • how to deal with errors in your credit
  • and more

And don’t forget to include any educational assets that are unique to or created by your credit union itself.

Help Members Make Plans to Improve Their Credit Score This Year

After educating your audience, you can help them incorporate these newfound concepts into real-life practices.

It’s been another tough year for your members. More COVID-implemented protections are being rolled back, including the resumption of federal student loan payments expected to begin on May 1, 2022.

There are many steps you can advise your members to take that will create good credit momentum, including:

  • Setting up automatic payments
  • Paying down balances
  • Addressing, negotiating, or disputing debt that is in collections
  • Getting a small 6 to 24-month “credit builder” loan
  • Opting for secure credit cards
  • Keeping old credit accounts open even if you’re not using them

Practical tips and “life hack” style advice are not just trendy clickbait. They’re also impactful for those struggling to get back on their feet after the economic disasters of the last few years. Offer your members some hope this year and use National Credit Education Month to help them spring forward into a better year!

Credit Tracking

Those Credit Karma commercials were right – many people still don’t know what constitutes a hard or soft check on your credit. National Credit Education Month is a great time to feature helpful tools for checking credit that don’t impact a member’s credit score.

You can create blog or social media content comparing the different free websites and tools that are available. You can also offer consultations and educational sessions to help members navigate their credit score tracking journeys.

Offer Budgeting Courses

Your credit union likely already has staff members who are well-versed in helping your members learn how to budget. Or maybe you have budget templates available for those who are interested. Either way, a successful budget education and implementation can change a credit union member’s life. And you are already likely putting in the work to help educate your members on how to budget, so why not highlight those services this month?

Tailor E-Statements to Include More Credit Insights

Another quick way to help celebrate National Credit Education Month is to include more credit-related insights, tips, and tricks on your members’ e-statements. This gives them personalized information about their credit health and adds value to your membership offerings.

This can be done in conjunction with social media posts, email campaigns, and more quick reference materials that encourage your audience to connect with professionals at your credit union.

Educate Your Staff

Speaking of credit union professionals, your staff is another great resource for this month. Offer them some additional education on providing insights to your members about credit checks, resources, and more.

If your staff is encouraged to learn or re-learn this information, your members will benefit from that education too.

Credit Union Solutions: Data Discovery & Storage

We are in a data crisis. There is so much data being generated and stored via various channels that intersect with your credit union. It’s impossible for your staff to keep up without help. That’s why IMS offers targeted technology, tailored specifically to credit union operations.

The IMS DataArchiver saves up to 80% of primary storage costs, and significantly reduces backup times. Our solution is scalable to manage unlimited file servers in a distributed environment with zero disruption to end-users.


Managing CU Employee Turnover

 

There are several workplace trends that will affect how your credit union weathers 2022 and beyond. One of the most significant is the competition for attracting and retaining talent. 2021 saw the Great Resignation, a movement characterized by massive amounts of people quitting their jobs to look for work that better suits their lifestyle.

So, what can you do to keep your credit union adequately staffed? Let’s go through some leadership tactics for managing credit union employee turnover.

Do Your Retention Research

Though it is an incredibly useful tool, many companies don’t conduct exit interviews, either in certain instances or at all.

There are many ways to use your own workforce to discover insights into curbing employee turnover trends. It’s important to open more lines of communication between all levels of employees when it comes to expectations, compensation, and conflict resolution.

Employees are quicker than ever to leave a company if they feel they aren’t being heard or treated fairly. Your first move in curbing credit union employee turnover should be to implement strategies and opportunities for staff members to share thoughts and concerns with leadership teams. And these opportunities should be presented in a way that is actionable and truly taken seriously.

Some things to think about:

  • How do employees view communication channels between themselves and your credit union? Are they effective, transparent, and impactful?
  • How do your employees feel about their roles and responsibilities? Have their feelings changed recently? What has caused those changes?
  • Are there improvements that could be made to help foster communication between leaders, employees, and peers?

Evaluate Management Protocols & Training

Employee turnover is often caused by negative relationships between employees and management and a lack of trust in an organization.

When it comes to improving these relationships, it’s important to know what you are working with in the beginning. Do your management teams have training that allows them to resolve conflict effectively? Or are you just leaving your managers to use their best judgment and escalate issues to HR if they are uncomfortable continuing certain conversations?

Evaluating your management protocols and training in regard to communication and transparency is a critical piece of the credit union employee retention plan.

