The Future of Member-Facing Technologies in Credit Unions

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I try to keep blatant ads for my reports out of my blog posts. I’m afraid I didn’t try hard enough on this one.

Earlier in the year, Ben Rogers at the Filene Research Institute contacted me and asked me if I’d be interested in writing a report for Filene on the “future of member-facing technologies in credit unions.” I said “you bet I would, and regarding the topic, what did you have in mind?” Ben replied: “I didn’t have anything in mind. That’s YOUR job.” Got it.

After talking with a whole bunch of smart people in the credit union technology space, I began to fear that I stepped into something a little too deep. The ideas and technologies being discussed were numerous and all over the place. I stepped back and defined three areas that encompass a lot of the technologies that will define the future of member-facing technologies in credit unions:

  • Financial advice and guidance. To date, many member-facing technologies have focused on things like checking account balances, bill pay, and to a lesser extent, customer service. In other words, member-facing technologies have been predominantly account focused and transaction-oriented. The future is about advice and guidance — helping members understand how they’re doing regarding financial lives and making smarter decisions about their financial lives.  Technologies like PFM tools will evolve beyond budgeting and charting tools to become a platform for engaging members, and providing advice and guidance.
  • Social networking integration. Credit unions that focus exclusively on what to do with Facebook and/or Twitter will miss the boat. The future of member-facing technologies is about integrating social media tools and technologies into existing processes and sites.
  • Purely mobile apps. Providing existing capabilities like account access and bill pay through mobile devices is certainly needed, but the big opportunity for credit unions will come in the form of what Aite Group calls “purely mobile” apps — capabilities like location awareness, augmented reality, and mobile payments that are only available in the mobile channel.

In and of themselves, these technologies aren’t unheard of among credit unions. Anybody can tell you what technologies are coming down the road. The hard part is figuring what you need to invest, when to invest in those things, and how much to invest. That’s what I hope this report does. In it, I’ve defined a framework for credit unions to clarify their strategic priorities, and to tie those priorities to specific technologies and investments in the three areas above.

The early feedback I’ve received from the report is very positive:

“This is the best Filene report I’ve ever read.” — Ron’s mom

“I really like the pictures in the report.” — Ron’s 10 year old daughter

Check out the report on Filene’s site.

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