Online Almost All the Time

As business moves online, credit unions need to understand how to capitalize on the potential channels.


Technology affords credit unions an opportunity to meet member preferences. If a member wants to check his or her balance while waiting for a movie to start, a smartphone app can help. Maybe someone wants to transfer funds as they surf the Internet on the beach. A mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and a robust online banking site can solve the problem. And there are still others who want to apply for loans online. Where does your credit union stand on that?

Members want maximum convenience and minimum effort and confusion, and those expectations extend to the loan process. Several credit unions have turned this demand into results, and we’ll explore those in just a second. First, it makes sense to understand how members apply for loans.

A recent study showed that more than half of members who intended to apply for a loan (specifically a mortgage or auto loan) intended to do so online. That makes at least considering the service a worthwhile investment. 

Star One Credit Union ($5.58B, Sunnyvale, CA) gets almost all of its loan applications through the online channel. By partnering with Prime Alliance, the credit union is able to offer a solution that saves members time and keeps the credit union running efficiently.

Workers’ Credit Union ($796.1M, Fitchburg, MA) has seen similar success. The credit union met member demand with its online loan application and managed to keep risk and costs low. The online loan apps also help the credit union differentiate itself from competitors.

As people move their lives online, the future for financial institutions will be less about what you offer, and more about what you don’t. If you don’t have a mobile app, that will be a strike against you. If you don’t have a dynamic online banking site, that will hurt too. And not offering loan applications online could alienate members who value convenience over face time.

It makes sense to get onboard now. The online revolution doesn't have to leave your cooperative in the dust.