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 It can be incorrect or outdated information.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.


4 Ways to Leverage Credit Union Data

 

Credit union data is one of the best tools you have to serve your members. And data analytics are opening lots of doors for reaching select audiences and maximizing your business and marketing efforts. But like any tool, you have to know how to use it effectively. Here are four great ways to leverage credit union data.

Evaluate Your Segments

According to the Financial Brand, there are two main segmentation categories to prioritize: transactional data and behavioral data.

Transactional data, the largest for credit unions, includes everything from loan balances to account activity and can be captured through multiple channels like mobile apps, digital applications, and even in-person transactions. When assessing this data segment, it’s important to keep in mind the differences between your audiences – their preferences in transaction mediums (digital and otherwise), the breakdown of products and services being used by specific age groups, and more. If your transactional data segments aren’t producing the desired results, it might be time to re-evaluate, especially in light of the massive shift to online services since the coronavirus pandemic.

The other main segment to prioritize is behavioral data, which includes everything your members do that isn’t tied to a transaction – this includes things like spending habits, member experience touchpoints, things they need and want, and more. This data is typically captured on a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Just like with transactional data, take a look at your current practices to see if you can better leverage your credit union data.

Understand Your Data Systems

More than just looking at the data you are collecting, you also need to understand how your data is being collected and stored. A core system is a hub for your credit union data.

As mentioned above, your digital and CRM data, which are stored in your core system, are great assets. CRM data can give you insight into current member experience trends. You can use those trends to enhance and streamline your services to accommodate them.

Digital banking data across banking institutions have been showing a huge trend upward in the use of mobile banking services. This means a large amount of your data is now digital, and it should be standard practice to analyze this data on a regular basis so you can implement new and more efficient ways to service your members.

Analyze In-Person vs. Online Behaviors

Banks, and credit unions especially, still attract a lot of in-person business. In fact, it is one of the hallmarks of successful credit unions. Using your transactional and digital data, you cannot only optimize your members’ experience, but you can also use the insights to train and inform your staff so they can transform that data into more personable, targeted experiences for your valued members.

Enhance and Assess Cross-Selling Methods

Improving cross-selling processes is a great way to better engage your current customers, a crucial process in your credit union’s business.

We found this 4-step process for improving cross-selling:

  1. Define cross-selling and measure its effectiveness: Sell more products and services to existing customers by defining the goals and areas you want to target and improve.
  2. Establish clear metrics for measuring performance: Your employees will be the primary point of access for cross-selling. Leaders or managers must clearly define the goals and performance expected.
  3. Make marketing and cross-selling communications better and clearer: Customers are savvier than ever, and your credit union’s response to this should be to increase transparency when it comes to cross-selling. You want to offer personalized campaigns and protocols to increase engagement and selling.
  4. Reward employees who perform well: Your staff wants to serve your members, and if they do an exceptional job, you should reward that. Offering cross-selling incentives for your employees can also boost the effectiveness of cross-selling programs.

Leverage IMS’s Continuous Data Protection

Get rid of complex legacy backup systems and integrate multi-system solutions, such as data orchestration and catalog management, into a single software platform. With continuous data protection from IMS, your credit union can minimize downtime, scale-up architecture and save costs.

Contact us for more information.


Lessons for Future Credit Union Leaders

 

New leaders learn from experience, education, and the leaders who came before them. And as credit unions grow and change to keep up with the demands of members all over the country, we thought we would take a break from focusing on the future to look back on the lessons that credit union leaders have learned.

Experience + Tech = Success

In a piece titled “Shaping the Future of Our Movement,” Jim Nussle (president and CEO of Credit Union National Association) shared some of the leadership insights he’s gathered over his many years working in the credit union industry.

Credit unions are often seen as “old-school” in the way they do business. But it’s that tried and true, exceptional member experience that sets credit unions above big bans, especially for younger members.

Speaking on this, Nussle said, “I’m far from cutting edge when it comes to technology, but our next generation of leaders was born into a mobile-enabled world, coming of age as the smartphone transformed our lives. It’s that digital-savvy which will lead our businesses and our movement into the future.”

