Member-owned financial cooperatives have a built-in advantage when it comes to competing with for-profit banks and fintechs for the hearts and wallets of today’s tech-savvy consumer; it’s the human touch.
Credit unions that combine best-in-breed digital lending platform technology, analytics tools to deliver hyper-personalized solutions and a best practices-driven approach to lending can effectively leverage that human-centric advantage.
AdvantEdge Digital, an early-stage CUNA Mutual Group company, is pushing that envelope. It has provided technology solutions and consulting services to more than 50 credit unions and continues to grow its stable of progressive, member-centric clients.
Among these clients is 121 Financial Credit Union ($638M, FL), which has reported several measurable growth outcomes following the implementation of the AdvantEdge Digital Lending solution. These include more than $2 million in funded loans, 15% of which came from new members. The credit union has also experienced upticks in self-selected guaranteed asset protection (GAP) and mechanical repair coverage (MRC) cross sells of up to 50%.
Kevin Polinsky, Senior Director, Digital Solutions, CUNA Mutual Group
Here, Kevin Polinsky, senior director of AdvantEdge Digital, shares more of the story.
Please describe AdvantEdge Digital’s lending and analytics solutions.
Kevin Polinsky: In the spring of 2021, AdvantEdge Digital formalized its purpose and commitment to the credit union movement. Our vision is to help credit unions unlock their digital potential. Our digital lending and analytics solutions, along with our consulting services, are designed to help credit unions close more loans and maximize performance. Our digital lending solution, specifically, was built in close collaboration with the strategic research arm of our parent company, CUNA Mutual Group.
The AdvantEdge Digital Lending solution is a point-of-sale loan application platform. The white-label, omni-channel solution gives consumers a hyper-personalized experience by integrating their data from day one. Through a continuously evolving SaaS platform, credit unions attract and retain members, reduce abandonment rates, and boost non-interest income via fully optimized digital lending experiences.
AdvantEdge Digital’s analytics solutions and consulting services meet credit unions right where they are on the journey to digital and data transformation. Our analytics consultants help strategize a data-driven way forward by first assessing the credit union’s distinct needs and then building a tailor-made analytics roadmap that prioritizes quick wins and agility. Credit unions learn how to enhance their own capabilities while solving problems and addressing opportunities via AdvantEdge Digital’s analytics solutions and/or consulting services.
How does the integration of lending and analytics tools in a single platform improve the ability of credit unions to compete in a crowded marketplace where consumers have so many choices?
KP: Bringing the two solutions together offers greater value to credit unions. That’s because data and digital are inextricably linked. For any fintech solution to really hit the mark for today’s members, it must call on clean, accessible, and – if possible – real-time data. To win with modern members, credit unions need solutions that are unified across data and digital.
What other opportunities and challenges does AdvantEdge Digital help credit unions leverage and overcome?
KP: Learnings from client engagements on both digital lending and data analytics layer over the SaaS technology we bring to the industry, allowing our team to take a consultative approach to a credit union’s strategy.
We continue to discover emerging member behaviors and preferences that help shape strategy. For example, we’ve found that mobile continues to be the primary way borrowers submit online loan applications. In addition, we’ve learned that engagement with value-add products, such as GAP, increases dramatically when cross-sold on a digital lending platform. Nearly half (49%) of applicants who are approved for a loan self-selected either GAP or MRC.
How does AdvantEdge Digital increase member value for client credit unions?
KP: It’s no surprise to anyone that tech innovators are reshaping member preference and gaining market share. Speed and ease of use are becoming the expectation around all digital-first financial services experiences, including shopping and applying for loans. By providing a range of human-centric, yet technology-forward digital solutions, AdvantEdge Digital brings to market quickly the kind of experiences that meet, and often exceed, modern expectations.
Our solutions increase loan production while reducing operational friction. That is so important because it frees up credit union lenders’ time for more meaningful engagement with members. Studies continue to show that although members are increasingly satisfied by self-service, digital experiences, the human connection is important for more complex transactions, such as mortgage, auto, and other consumer loans.
What differentiates AdvantEdge Digital from competitors?
KP: Our team of innovation-driven problem solvers knows how to catalyze growth and understands how to serve credit unions and consumers. The convergence of deep credit union industry knowledge (thanks to the backing of CUNA Mutual Group) and rich, varied expertise from outside the sector (through data analytics experts with Fortune 500 experience) is what sets us apart from other providers. We also have not seen anyone else providing the level of integration across digital lending and data that AdvantEdge Digital is bringing to the movement.
Another point of differentiation is the custom, client-centric approach we take from initial engagement to implementation and throughout our ongoing service. As Bob Morgan, CEO of AdvantEdge Digital client NorthCountry Federal Credit Union ($849.7M, VT), put it, “The AdvantEdge team understood exactly what we were looking for and tailored their offerings and scope of work to our specifications. It was a rare find in today’s crowded and noisy analytics marketplace.”
How can my credit union find out more about AdvantEdge Digital?
KP: Credit unions will discover a myriad of insights and perspectives around data and digital strategies at advantedge.digital. You can also follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AdvantEdge_ or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/advantedge-digital/.