Credit unions and outstanding member service go together like Mom and apple pie. Sure, credit unions have great rates, low fees, and a cooperative business structure. However, it’s always been the service that has set them apart. 

But, and it’s a big “but,” what constitutes excellent service is changing, and it’s changing at lightning speed. Advances in technology–coupled with the millennial generation’s unique expectations–are reshaping the member service landscape, which of course means reshaping the credit union model itself. 

Due to the significant shift, financial institutions are now transitioning from a “mobile first” to a potential “mobile only” perspective. Some financial technology providers, such as PayPal and Rocket Mortgage, are putting their efforts into modernizing the processes to open new accounts, move money or obtain a loan. Through technology, organizations like these are redefining what good service is by creating convenient, seamless, transparent, and omni-channel experiences. 

They’re raising the bar on consumer expectations of exceptional service. 

But there’s good news for credit unions, and plenty of it. A recent study by CUNA Mutual and TruStage found that 69 percent of millennials with household incomes between $25,000 and $100,000 were open to joining a credit union—they just didn’t know much about them.  

This same study also found that 66 percent of millennials worried about their finances every day and 84 percent said they would like advice or guidance on financial decisions. And that’s where credit unions have the advantage. Credit unions excel at financial literacy and education, especially when they’re able to get the member “engaged.” 

Which leads us back to the shift in member service. Engaging new and existing members requires a comprehensive engagement plan. This plan needs to focus on strategies for service success—digital and mobile first, along with complementary strategies for your branch and call center. 

If that sounds backward from where you are today, you’re not alone. According to an August 2015 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, only 26 percent of banks allow accounts to be opened on a mobile device. That means there’s still plenty of opportunity for credit unions to gain the edge on banks for the millennial market.  

So what do credit unions need to do to ensure their member engagement/service plans are poised to maximize growth opportunities? Here are three tips:  

  • Evaluate: Continuously monitor emerging solutions and the potential impact to your members. 

  • Strategize: Look for and prioritize digital experiences that will drive member engagement and add revenue. 

  • Engage: Stay informed of new and expanding payment options that will affect how your members interact with your credit union. 

As technology continues to reshape the expectations of a new generation of consumers, credit unions focusing on positive mobile/digital member engagement will succeed in capturing the millennial market and those consumers looking for a better banking experience. For more information on solutions that will help your credit union effectively compete in today’s financial services marketplace, visit our Payment Solutions webpage.