CUNA’s GAC is a great opportunity every year to take the pulse of the credit union industry, and this year it was great to see how strong that heart was still beating!
In addition to all the stimulating conversations we have with people at the industry’s biggest gathering itself, we look forward to the CEO Roundtable that our own clients at Callahan & Associates take the time to attend. Neither disappointed.
The big takeaways for me this year: the credit union movement is continuing the growth momentum it has experienced since the earliest days of the Great Recession, and there’s a lot of investment going on in both technology and people to keep that going.
These investments are in multiple channels, but, in sum, they’re focused on ensuring America’s credit unions are deploying the right people and processes and places to grow both membership rolls and engagement with those members.
Take processes. Credit unions are continuing their expansion of mobile services and home banking options alike, with many considering core conversions to make sure their infrastructure can scale with their growth. They also are investing in data analytics, powerful tools that enable our financial cooperatives to target products and services with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency. We’re seeing product gaps being filled and the member experience enhanced across all touchpoints.
As for places, the branch is far from dead, but forward-leaning credit unions are mixing brick-and-mortar with bits-and-bytes. That could be deploying personal teller machines to enhance and expand personal service where it had not before been practical or even possible. Or undertaking renovations and new construction using open designs and in-branch technologies that enable tellers and loan officers to go well beyond the confines of their traditional roles.
Finally, credit unions are about people helping people, of course, and making sure the right number of properly trained staff are in place to accommodate this growth and welcome the movement’s new members is a priority we heard discussed frequently at the GAC.
Especially heartening is the emphasis on identifying and delivering products and services that can only help the large numbers of struggling Americans with good jobs but not enough income at the end of the month. We firmly believe that credit unions are the ideal institution to help Americans experience both new levels of inclusiveness and a renewed sense of financial wellness.
After all, it’s all about the member experience. And what I heard this week gives me confidence that the credit union movement will continue to experience continued positive growth in the years ahead.