We all do it, whether we want to admit it or not. We all procrastinate. Procrastination does not discriminate and it’s extremely versatile. It affects men and women equally, along with every race and religion. It requires no training, one size seems to fit all, and it can be literally hazardous to your personal or credit union’s health. Consider this, you are never more productive than when you are procrastinating. Think about it. When you are putting something off that you really hate, like doing your taxes, you start cleaning out closets.
So many credit unions had good intentions with their project list, but often “putting out fires,” sitting in non-productive meetings, or being a slave to email kept us from getting the really important things done.
We had time to prepare
Few really listened when Bill Gates warned of a pathogen-based outbreak five years ago. Yet today, that now very famous TED Talk (that was a succinct 8 minutes and 37 seconds long) has been viewed by over 28 million people.
“We are not ready for the next epidemic,” began Gates. “We can have the tools we need, but those tools need to be put into an overall global health system. And we need preparedness. So I think this should absolutely be a priority….we need to get going, because time is not on our side.”
I have not heard about many credit unions that were really ready. None had a “global pandemic national disaster recovery plan,” which included closing lobbies, call centers working from home, social distancing with remaining branch staff, and a complete shut-down of non-essential functions. And how about the economic impact of massive unemployment? We, like most of America, were not prepared.
Where do we go from here?
So now what? Now is not the time to “hope” it will be over soon. Hope is not a very good business strategy. Now is the time to take action on those items that were or should have been on your “to do” list, and to make them a priority.
The closure of branches shined a bright light on our remote delivery deficits. Some really easy things that should have been in place, but for many were not, are:
- electronic signatures
- remote deposit capture
- voice banking
- AI enabled chatbots
- cloud-based core processor
- becoming an approved SBA lender
- offering digital identity solutions to members
How CUSOs and partners are stepping up
We are so proud to have many NACUSO Partners and members recognize the need for these products and services during the COVID crisis. Many have gone so far as to offer free services, with quick turnaround times to alleviate those member pain points immediately.
One of my favorite examples is eDOC Innovations. This CUSO, for over 25 years, has been designing easy to use solutions for credit unions that can reduce overhead, increase operational efficiency by focusing on eliminating paper processes, and provide mobile convenience to members. Three months ago, you might have thought, “Hmmm, okay, we should get around to that.” Today, you absolutely need that!
On March 17th, eDOC offered free eDOCSignature use until September 30, 2020. By April 6th, they announced they had implemented it in 51 credit unions.
Two of our Gold Partners, Alacriti and Yellow Messenger, have offered a basic chatbot service to help relieve stress in your call center. An AI enabled chatbot can handle those frequently asked questions that have been bogging down your contact center. Questions like, “Did I get my stimulus check yet?”
Just this week Amber Harsin, CEO of Prodigy, a cloud based core processor CUSO contributed this piece to the NACUSO blog. In the article, she points out that if your core processor was already in the cloud, working from the kitchen table is no different than working from a cubicle in the office.
Keeping members and their information safe should be a top priority for credit unions even when we’re not in a crisis. Credit unions need to redefine member engagement to increase digital trust and most importantly continue to provide an exceptional member experience. Every interaction that a credit union has with its members starts with identifying who they are. MemberPass is the simplest, most secure solution to verify your member. MemberPass is provided by CULedger, a CUSO whose mission is to deliver a trusted, peer-to-peer services network of verifiable exchange for financial cooperatives.
Credit unions need to keep up with the times
In October of last year, CUInsight published a piece I wrote titled “Hello is this thing on?” The point of my article was to reiterate that credit unions are not innovators — at our very best, we are fast followers. Our “let’s wait and see who else does it first” rate of adoption was going to kill us.
Best Innovation Group (BIG) had just announced CU Voice Registry. Nearly a quarter of US households now own a smart speaker (virtual assistant). Alexa controls 70% of the market. Although most credit unions now offer some form of mobile banking for their members so they can check balances (“Did my stimulus check come in yet?”), transfer funds, and so forth, very few have registered their voice. Imagine if you are cooking dinner and could just ask Alexa what your account balance is and the last five deposits. Would you believe this was possible last year?
Why didn’t we evolve faster?
Why did we hang on to the notion that members HAD to come into the branch or call the call center to get the vast majority of their business done? Could it be because the average age of members is still 47, and we didn’t feel the urgency?
There’s a lot of opportunity in adversity, and it’s all around us. This is not the new normal, as so many are calling it, it’s the new NOW. What are we going to do NOW to make our members’ and employees’ lives easier?