Employees don’t leave bad companies; they leave bad managers. And this is truer than ever. Employee engagement can be tough, and stagnation can happen at all levels of leadership. That’s why manager training should be refreshed periodically to improve managers’ emotional intelligence levels as well as their interpersonal skills.

Your managers (should) already demonstrate that they can manage credit union employees and operations. The training they need is more valuable when it’s focused on how to effectively manage and evaluate people and their emotions.

Focus on Fostering Purpose and Upholding Values

Credit union employee turnover goes down when individuals feel like they have a strong purpose and direction driving their work. While we can’t all have jobs where we save lives or help people in need, there are many ways to instill a sense of individual purpose in your employees.

Leaders should foster interactions where each employee is being recognized for fulfilling their professional purpose. We can take a hint from the number of nurses who are upset at having worked through a global pandemic and then being rewarded with tumblers or pizza parties. Efforts should be put forth to create meaningful recognition of individual employee purpose.

Another way to foster purpose and instill a sense of integrity is to make sure employees at all levels of leadership are upholding the values that adorn your walls and websites. If your mission, vision, and values don’t match your work environment, credit union employee retention gets much harder.

Leaders Partner with Other Leaders – Like IMS

IMS is the leading backup, disaster recovery, and IaaS service provider for credit unions. We know how important it is for credit unions of all sizes – from Fortune 500 companies to local one-branch CUS – to safeguard your member data at all times and in all circumstances.

Browse these and other offerings here on our website or contact us today!


How to Embrace the Future of Digital Banking

 

When we talk about the future of banking, a lot of that future is rooted in the digital transformation that will take place in the next several years. Online loan applications, cryptocurrency – these services and more will be the differentiators for success as we move through 2022 and beyond. Here’s how your credit union can embrace the future of digital banking.

What Is Digital Banking?

Digital banking used to mean your members could log into an online account to see their balances and perform funds transfers from one financial account to another. But today, digital banking has expanded so much that your members rarely – if ever – have to visit one of your physical locations to perform any financial activity that will be run through your systems.

It’s not just about convenience, digital banking is about ultra-convenience for your members. Netflix, Amazon, and social media sites use data and other digital tools to make every user’s experience highly personalized – this is becoming a standard to which all B2C businesses are expected to reach in order to maintain member satisfaction.

Embracing Embedded Banking

You don’t have to leave your house to get groceries, prescriptions, Christmas presents, dog food, or to pay your mortgage or car payments anymore – and members like it this way. That one-stop-shop website model is becoming the expectation for your members. Embedded banking may seem like a complex phrase, but it just means that your members are doing their banking without having to visit a bank or credit union website, app, or physical location.

An example of embedded banking is the presence of mortgage applications and services being promoted on real estate sites where your members are browsing available homes in their desired area. Rather than creating financial services that must be accessed separately from the need they are born from, we’ll see more and more companies partnering to allow for end-to-end transactions. You can go to a car dealership and get a loan right then and there through partnerships between the dealership and their chosen financial institution, and savvy consumers will gravitate towards that all-inclusive model because it’s more convenient.

Facial Recognition

One of the fastest-growing authorization tools for financial accounts is biometric access. This includes fingerprints and, most recently, facial recognition. 15% to 20% of US financial institutions are already using facial recognition, coupled with other best practices when it comes to multi-factor authentication, to give members access to their financial information online.

Virtual Branches

The need to “speak to a representative” will never go away. People still like talking to and connecting with real people when they give a business their patronage. Since the start of the pandemic, virtual branches have become increasingly popular as a way to bridge the gap between in-person interaction and the convenience of digital banking solutions.

Virtual branches are digital platforms that simulate the conversation that occurs in a regular branch and rely on diverse communication tools like web, mobile chat, video, co-browsing, and document or screen sharing, according to American Banker.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service: Serve Members While We Cover Your Servers

Your data, servers, and digital banking operations shouldn’t need babysitting. That’s why IMS offers configured resources that meet your unique needs through Infrastructure-as-a-Service. We tailor our program to your specification to ensure our solutions are straightforward, flexible, and pay-as-you-go so you can take advantage of premier cloud services at affordable prices.

Browse these and other offerings here on our website or contact us today!


Why Credit Union Member Retention Will Be Huge Next Year

 

We’ve all heard some variation of the phrase, “It’s 5 times more cost-effective to keep an existing customer than to create a new customer.” And while that sentiment is still true – credit unions spend more money converting a potential member than keeping an existing member satisfied, it’s a little more complex than that. Credit union member retention is only becoming more important as big banks and new fintech companies expand their reach in the financial and banking industry.