Diversity and the Pursuit of Financial Wellbeing for All

Nussle also talked about the need for future credit union leaders to set their sights on achieving “financial wellbeing for all.”

Creating more options for financial wellbeing – including resources, products and services, and other highly inclusive solutions will not only grow your member base, but will also positively impact your members’ futures and your community as a whole.

Nussle encourages future credit union leaders to ask themselves, “How will I take a leadership role in helping the credit union movement promote financial wellbeing for all?” as a starting point for fostering innovative and diverse credit union solutions for members.

Insights from ‘Ask the Old Guy’

CUNA has recently started a blog series called “Ask the Old Guy” and we are loving it. This series is written in a style reminiscent of newspaper advice columns. The first featured expert is James Collins, president and CEO of O Bee Credit Union.

Much of the advice offered is more a primer for current and future credit union leaders to help them think critically about some of the issues and processes that lie ahead. Many of the answers also have a touch of humor, but the general best practices outlined in the article include fresh takes on coworker and member relationship building or problem-solving.

Our favorite nugget of wisdom from “Ask the Old Guy”? Here it is:

“Leadership is the ability to convince others to wholeheartedly follow you on the path to a common goal. It is not an ability that is bestowed, learned, or practiced. Rather, it requires you to have the trust of those around you.”

20 Years & 20 Lessons

CUInsight featured an article by Jayni Sech, who is celebrating 20 years as a business professional and she shared 20 lessons she’s learned along the way, from professional tips to life lessons.

Though all 20 of her insights were great, it was this thought that spoke volumes: “As I look back on the last 20 years, one of the biggest lessons I learned was to learn the lesson.”

Keep learning, keep growing, and keep leading. The journey will be a great one.

CU Leaders Need Great Digital Solutions

Being a leader means helping shape your credit union so that it will continue to thrive for years into the future. IMS has a range of services – like cloud backups, core hosting, IaaS, and disaster recovery – to help you make the most of your credit union, today and always.

Contact us for more information.


Boost Your Credit Union Brand

 

Branding, in the information age, is hard. Because your credit union brand image doesn’t just come from you. It comes from your credit union’s interactions with every guest, affiliations with other businesses, and even its stance on social issues.

Is your credit union in need of an image upgrade? Here are some tips to boost your credit union brand.

Pump Up Your People

The most forward-facing aspect of your brand is your staff. Training your staff has to be more than just showing them how to enter data correctly and attend to customers’ needs in a timely manner. It’s about customer experience. If your credit union’s staff behave in a rote way, much like a computer program, then you aren’t boosting your brand image.

The human element of your credit union is why people want to come and do business with you. If it is absent, potential members will find easier, online-accessible options for their banking needs. The internet can’t replace your employee’s expertise and empathy when it comes to one-on-one interactions. Take a look at your team, find out what their strengths and weaknesses are. Then, address them in the way you would like your brand to be known for.

Celebrate Your Members

Everyone loves a special occasion. And the best brand marketing comes from incentivizing members and potential customers with special days. Increase visibility for your credit union by posting events or promotions centered around International Credit Union Day, International Credit Union Week, and National Credit Union Youth Week.

Finding fun and clever ways to reach out to new audiences and celebrate your credit union within a community can help boost your brand and enhance your business.

Connect with Your Community

Being community-centered is more than just sponsoring a local sports team or running promotions during the local community festivals. If you can, use your employees and your members to keep your finger on the proverbial pulse of the neighborhood you’re serving.

Learn about the fun things people like to do in the area. Find out what the latest news is about the local high school sports teams or band competitions. Run polls and surveys to see what kinds of events, ideas, and services your community would like to see more of. Don’t just contribute to the community – make your credit union a part of its fabric.

Ditch the Inauthentic Brand Efforts

Not all brand efforts are created equal. Check the example in this article about how KFC tried to partner with Susan G Komen (a prominent breast cancer-focused non-profit), though recent studies showed fried chicken could contribute to cancer.

