How Co-op’s Integration Strategy Has Evolved to Meet the Needs of Today’s Credit Unions and Members

December 1, 2023
Integration Strategy

Credit unions need to take notice and accelerate the introduction of new digital services their members want and need. Per Co-op’s latest research, CU members have on average three times the number of financial relationships as non-members. 

Members have grown used to toggling among multiple digital apps to access various aspects of their financial lives and will do so if necessary. But they prefer a one-stop shop. 

Your members are looking for a better, fully immersive financial experience, which is one reason for the tremendous growth of embedded finance. This trend benefits credit unions as well, as it has the potential to increase engagement. 

To support the evolving needs of cooperatives and your members, Co-op has evolved its technology integration strategy toward a more proactive approach. The focus now is on providing credit unions and members with a fully integrated, seamless financial experience, designed to increase satisfaction, loyalty and engagement. 

“At Co-op, we are adept at enabling technology alongside your selected partner,” says Adrianna Adufutse, Vice President, Strategic Client Development at Co-op. “By focusing on embedded financial tools, we are helping credit unions increase member engagement and loyalty.” 

Why this pivot? 

Historically, Co-op primarily served as a technology provider for credit unions, reflecting a strategic “build” approach. Co-op worked well with our credit union clients and their preferred providers to create a custom integration for each unique deployment.  

But this approach proved to be both time-consuming and resource-intensive, as it often involved “recreating the wheel” for every new credit union-vendor partnership. 

Over time, Co-op recognized that we don’t have to build a new integration for every deployment. Instead, we can partner with industry-leading solutions, develop standardized integrations using APIs (application programming interfaces), and then offer those streamlined, pre-built integrations to all our credit union clients in an efficient, cost-effective way. This approach is in line with Co-op’s primary mission to be the “credit union payments technology ecosystem.” 

“At Co-op, we have cross functional teams throughout our enterprise that focus on vendor partnerships, new tech delivery and credit union feedback,” Adufutse says. “This information is incorporated into how we partner with core and mobile providers.”  

“Co-op is not a digital provider or a core,” says Gail Tofil, Vice President of Sales at Co-op. “We don’t intend to be everything to everybody. We are the premier payments provider in the credit union space, and a builder and enabler of technology and integration. The way we build and proactively partner with other industry providers allows our solutions to be more readily consumable, and immediately impactful to your staff and members.” 

Embedding top features and functionality into the solutions you already use 

Co-op is the technology partner uniquely positioned to provide credit unions with the best available technology solutions for your members. 

How? By offering pre-built integrations with all leading core systems and digital banking providers, ensuring that member experiences are seamless, simple and easier to navigate.  

It also ensures that credit union staff need to navigate fewer touchpoints when serving your members. With one touch, team members can access your members’ entire financial picture—both within and outside the core—making their jobs easier. 

This partnership approach also allows Co-op and our vendor partners to mutually market new, best-in-breed solutions to our credit union clients, demonstrating our mutual investment in the long-term success of the credit union movement.  

In the end, Co-op does the heavy lifting on behalf of our credit union clients, allowing you to focus on what you do best, serving your members and growing your organization. 

Take the example of Co-op’s member card controls and alerts solution, CardNav®. In 2014, we developed a Co-op branded app, and deployed it in Apple’s App Store. We asked credit unions to direct their members to go to the App Store, search for “CardNav® by Co-op,” and download the app on their preferred device. 

But credit unions didn’t want their members using a separate, non-credit union branded app. They recognized that this would cause inconvenience and confusion among their membership, and they wanted to keep members within their mobile banking app to maximize engagement. 

Co-op listened, and we adjusted our approach to meet the needs of credit unions. Today, we offer CardNav as a solution that is fully integrated with the leading credit union mobile banking providers, providing a better member experience and ensuring members stay within the credit union branded ecosystem.  

“We heard from our clients, and made sure the latest version of CardNav offered the same features and functionality,” says Michelle Lemieux, Director, Integrate Product Management at Co-op. “But we put the credit union front and center, while enhancing the member experience in terms of avoiding multiple app fatigue and the need to download yet another app.” 

Another example is Co-op’s deep integration with Zelle®.  

Venmo—Zelle’s leading competitor—resides outside of the credit union payments ecosystem, so it reduces member engagement and increases attrition. In contrast, Zelle is a person to person (P2P) payment solution that is designed to be fully embedded within online banking. 

“We’ve been working with multiple providers to integrate Zelle completely into the credit union’s solution,” says Janet Regier, Product Manager for Engage & Pay at Co-op. 

“The more you can have the member engaged into your solution, the less likely you are to lose them,” Regier adds. 

Growing the credit union payments technology ecosystem 

To address a rapidly changing and increasingly fragmented financial landscape, credit unions must embrace new digital technology that includes embedded finance capabilities, financial wellness tools and a more immersive member experience. The future of credit unions is dependent on earning primary financial interactions with your members, by ensuring they are deeply and fully engaged every day. 

To support these goals and its mission of being the “credit union payments technology ecosystem,” Co-op is focused on proactively building strategic integrations with a carefully curated group of premier technology vendors. This approach ensures that the digital experience is seamless, simple and easier to navigate for both credit union employees and your members.  

To request more information on Co-op’s solutions, please contact your Co-op Business Executive, call 800.782.9042, or email 

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