So, let’s talk about what credit union member retention is, how it works, and what the future may hold for your CU.

Credit Unions Are Already Ahead of the Game

The first thing to note about member retention is that credit unions are amazing at it. Because credit unions prioritize member services, reward loyalty, and are often active in their respective communities, it’s a lot easier for members to find it beneficial to give CUs their repeated business.

This does get more challenging with the push for digital transformation that we’ve seen in the last few years, though. A lot of credit unions rely on that face-to-face interaction time. It’s much easier to create a genuine relationship when you are interacting in person.

Leveraging Technology Is a Must

When it comes to technology and credit union member retention, this is where CUs are losing ground. Bigger banks and newer fintech companies and apps are gaining their members through the latest and greatest digital solutions. Leveraging technology trends is a skillful way to turn the tables on these newer and bigger businesses. While you’ll never compete with big brands (as is true in most industries, not just banking), you’ll spend less time and money on lead campaigns and generating new members because you can offer comparable digital solutions with that same CU personal touch.

Generational Habits are Vastly Different

If you are creating or assessing your credit union member retention plan for 2022 and beyond, it’s also important to think about the difference in generational habits. Your baby boomer customers are likely still going to place their trust in onsite solutions, face-to-face interactions, and manual financial services.

However, your Millennial and Gen Z members are going to want more digital options that still show a great deal of care and attention to the personal needs of each member. We’ve talked before about the role of personalization in the member experience, and that still holds true whether you are interacting with your customers through teller windows or apps.  

You’ve Got Member Satisfaction Handled, Let Us Handle the Digital Back End

Credit union member retention is your area of expertise – but the digital solutions that power your branches and keep you and your members connected are ours. That’s why IMS offers configured resources that meet your unique needs through Infrastructure-as-a-Service. We tailor our program to your specification to ensure our solutions are straightforward, flexible, and pay-as-you-go so you can take advantage of premier cloud services at affordable prices.

Browse these and other offerings here on our website or contact us today!


Tips for Increasing Member Engagement This Holiday Season

 

Before the end of September, retailers were putting out Christmas decorations. As the debate about when it’s “appropriate” to start shopping and planning for the holiday season rages, it feels worse than normal this year, and there’s a reason for that. Tons of news outlets and retailers are echoing the same sentiment: shop early this year, as the last 18 months have caused supply shortages in many industries. Here are some ways to increase member engagement this holiday season, and you should start doing them right now.

Prepaid Cards

Gift cards and cash are at the top of many people’s lists this year. Financial hardships still abound as we try to combat the global effects of the coronavirus pandemic, from supply shortages to labor shortages and more.

Prepaid cards can also be used to help your members budget for their holiday spending. They can be used in-store and online, and they can mitigate risk for users because they aren’t tied to any specific bank accounts. With more and more online scammers building websites that trick and mislead customers, the holiday season will likely see its fair share of digital fraud and theft.

The convenience and cybersecurity benefits of prepaid cards are undeniable. It’s a great way help your member start their Christmas shopping off right.

Highlight Community Outreach

Giving is a big part of the holiday season, and your credit union should take advantage of that to showcase what your branches are doing to give back to your communities.

Use your social media platforms, onsite displays, and more to bring attention to the work your credit union does to take care of the families and friends in the area. You can do this by highlighting your 2021 efforts or creating new opportunities for community outreach before and during the holidays themselves. Take up specific causes, and make sure you are vocal about them online.

Promote Employee Holiday Cheer

Don’t forget about your staff! The best way to get your members in the holiday spirit is to show the cheer your employees have. 

Take a look at your usual events and ideas. Instead of allowing your staff to dress in their holiday best for one day, you can run a fun “contest” every Friday – invite your staff to get creative with holiday themes using their wardrobes, then post the top picks on social media and have your followers vote on the one with the best “holiday spirit.” That employee could win something small like a free lunch or gift card to a local business.

There are tons of ways to highlight the holidays for more than just a week or two!

Hold Giveaways

Another way to generate member engagement and community outreach is by holding giveaways before and during the different holidays. Bolster community ties by partnering with a different business every week or every holiday. Your members will discover new community gems they weren’t familiar with, and they’ll see that your business is committed to helping bring success to all area businesses. You could offer this to current business-facing credit union members first or create a Business Spotlight program that runs through the holiday season and brings attention to area businesses that do their banking with you.