Make sure to do your research on what community causes and national charities would be a good fit for your credit union. Just because Make a Wish or Doctors Without Borders are huge, recognizable charities don’t mean it makes sense to tie your brand to theirs.

Take strategic approaches to each partnership and charitable effort to boost your brand in ways that can truly showcase your credit union’s mission, vision, and values.

Put Your Credit Union in the Cloud

Just like you want your brand to be unmistakable, IMS wants to tailor its data and security services to better protect your credit union and its data assets.

IMS has virtual private cloud services and solutions like core hosting, virtual desktop, disaster recovery, and more for your credit union. Contact us today for more information.


The Role of Personalization in the Member Experience

 

For more than a year, businesses and citizens have been wading through a world that has all but killed the casual conversation and public gatherings. We are more acutely aware of even the most fleeting of interactions and relationships. And that’s why personalization is becoming more important in everyday communications and transactions.

Credit unions have continued to position themselves as the local, community-first banking option in towns and cities all over the country. To keep that reputation, credit union leaders are conducting studies and implementing new policies to analyze and highlight the crucial role personalization plays in the member experience.

The Importance of Personalization

A recent episode of the CUNA News Podcast, a panel of credit union leaders got together to discuss the importance of personalization in the member experience.

Personalization is a marketing strategy that can help increase customer satisfaction and engagement in businesses of all sizes, but it’s even more important for credit unions. Credit unions are the friendly, community-oriented banking option in many cities and towns. This means the personal touch is even more essential.

By creating a personal atmosphere that is optimized to create feelings of community and trustworthiness, credit unions can increase membership numbers and showcase what a positive presence they bring to the area business landscape.

“Personalization takes a lot of different shapes and forms. It can be empathy, it can be needs-based selling, it can be people helping people…All of those contain a great deal of personalization,” says Paul Robert, CEO of FI Strategies.

How to Personalize Member Interactions

There are so many ways to personalize the experience of your members. This can be spurred by brainstorming activities or having team huddles about the conversations that members seem to be having with credit union employees, to start. And the central question here should be “What are we going to do for our members?”

Can you engage with your members at a higher level? What does that look and sound like? How do we train or guide our employees to start generating more meaningful and helpful conversations with customers?

Many places from restaurants to doctors’ offices even keep notes in their database systems to add a more personal touch – these notes can include anything from their financial questions to the number of children they have, and other small or everyday details that can help your member to be recognizable by your staff.

Personalization Promotes Loyalty

We know, based on a variety of marketing and industry studies, that adding personalization elements to marketing emails is very beneficial.

Email analytic metrics show things like 31-67% decrease in bounce-back rates, affinity and interest segments perform 28-62% better for credit unions.

Adding personalization elements to all interactions, both digital and face-to-face, increases performance and is also more memorable in the minds of your members. Remember to personalize more than just the name in your email subject line. Now more than ever, people want to be seen as individuals and treated as valued customers.

Employee Team Building Also Plays a Part

Creating a community-oriented, personalized atmosphere starts with your credit union team. Fostering collaboration and creativity in your team can open the door for some great brainstorming sessions that could lead to a business-wide approach for personalizing the member experience.

Leave the Backups to Us

Just like you want personalization to be at the forefront of your member experience, IMS wants to tailor its data and security services to better protect your credit union and its data assets.

IMS has virtual private cloud services and solutions like core hosting, virtual desktop, disaster recovery, and more for your credit union. Contact us today for more information.


5 Community Outreach Marketing Ideas for Credit Unions

 

Credit unions are unique in their positioning – they are financial institutions with a community-centered vision. This hometown, local feel is something that should be included in your marketing efforts. Nothing satisfies customers more than knowing a business can walk the walk. Here are 5 community outreach marketing ideas for your credit union.

Offer Helpful Free Content

The coronavirus pandemic has done a great job showing us all that we aren’t as financially savvy as we should be. With this in mind, you can create and tailor your free resources and tools to target areas of need in your community.

