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From the CEO
September 30, 2021

Dear Members:

As credit unions continue to have more pressure put on our bottom lines because of the changes in the marketplace with the elimination of overdrafts and ongoing low interest rates, it’s important to be inventive and think outside the box, looking for replacement fee income that’s more member friendly. One way to find this replacement fee income is through the “featurization” of existing products and services and by embracing the subscription model.

Though the term “featurization” may sound unfamiliar, it simply means expanding the capabilities of the products your credit union already offers. A recent webinar called Regaining Your Financial Mojo, hosted by our CUSO, Sherpa Technologies, and their fintech partner, StrategyCorps, offers some important insights into how your credit union can begin to “featurize” its products and services.

For example, free checking accounts were wonderful when competition wasn’t as intense, but free products/services aren’t enough to compete anymore. Big banks, digital payment apps, and fintech have expanded the definition of the simple checking account to include features services and financial advice, helping consumers solve complex financial tasks in their lives with solutions like voice-activated financial assistants and mobile-first rewards apps that help save them money on their everyday purchases. In addition, the webinar also highlights the prevalence of “the subscription society.” Memberships to Sam’s Club, Netflix, Amazon, and Costco abound; the way consumers buy things has pivoted, and we need to adapt to and understand not only the behaviors of our members but also our competitors so that we are poised to deliver enhanced value.

To learn more about these topics, including what’s currently driving the market and how your credit union can begin to chart a strategy for the future, I encourage you to watch the webinar and check out this month’s feature article. Our goal is to help ensure that you have competitive digital offerings and that you’re optimizing the relationships with your members through some of the fundamental products, such as the checking account, that you already offer.

Best,
Melissa Ashley
President/CEO