Offer Holiday-Edition Financial Management Classes

86% of millennials overspend during the holidays – and that sets them back in the new year and beyond. You could help ease these burdens by offering some financial education opportunities that are specifically tailored to learning how to budget for the holidays, shopping tips, or even financial safety tips (how to tell if a retail website is “legit,” and other helpful topics). Member engagement can come from many places, and showing that you care about the financial health of your members – especially during this time of the year when money is flowing in unusual ways – can help them see that your brand is helpful and genuine in its efforts.

Have Yourself a Credit Union Christmas – Without Data Problems

IMS offers data backup and disaster recovery solutions – the holidays are the last time of the year when you want to have data problems. Our backup services are all-inclusive, to help you get back to taking care of your members during what is sure to be an interesting and uniquely challenging holiday season.

Contact IMS for more information.


Lending Trends in 2021 & Beyond

 

The benefits of digital lending are undeniable, and as more lending services enter your members’ market, it’s crucial to be aware of the latest trends in lending. Lending programs are being offered by more than just banks and credit unions – retail giants like Amazon are continuing to expand their financial services, aiming to create all-inclusive experiences for their current and potential customers.

Let’s discuss some of the latest lending trends in 2021 and beyond.

Lending-as-a-Service

With the emergence of fintech as a means to offer cheaper and faster online options for all banking needs, creating space in the industry for Lending-as-a-Service.

Lending-as-a-Service allows companies and brands to offer transparent, user-friendly financing solutions, rather than partnering with a financial brand to do it on behalf of the brand. This has recently made waves in the online automotive retail sector.

By using APIs to tie online applications to one another, your credit union’s lending services will need to continue integrating and streamlining lending services to capture more tech-savvy members of all ages who have embraced new digital solutions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changes in Lending Trends Due to Member Behavior

As younger generations begin taking up more market share in the lending industry, your member needs also change. For Millennials and Gen Z, generations who spent much of their childhood and adolescence in the shadow of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, avoiding debt is a top priority. And many of these people are willing to take out loans to consolidate and pay down their current debt. This means they are more debit card-forward than your credit union’s older members.

This change in member behavior comes with higher demand for offerings that provide lending opportunities with fewer features attached that also mitigate the incursion of additional debt.

Increased Solutions for Bridging Business Capital Gaps

According to FintechTris, another big shift in the lending world includes attempting to bridge the gap in business credit offerings: “Working capital loans, equipment financing, and lines of credit are now readily available for this user segment through non-bank alternatives.”

There’s also an increase in companies looking for partners willing to invest in unsecured offers. Companies are entering the lending industry by allowing borrowers to use refundable security deposits as collateral for loans, which then allows them to receive their deposit back after 6-12 months of on-time payments.

Fighting Fintechs for Market Share

Credit unions are faced with growing competition from fintechs, and the solution will have to be focused on transparency, flexibility, and peace of mind, according to CUNA.

The key to success in this changing lending climate is to leverage your credit union’s reputation and commitment to providing high-quality member experiences by creating great lending opportunities and offering sound financial advice as we move into 2022.

The Future of Your CU – Your Way

IMS knows CU-specific tech solutions the way that your credit union knows exactly what your members need – from financial advice to insight on lending trends. Let us help with your virtual desktop and private cloud needs.

Contact IMS to set up your consultation or call 888-356-6043 today to explore our solutions and services.


4 Ways Bad Data Can Harm Your CU

 

Not all data is created equal. Just because you are collecting mountains of data, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have good data. In fact, it’s much easier to collect and use bad data.

What is Bad Data?

Bad data can be a host of things. It can be incorrect or outdated information. It can include incomplete or partial information that creates an incorrect picture of a member’s needs or preferences. The difference between good and bad is often subtle, and having the correct tools to analyze and categorize this data can help your credit union make better decisions, both for you and your members.

Here are some ways bad data can harm your credit union.

Bad Data Can Breed Distrust

Bad data can create redundancies and incorrect outcomes in your credit union team’s workflow. For example, if you have incomplete data that is passed on to third-party vendors, like collections agencies, those vendors will treat every account the same, even if some of them aren’t actually past due on their payments.

If your members, who are current on all loan or mortgage payments, receive notices from your third-party collections vendors saying they are past due, this could create distrust between you and your members.

It Affects Your Lending Ability and Reputation

Lending is your credit union’s primary source of revenue, and keeping the program strong often comes down to how accurate and timely your data is.