For example, lots of people are refinancing in the wake of the pandemic, trying to save money and take advantage of the economic market for themselves. Your credit union could create, partner with, and share resources like a free mortgage or rent calculators, budgeting templates and tools, and helpful videos on a wide range of financial topics.

Providing and promoting free resources is a great way to build brand trust and give back to the community – both local and global.

Host and Highlight Contests

Social media contests are a great way to boost your followings and generate buzz and revenue for your credit union. And you can definitely do that as an individual business, but why not reach out and get involved with local or seasonal causes as well?

Hosting and highlighting contests that are true to your credit union’s mission, or dear to the hearts of your members, is a fantastic way to showcase your financial and professional empathy as an organization. You can run giveaways, creative or arts-based contests, social media and video contests, and more.

You can also reach out to other business owners and community leaders for inspiration.

Talk to Local Leaders – Find Out What Community Needs Aren’t Being Met

And speaking of talking to community leaders – why not let them give you ideas for your next community outreach event?

Many times, we create a marketing plan that works, and we want to keep running similar efforts because we know they were successful in the past. But there are lots of things that may seem less catchy or glamorous that still need the attention of the community.

A great example of this is prevalent in a story Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water, often tells. His charity, which helps bring clean drinking water to people in developing countries, was built on a model of transparency – everyone who donates gets to choose where their money goes – to operations (the daily expenses like paying employee salaries, buying office supplies, and the like) or to projects (this money goes toward the trips that actually build the wells).

While this transparency is amazing, Scott talks, in an episode of the Armchair Expert podcast, about how his “projects” bank account had nearly $800,000 in it, but he was on the brink of having to shut down his charity because there were no funds in the less-exciting “operations” fund.

This illustrates a great point about community and business needs: sometimes, certain needs can be abundantly met, while others are being ignored. The best way to combat this is to reach out to community leaders and talk with them. Figure out what they need. We see this all the time with homeless shelters, animal shelters, and food pantries – often, the most needed items or help are the least given.

Finding these gaps – and helping fill them – is a great way to raise awareness for certain issues and position your credit union as a trustworthy and helpful business.

Sponsor Seasonal Teams and Events

This trick is an old one, but still a good one. Having your credit union sponsor a local team or event continues to be a great way to give back to the community and boost your brand locally.

Additionally, you can choose to partner with another individual or business to sponsor certain events. And with so many events being hosted online, there are more and more interesting ways to get involved with local sports, celebrations, and more.

This can be done strategically – again, look for those gaps. Concentrate on building a balance between larger, multi-sponsor events and smaller events where one or two sponsors could make a huge impact in the event or team’s success.

Include Your Audience in the Decision-Making

Social media makes it incredibly easy to increase audience participation. It seems like almost every year, the Columbus Zoo is asking fans to help them name their latest animal babies like they did in 2020 with a new polar bear cub. When it comes to choosing between which events and charities to support, why not give your members and social media followers a chance to help make the decision?

This does two things. First, it gets them invested in the community outreach marketing that your credit union is doing. And secondly, it also shows you and your CU what causes and charities are closest to your members’ hearts.

Don’t forget about including your community when you are planning your next community outreach marketing events!

Is Your Head in the Cloud? Let IMS Help.

Credit unions are built for communities. So why not let IMS help you focus on yours rather than worrying about your cloud data?

IMS can take care of some of the behind-the-scenes solutions so you can focus on your next community outreach marketing effort. Browse our private cloud services like backup, core hosting, IaaS, and virtual desktop – or contact us today!


4 Tips for Marketing to Gen Z

 

You may be thinking, why should my credit union already be marketing to Gen Z? Aren’t they a little young to be financially independent?

Many news articles and social media jokes paint Gen Z (the first demographic group born after the internet was commercialized) as children or young teens. But the reality is – the oldest Gen Z members (born between 1997 and 2012) are nearing their mid-twenties. And credit unions will miss out on their share of the generation’s estimated $44 billion in buying power if they don’t tailor marketing efforts to capture this audience.

