Looking Ahead to 2016: Credit Union Industry Experts Weigh in on Today’s Top Trends

January 4, 2016 CO-OP Financial Services

Looking ahead to 2016Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series of entries by CO-OP thought leaders as they share their insights on the top industry trends for credit unions heading into 2016.

Our industry is rapidly evolving, presenting credit unions with a host of new opportunities and challenges. Advances in technology and changing consumer expectations are driving credit union decision making on all fronts, especially as 2016 planning takes center stage.

So what exactly are the top trends credit unions should factor into their 2016 strategies?  Views from thought leaders at CO-OP Financial Services hold insights.

New Technologies are Transforming the Industry

By Lois Hansen, Vice President, Product Development, CO-OP Financial Services

Credit unions are facing many fundamental shifts across the industry, especially where payments are concerned. EMV is moving into the market and will continue to command our attention. EMV technology presents a high cost to merchants and issuers, although it needs to be implemented universally to keep the U.S. in step with global security standards.

Ultimately, payments are headed toward NFC (Near Field Communication). We will soon become a contactless payment society. Biometrics will increasingly be used for authentication as well, and will be explored beyond the fingerprint.

Though much publicized, wearables are still questionable as a primary payment channel.  There are utility issues with them, and their viability in the world of fashion remains uncertain.

In the payments arena, non-financial disrupters such as Facebook, PayPal, Amazon and Square are strengthening their presence, and credit unions and service providers need to assess which options to include in their product mix.

Mobile will continue to rise as a primary payment channel, bringing with it digital wallets, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. P2P payment technology is also advancing quickly and will soon become a staple in the daily lives of consumers.

Across all channels, new fraud detection tools will increasingly help provide a depth of defense – even as fraud continues to grow. Data analytics will also emerge as a force, both for fraud detection and member marketing.

For credit unions, educating members on powerful new tools of productivity, convenience and security is of paramount importance. Helping members to safely and securely realize the full benefits of these products can transform their credit union experience and inspire long-term loyalty.

Delivering Value to Today’s Complex Consumer

By Samantha Paxson, Chief Marketing Officer, CO-OP Financial Services

Connecting with consumers requires a deep understanding of their behaviors and values. And, that means there are two main trends in the marketplace today that all credit unions need to address. First, credit unions need to leverage digital banking, as digital is – and will increasingly be – the primary way that consumers interact with their financial institutions. Second, credit unions need to deepen their involvement in their communities, as evidencing positive social values – the values consumers themselves hold – is increasingly a determiner of buying decisions for the modern consumer.

Leveraging Digital Banking

Our consumer experience revolves around screens, and we expect flawless utility from every digital platform we encounter. On average, smartphone users check their phones 180 times a day, filling their lives with mobile moments.

Demographics are no longer a good predictor of behavior. Consumers of all ages, backgrounds, geographies and income brackets demand a flawless, expedient, value-packed digital experience that is highly cohesive between online and mobile channels.

Consider that more than 50 percent of consumers abandon a slow loading app or video after just two seconds. And 46 percent of consumers won’t return to a mobile site if it doesn’t work properly on the first visit.

So credit unions need to raise the bar across their entire slate of digital products in order to attract and excite members. They need to create a personalized, human-centered experience for members that is intelligently integrated and delivers the speed consumers today expect.

This experience should be driven by best-in-class digital banking solutions that are highly usable, secure, visually engaging and branded for the credit union. All front-end touchpoints in this solution should project a technologically progressive enterprise to members. And these solutions should be flexible and scalable to evolve as the needs of members change.

Pursuing the CU Social Mission

Remember, as well, that a credit union’s business model is mission-driven and based on the ideals of “people helping people.” Your members are likely drawn to your credit union because your organization reflects their social values.

Credit unions need to be involved in their communities integrally and long-term. Look for opportunities to reach beyond your member base to establish a presence in your local community. Find a way to give back and become an active local citizen.

Your mission should mirror your members’ aspirations for purpose, connection and convenience. And your interactions with members should artfully blend the human touch with the seamless efficiency of digital. Staying on course in these ways will help you stay connected with members and provide them with a richer, more engaging credit union experience.

The post Looking Ahead to 2016: Credit Union Industry Experts Weigh in on Today’s Top Trends appeared first on Insight Vault.

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