Bridging the member experience gap through APIs

March 14, 2022 Co-op Solutions

By Pam Brodsack, SVP, Technology Delivery 

The strategy of embracing digital looks different at every credit union. There are a few emerging best practices, however, helping many credit unions deliver digital innovation at the pace members expect. Among these shared approaches is the integration of application programming interfaces or APIs, which have eliminated the need for developers to build digital solutions from scratch.  

APIs have become one of the most valuable tools in a developer’s tool chest. Now, with the addition of two new integration options from Co-op Solutions, they’ve become even more valuable.  

APIs Enable Thousands of Lifestyle Micro-Moments 

An API is code that allows two applications or systems to connect and share information with each other. In short: APIs allow websites, mobile apps and IoT devices to streamline the flow of information and back-end processes so that the experience feels seamless to the end-user.  

We may not realize it, but APIs enable many of the digital experiences we depend on to complete everyday tasks, like: 

  • Logging into a website using an email or social media account credentials. That website uses an API to connects our accounts to its login process. 
  • Comparing airline ticket prices on a travel site. APIs are used to pull that information from different sources in real-time. 
  • Pulling up the weather, playing a favorite podcast or searching a recipe on Amazon Alexa. Amazon uses APIs to connect across multiple services at once. 

Using APIs to Level the Digital Experience Playing Field

Over the past several years – and especially during the pandemic’s rapid uptick in digital demand – APIs have leveled the playing field for many legacy providers, including credit union. According to our research in partnership with EY (formerly Ernst & Young), there’s as much as a 34-percent upside to a credit union’s financial growth when they add a set of digital features members view as highly valuable to their existing offerings. 

But, that’s not always easy for credit unions that lack the multi-million dollar technology resources to add these features at the same pace or sophistication level as banks and well-funded fintechs. Instead, credit unions have leveraged APIs to quickly introduce new competitive digital features and enhancements.  

For Co-op’s credit union partners, this strategy is getting even easier thanks to the availability of the Co-op Developer Portal. The platform, built specifically for credit union developers and their vendor partners, makes it simple to adopt solutions into a credit union’s digital applications regardless of channel or vendor. And, there is an expanding set of options for doing exactly that.  

Integration options exist because no single credit union is the same as the next. We understand each credit union’s stage of digital transformation requires a partner that can meet them where they are.  

Customizable API options have been designed to meet every credit union’s needs, from integration resources and environment to strategic priorities, like time-to-market and optimal member experience. Soon, credit union developers will have access to even more choices with the launch of pre-packaged software development kits (SDKs) and drop-in user interfaces (UIs) integration options.  

  • SDKs: Collection of software development tools in a single, language-specific, installable package. SDKs enables faster customization and integration into a credit union’s digital UI.  
  • Drop-In UIs: Fully packaged integrations that can easily be “dropped” into a credit union’s digital UI. The UIs are pre-defined and more fully-formed use cases that reduce development time and cost by removing resource and prioritization constraints.   

Each of the above will save developers anywhere from hundreds to thousands of hours in development time compared to a traditional API development process.  

Bringing the Power of APIs to Your Credit Union’s Payments Experience 

We all agree member experience remains core to the growth of the credit union movement. APIs will be critical to delivering on the fast-evolving expectations of both members and prospects.  

At the end of the day, APIs hasten a credit union’s digital transformation journey. By lowering costs and speeding up the roll out of new digital services, the technology meets what has become a meteoric demand for digital financial services.  

Credit unions in the Co-op ecosystem can access our growing library of APIs through the Co-op Developer Portal. We also offer resources, technical support and a beta environment to help speed the time to implementation. Contact us to learn more! 

The original article Bridging the member experience gap through APIs can be found on Insight Vault.

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