Why Marketing to Gen Z Will Be Different

Gen Zers, like millennials, are more conscious of debt than previous generations. As children of the Great Recession, Gen Z is generally more averse to accruing debt as the cost of living, college, and having children continues to rise.

As a general rule, Gen Z is also much more purpose-driven in terms of engaging in discussions and activism surrounding social, political, and environmental issues.

And of course, as the first fully digital generation, they are more comfortable on the internet than any other generation before them. Your credit union needs to be aware of and cater to these characteristics in order to be successful in marketing to Gen Z.

Pay Attention to Gen Z Banking Preferences

47% of Gen Zers are big bank customers, but they don’t like it. Big banks are not in line with many of Gen Z’s socially conscious ideologies, but they have more advanced and diverse technology. So what can credit unions do?

The first logical step is to augment your digital offerings, which we’ll talk more about in the next section.

Other creative solutions for pulling attention away from big banks and towards your credit union include rethinking loyalty and account features. For example, Gen Z is less likely to be enticed by a loyalty program – but offering savings or checking accounts with zero overdraft fees is a huge draw.

Boost Digital & Mobile Banking Services

Gen Z is very tech-savvy, and they do most of their banking from their phones and other smart devices. Credit unions can optimize their online offerings to include mobile apps or mobile-friendly web design. Part of the draw of big banks, for Gen Z, is the ease of their online processes. Digital natives base more of their brand loyalty on the brand’s commitment to providing easy and quick solutions.

Another trend Gen Z prefers is the personalization of websites and services. They expect the websites they visit to include their personal preferences through targeted ads and other dynamic content that will lead them to the best product or service for them. Credit unions can do this by including more things like quizzes or other infographics that give visitors a clear path to their preferred solution.

Provide Dynamic Financial Education Resources

Here is another example of how Gen Z preferences perfectly line up with credit union offerings.

Gen Z spends so much time online, both for education and entertainment. Credit unions can take advantage of this by creating more online access to financial education resources. Many Gen Zers head to YouTube when they want to learn how to do something, look up product functions or reviews, and more.

Creating a robust and dynamic financial education blog or YouTube channel is a great differentiator that will really cater to the youngest generation as they try to navigate and learn about the current financial landscape.

Make Your Brand More Vocal about Community & Social Issues

A brand’s product or service is important, but the brand’s purpose is just as important to Gen Z. When marketing to Gen Z, it’s wise to remember that members of this group tend to choose brands and products that are committed to a purpose they see as valuable.

Credit unions are generally more socially responsible than big banks, as they feel a responsibility to serve the communities they do business in, which is a great cause to tout on your website, in your branches, and on your social media channels. Gen Zers want to support businesses that care about their customers, in outwardly authentic and genuine ways.

We’ve Got Your Back(up)

The great thing about credit unions and Gen Z is that many of the things your credit union is already doing can be easily updated to capture more of this audience.

IMS can take care of some of the behind-the-scenes solutions so you can focus on marketing your credit union services to Gen Z and beyond. Browse our private cloud services like backup, core hosting, IaaS, and virtual desktop – or contact us today!


Credit Union Tech: Bots & Virtual Assistant Trends

 

Credit unions have broken their own mold. No longer thought of as anti-tech, smaller banks and credit unions are harnessing the power of new technology practices for their employees to better serve their customers. New research on the increased use of bots and virtual assistants has produced some interesting insights.

Let’s take a look at what trends in the use of bots and virtual assistants are most popular, and the impact they make on credit union business, work, and customer service.

A SilverCloud Labs monthly report from November 2020 “examines Employee Virtual Assistants and what bank and credit union employees search for when they use conversational banking, virtual assistants, and bots.”

One of the most powerful aspects of this study is that it uses “real-time data showing real usage from financial institutions actually in production.” This means the study is measuring and analyzing real bank and credit union employees as they work, not in demonstration or test capacities.

Service Wins Over Sales in Employee Searches

When employees of credit unions and banks are using bots and virtual assistants, they focus 90% more on service than on sales. This is a heartening statistic, especially for credit unions. If your employees are using these resources to search for and talk about how to improve the customer experience, that lends credibility and reliability to your brand.