CUManagement talks a lot about the integrity of data. They use the example of a credit card interest rate: if your member’s interest rate on their credit card goes up due to late payments, it should also come back down if their payments start coming on time. But if you don’t have a solid system of checking these rates and what affects them, this can upset your members and also go as far as pushing you out of compliance with certain rules and regulations.

It Affects Your Ability to Stay Compliant

If your data isn’t properly organized and assessed, it can decrease your credit union’s ability to stay compliant. And that non-compliance can affect your credit union’s revenue streams, as well as its reputation and bottom line. And trying to set your data right after years of mismanagement will be a long and expensive process.

It Also Affects Your Marketing Success

Data has helped revolutionize marketing, especially when used correctly. You or someone you know has likely said this in the past several years: “Sometimes, I think my phone (or computer) can hear me think. Just the other day, I was thinking about how I’d love to buy (insert product here), and then today I see an ad for it on my Facebook page.”

Intuitive data collection and utilization can be a game-changer for your credit union, but it can also cause problems if you’re working with bad data. You could send emails to people with the wrong name or other personal information, or you could target the wrong potential customers for a new service you are rolling out. All of that decreases your brand’s reputation and costs you money.

Keep Your Data Safe and Up-to-Date

IMS offers virtual desktop and backup services to help you keep your data in check no matter how many of your employees work from the office, home, or somewhere in between.

Contact IMS for more information.


Make Your Credit Union a Member’s Primary Financial Institution

 

Did you know that only 24% of credit union members currently view their credit union as their primary financial institution? Here are some strategies for making your credit union your members’ primary institution.

Push Your Member Experience Support to the Digital World

“Just Google it” is the motto of an entire generation. Rather than asking questions and being satisfied when they hear, “I don’t know” as the only answer, Millennials and Gen Z are tech-savvy and ready to use their internet connection to help them tackle anything that life throws at them.

This also means that customer service is now digital. Does your credit union have a dynamic member services FAQs page (with text and videos)? Are you hosting webinars for financial literacy and creating chatbot interfaces to help give your members support every time they come to your website?

The big shift to digital services that took place during the coronavirus pandemic is now set to be the primary method for getting anything and everything done.

Products and Services Aren’t Enough – You Need to Be Engaging

Today’s members aren’t looking for just a service, they’re looking for brands that want to understand and engage with them. They want to be able to contact your credit union or jump onto your website and find the best possible advice for their situation and needs. It’s no longer about facilitating a transaction but carrying on a conversation with your member’s needs.

Success in this engagement comes, first and foremost, through your employees. With the right training and data, your team can be the determining factor in making your credit union your members’ primary financial institution.

Personalization is Paramount

Part of that employee training needs to be based on how to incorporate personalization as often as possible. There is a reason that members are called “members” and not “customers.” Mass banking and automation are not the cornerstones of your business. The ability to make every member feel like a “regular” in your establishment is.

But having your staff try and remember the preferences of everyone who comes in your doors or uses your online services is impossible. But data storage and analysis can do that heavy lifting for you. You can look at trends in a member’s banking behavior, personal meetings or loan needs, and so much more when you have a solid data collection and storage process.

Going Digital Doesn’t Mean Forgoing Face-To-Face Interactions

With the focus on cutting-edge digital solutions, it’s easy to start thinking the physical aspects of your credit union – your lobbies, teller desks, and meeting rooms – will soon be obsolete. But in fact, many financial institutions have seen an 80% bounce-back of in-person transactions after they reopened their branches.

Members still crave in-depth conversations with your knowledgeable and professional teams. That face-to-face time is often how you, your teams, and the members learn incredibly important information about products, services, and how to best serve your members.

CUInsight has an incredible example in part 2 of their three-part series on increasing the number of members who consider your credit union their primary financial institution. In Scenario 1, a credit union team member pulls up the account opening checklist when a new member wants to sign up. Depending on what the checklist includes, the member may or may not get the things they need from their new account. But in Scenario 2, the credit union team member has been trained to see this new member’s presence as an opportunity to gain insight into the products and services the member needs right now, and possibly even discuss some things they will need in the future.

Great data solutions and training can help show members that your credit union deserves to be their primary financial institution.

IMS Has the Data Solutions

IMS is a leading provider of enterprise data protection solutions for credit unions. We can help you with everything from core hosting to disaster recovery, IaaS, and more.

Contact IMS for more information.