4 Ways the Great Resignation Impacts Cybersecurity Concerns

 

There had been a lot of talk about the impact of the Great Resignation, and much of it centers around hiring practices, salary negotiations, and employee retention and turnover. But there are residual effects stemming from these mass resignations, and some of the most important effects involve your cybersecurity operations.

Let’s talk about some of the biggest ways the Great Resignation is impacting cybersecurity concerns, and what your organization should be doing about it.

High Employee Turnover = Higher Data Loss

Data loss is always a concern after a resignation. Some of it is intentional – employees take data out of spite or even to use at their next job. But there are also many instances where data is lost simply because the former employee didn’t store the data properly – they stored it on their work computer rather than in the shared files or department-specific locations, or maybe they were using a personal device to have work conversations or store other important data.

This data can be used to sabotage a previous employer or to gain an advantage over a new employer. Workplace culture is changing, and because younger generations are tech-savvy by the time they hit middle school, your data can be shared, copied, or destroyed very easily by a disgruntled employee, or even just by a former worker who was unaware their personal computer has the only copy of certain files. Safeguarding your data and teaching your staff to use and store it in the proper place and through proper channels can help mitigate this risk.

Because of these increased data cybersecurity concerns, your credit union should be using the best data access practices. The primary component of these practices should be reviewing the access your current and former employees have or had and making sure they only have necessary access moving forward.

When you do this, think about how each employee’s role and responsibilities have changed during their time at your credit union. Maybe they needed a higher level of access to member account details when they were in more of a customer service role, but now that they are running your marketing campaigns, that access is no longer necessary.

The Cybersecurity Industry Isn’t Immune to the Great Resignation

Another reason the Great Resignation is creating cybersecurity concerns is that the cybersecurity industry is also affected by these mass exoduses. Many cybersecurity professionals have also left their positions in the last few years.

Being short-staffed in the IT department also puts your credit union at risk of attack. Things can fall through the cracks; your former employees could negatively impact your system (either intentionally or unintentionally).

Because the stress of the pandemic affected certain professional roles and industries, like cybersecurity, at a higher rate, many employees are leaving the field. And when hundreds or even thousands of IT professionals leave the industry, it increases the threat to businesses from outside sources that are also aware of the shortages.

This decrease in cybersecurity team numbers also means your response to threats will likely be slower and less effective. No operations run as smoothly or efficiently when you are missing team members. That’s why it’s important to start thinking about how you want to invest your credit union’s IT budget – IMS has a host of services that can fill in the gaps left by employees resigning.

Remote Work Increases Risks

Remote work is more common than ever before, and that means more cybersecurity risk for your credit union.

While it may be nice not to have the responsibility of purchasing and maintaining a remote worker’s devices, that also means you can’t control where or how your data is stored and used, especially once that employee has resigned.

Remote workers are also working from a variety of different servers and networks – home, local coffee shops or libraries, etc. And this means your data and systems are being exposed to more varied risks. You also can’t control the security parameters on these employees’ home networks in the same way that you can monitor and improve your in-house network and servers.

Gaps between Employees and Tech

More and more organizations are increasing their IT and cybersecurity budgets, and this has been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and the Great Resignation. Now is the time to create the structure and strategy that we didn’t have time for during the first days of the pandemic.

When your credit union evaluates its cybersecurity spending, it’s important to ensure that your technology purchases are compatible with your workforce.

You can implement the newest and best technology in the world, but if you don’t do so with a strategy and a timeline in place to help you and your employees work through the transitions successfully, you are wasting valuable resources.

Process management should be a priority when implementing new technology, especially amid mounting cybersecurity concerns. Your staff needs to know how and when to use these new tools, so they aren’t creating new gaps in your digital defenses.

Offload Some Data Security Expenses by Partnering with IMS and Its IaaS Solutions

Maintaining high-level success in your credit union’s business operations during a time of high turnover and increasing employee recruiting and retention expenses mean you will need to decrease your costs elsewhere.

That’s where IMS comes in. With our Infrastructure-as-a-Service package, you can pay as you go and create a customized service that includes:

  • Maintained access to your applications during disasters and outages
  • Decrease expenses by only paying for what you need
  • Free up your team to focus on expansion, or employee recruitment and retention
  • Leave the troubleshooting and software upgrading to IMS and increase your credit union’s stability, reliability, and supportability
  • Improved peace of mind – IMS has you covered, through any cybersecurity issues and all your employee changes

Growth-Driven Marketing Ideas for CUs in 2022

 

There are dozens of reasons credit unions run marketing campaigns. Your board of directors could be having you focus on increasing current member engagement, introducing new products or services, and overall growth.