This focus on service over sales also leads many credit union and bank employees to search for solutions to assist their business customers. Since businesses tend to encourage their employees to call banks or credit unions, using bots and virtual assistants for business queries from a banking customer’s perspective is much less common.

Customer-Facing Trends: Digital Support Is Not One

One interesting positive finding from the SilverCloud study is that employees are not often using bots and virtual assistants to help customers navigate issues within digital banking platforms. But what does that mean?

It means that many digital banking apps and platforms are now very intuitive and user-friendly, which means you can focus your employee training on higher-level functions, like ACH and Wire Transfers, as we’ll talk about in the next section.

ACH and Wire Transfers Were the Top Search Terms

Employees searched for help with ACH and Wire Transfers in 65% of the top searches recorded in the SilverCloud study.

This is another really interesting insight that can help credit unions understand what types of training they may need to include or add refresher classes in. ACH and Wire Transfer questions are more commonly asked by employees who are older or less comfortable with changing technology.

COVID Caused Trends to Lean toward Bots and Virtual Assistants

The coronavirus pandemic caused many businesses to trim hours or employees, and discouraged face-to-face contact. That meant more and more bank and credit union employees were relying on bots and virtual assistants.

While this trend was jumpstarted by the pandemic, many reports and studies suggest that the convenience and safety of digital operations like bots and virtual assistants will still be preferred options even after COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

When you are thinking about implementing new digital solutions that will help your customer, it’s also wise to think about the digital solutions that will allow your employees to spend less time on low-engagement tasks and more time serving customers, whether at teller windows or in more support-based areas.

Looking into Tech-Based Upgrades for Your Credit Union?

IMS has a variety of cloud-based services that can ensure the integrity, safety, and efficiency of your credit union.

IMS’s Private Cloud Services Include:

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


Changes Credit Unions Saw in 2020

 

As all 4,682 days of 2020 finally come to an end, it’s impossible not to recognize how different the world looks now. And here are some of the big changes credit unions saw in 2020.

Technology Led the Way

A major effort for all businesses this year was learning to do more with less – less face-to-face contact, fewer resources, fewer people in the assembly line for all goods and services. New and existing technologies have created many of the changes credit unions saw in 2020.

More and more large banks created pathways for services previously handled at physical locations, and many small community banks and credit unions either implemented or expanded their app technologies to ensure all members were still able to be served with minimal staff and shorter lobby hours.

As a result of these changes, payment preferences have changed drastically this year as well. While the beginning of the pandemic was marked with a coin and bill shortage – due to people stockpiling cash assets in fear of what the future would hold – the trends later shifted toward online shopping, digital wallets, and other tech-based forms of payment like PayPal, Venmo, etc.

Cash and Payments Had to Move Faster Than Ever

As this shift in technology got underway, the processes that have long been standard for banks and credit unions alike – days-long holds on transactions and payment transfers were shortened or eliminated entirely to allow individuals and small businesses access to funds they desperately needed as unemployment rates and shutdown expenses skyrocketed.

Mobile banking also surged. Not only did payment processing speed up this year, but mobile fintech solutions were encouraged because of their contactless and social distancing-friendly nature.

The Latest COVID-Based Scams Are Tied to Vaccines and 2nd Stimulus

After all this, 2020 isn’t over yet – there are new players in the field of fraud, and this time they’re creating scams centered around the new COVID-19 vaccines and stimulus uncertainties.

Stimulus scams have been targeting Americans since the first round of checks went out in the spring, but as talks of a second stimulus payment bombard the media – scammers are taking advantage of the conflicting information by sending out text messages aimed at collecting direct deposit information from their victims – “As of September 2020, the FTC reported that there had been $145 million in pandemic-related scams.”

Because of the big changes credit unions saw in 2020, there is now a bigger need for secure financial systems and good financial education than there ever has been before. Credit unions can provide the services and security local communities need as we finish out this year of unprecedented events.

Let Us Help Make Sure 2020’s Mistakes Don’t Happen Again

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