E-Channel Enhancements and Business Continuity Top the List of Credit Union Technology Priorities

Business continuity planning and electronic channel enhancements are key technology initiatives for 2009, according to Callahan's 2009 Credit Union Technology Guide.


Business continuity planning and electronic channel enhancements are the most frequently named technology initiatives for 2009, according to Callahan's 2009 Credit Union Technology Guide. Investments in backup operations for member service was the most frequently identified 2009 initiative, named by 56 percent of respondents. This is the second consecutive year that this category has been the most frequently named initiative as credit unions continue to ensure that members will have access to credit union resources in case of extraordinary events. In the past year severe flooding in the Midwest, Hurricane Ike in Texas and Louisiana, and wildfires in California all served as reminders of the importance of developing contingency plans.

In addition to member service continuity investments, 36 percent of respondents named another element of business continuity; transaction system redundancy, as a significant initiative in 2009. 

Electronic channel investments identified as 2009 initiatives include website redesign (54%) and home banking (49%). While almost all of the respondents have these technologies in place, this spending represents a significant new investment as they enhance/upgrade their applications.  Other significant investments in the e-channel include both e-statements and bill pay, named as 2009 investments by more than 30 percent of respondents. To a lesser extent, credit unions are also adding new capabilities to their websites, including new member account funding online (25%), PFM tools (15%), and automated consumer loan decisioning technology (20%). Mobile banking continues to be a top new technology initiative, including WAP/Mobile browser capabilities (26%), and SMS/text messaging capabilities (23%), and  software download (15%).

 Another area credit unions are investing in 2009 is security. With fraud continuing to be a challenge, penetration testing was named by 41 percent of respondents as an area of activity in 2009. Compliance applications such as automated BSA and SARS monitoring/ reporting tools were named by 35 percent of credit unions.

Technology Priorities
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Despite the difficult economy, credit unions are moving forward with technologies that they feel can increase operational efficiencies, or enable them to better target certain demographic groups.  Check 21 and imaging technologies are frequently cited as reducing operating expenses.  New online capabilities such as PFM and mobile banking are frequently mentioned as being used as part of a strategy to target Gen Y and Gen X members.