Many credit unions are focusing on a growth-driven marketing track as we move through 2022. Now that businesses, suppliers, and global economies are slowly recovering as we get further and further from the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic, we can focus on recouping some of that growth and expansion time that we lost over the last two years.

In that spirit, our team here at IMS wanted to share some growth-driven marketing ideas and strategies for credit unions to use before the year is up.

Break Down Silos & Create a Holistic Marketing Strategy

In a recent episode of the CUNA News Podcast, James Gilbert shared his thoughts on the importance of using your data and assets to create a unified front when it comes to growth-driven marketing strategies.

When it comes to creating a marketing strategy, many credit unions use a top-down approach, where the board of directors or executive staff share their plans and goals. While this is a great start, certain initiatives will take priority over others, and that means the resources used to successfully market your credit union will be divided unevenly.

This is a good thing! If you are focusing your credit union marketing on increasing the number of loans, there should be efforts from other sectors within your CU that are also supporting that. Your social media and credit card usage personnel will need to create cohesive messaging that speaks to your current goals.

In a perfect world, growth happens across all channels – you increase the number of members, loans, credit cards, savings accounts, etc. all at once. But because trends in personal financial management change rapidly, your marketing strategy must account for those things too.

Embracing Omnichannel Solutions

In today’s vastly connected digital landscape, omnichannel communication is crucial to your growth-driven marketing.

Omnichannel marketing means your credit union brand is reaching members and prospects through multiple communication channels, which can include text, social media, phone calls, email, print ads, and video assets.

Giving your members access to you via multiple touchpoints can help you reach a more diverse crowd – they’ll feel comfortable using their preferred methods to interact with your brand, rather than having to go out of their way to download new apps or create new user accounts on separate platforms to enjoy your content and services.

Focus on Personalization

Today, consumers – whether they’re shopping for a pair of shoes or a new home – are looking for solutions that fit them – personalization is a great way to take your credit union marketing to the next level and reach more people.

Think of marketing your credit union the way you’d market a home – every home has unique offerings, and every buyer is looking for certain features in the home they want to purchase.

The same is true in any B2C relationship – your credit union has to show each member that you are here to solve their specific problems and offer personalized products, services, and assistance.

Personalization can also be automated – you can create campaigns just for those members who are looking for a car loan, or who recently opened a checking account or signed up for your credit card. Rather than a generic “Thanks for doing business with us!” message, you can tailor print materials, emails, and chat messages to include specific details and insights about where they are in their personal financial journey.

Cross-Promotion, Not Cross-Posting

Your credit union marketing might include a host of different platforms, tools, and social media accounts. And each of these platforms should be seen as unique, just like your members are unique. When your members log onto their social media accounts and apps, they have different goals with each one.

And your growth-driven marketing campaigns should take this into account. Cross-promotion is the act of taking similar marketing content or messages and tailoring them to the platform you are featuring them on. Many credit unions and other businesses make the mistake of posting the exact same things across all their public platforms – this is called cross-posting.

And while cross-posting does get your brand out there and on people’s feeds, it’s not serving each platform effectively.

An in-depth LinkedIn post about how to prevent credit card fraud, for example, should be created with a much different message than an Instagram or Twitter post. Though this seems like it should be common knowledge, social media marketing is time-consuming, and it will often feel easier to create one message and one graphic, and then share them across your CU’s accounts.

But if your credit union marketing strategies are aimed toward member growth, cross-promotion can make each post on each platform that much more powerful!

As Your CU Grows, So Does Your Data – IMS Data Discovery Solutions Can Help

With credit union growth comes the growth of your data as well. But storage is only half the battle because the data you collected has significant value. It can help you understand your members and your business operations more comprehensively.

Many growth-driven marketing strategies rely on data and analytics to create targeted campaigns intended to reach the best audience for your business while offering your members and prospects content that they view as valuable.

The IMS DataArchiver is a great tool for managing and storing your data efficiently without breaking the bank. This SaaS solution can save up to 80% of primary data storage costs while still protecting your data from ransomware and other threats, giving you built-in data comprehension, deduplication, and visualization tools.

Anyone at your credit union may access the DataArchiver through a secure portal that includes full-text search capabilities, audit trails, and more.

Use your data and IMS’s private cloud solutions to work smarter, not harder this year. 


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.