For any business, trust is key for retaining customers and attracting new ones. For credit unions, establishing trust is even more important because you are dealing with very sensitive issues—their money and their future. And we’re not just talking about convincing members to entrust us with their deposits in share draft or savings accounts. We ask our members to look to us for everything from financial planning and wealth management to lending to insurance related solutions, all of which drive revenue.
But building a trusted advisor relationship with your members on all things financial is easier said than done. Luckily, credit unions have a head start when compared to banks, not having to dig ourselves out of a ‘trust black hole.’
Many aspects of the credit union business model and brand just naturally lend themselves to building trust—putting members first, our service mentality, and so on. There is always room for improvement, though, so how would a credit approach building an even greater level of trust with their members?
Innovation can be hard to define, but you can think of it as “the successful application of new ideas.” ‘Application’ is the key word there – new ideas are the easy part – figuring out which are the good ones, and then applying them successfully, is more difficult.
So innovation is more than just an academic exercise or a tally of patents. The application of a new idea in the real world leads to new products, services, processes, systems, or attitudes that improve something or add value. With all of the changes that are occurring in financial services generally, and in the credit union business model specifically, being (and staying) innovative is more important than ever.
Every year at the NAFCU Annual Conference we recognize the very best innovations among our Preferred Partners that help credit unions thrive in an increasingly crowded financial services marketplace with the 2012 NAFCU Services Preferred Partner Innovation Awards.
We had another exceptionally competitive field of entries this year, and the difficult task of judging was undertaken by the NAFCU Services Advisory Committee, which is composed exclusively of credit union executives. I didn’t envy them in the challenge of picking the winners, and greatly appreciate their bringing a real-world perspective to the value offered by the innovations. No surprise as to what is top-of-mind – all three winners have solutions that help credit unions with marketing and growth. Read more
I like to say that one of a visionary leader’s most important functions is seeing over the horizon and recognizing opportunities and threats before anyone else does, and then shaping the strategy and tactics of the organization accordingly.
So for our year-end blog post I asked our Preferred Partners to tell us what they see coming over the horizon, from their perspective, that credit union executives need to be focused on and/or prepared for as we head into 2012. Here is what a few of them said — Read more
Category: Growth & Retention
, Management & Operations
, NAFCU Services
Tags: Allied Solutions
, Deluxe Financial Services
, Genworth Financial
, Pentegra Retirement Services
, Securian Financial Group
One of my favorite books about how the Internet and digital technologies have changed the way we do business is ‘Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy’. Written way back in 1999, the book was remarkably prescient in talking about how ‘speed, connectivity and intangibles’ will combine to transform business processes throughout the enterprise –
Speed is the shrinkage of time through near-instantaneous communication and computation. Connectivity is the shrinkage of space with the advent of the Web, E-mail, beepers, and other media of communication. Intangibles are values without mass, most importantly knowledge and its mobility, made possible through Speed and Connectivity.
Most important, when it comes to creating value the traditional lines distinguishing products from services are “blurring.”
There are many lessons to be derived from the book, but I want to focus on applying this insight to one credit union business process in particular – the onboarding of new members. Specifically, not just the discrete process of signing up members (i.e., filling out applications), but the process of engaging them in order to transform your credit union into their primary financial institution. Read more
At the core of the loyalty that members have displayed over the years is an unabiding trust placed in their credit unions, to the point that it has become a brand attribute for credit unions. But there have been significant changes in the way members view financial institutions in general, and these new perspectives affect how they view credit unions and their loyalty toward them. Have you done everything you can to adapt to the challenges and opportunities offered by this shift? I attended a packed breakout session at the NAFCU Annual Conference today called “Standing in Your Member’s Shoes,“ from Martie Woods, VP and Chief Experience Officer (I love that title!) for Deluxe Corporation. Read more