Digital Transformation and Small Credit Union Survival the Talk of SCUCE 22

July 14, 2022

Today’s financial landscape is grappling with the ongoing digital transformation that customers expect. Texts, emails, surveys, and even Zoom meetings are good ways to connect and keep a tab on the pulse of the banking and credit union world. However, nothing beats face-to-face chats. That’s why we were excited to get back to the Southeast Credit Unions Conference & Expo (SCUCE) and talk with our customers, colleagues, and other financial service professionals about what’s on the horizon for credit unions and other financial institutions.

From the creativity of booths from companies like Leverage to the traffic that stopped by our booth, the show was full of energy and appreciation for being out among colleagues. However, the crowd wasn’t without concerns for today’s credit union business and what may be coming down the road. 

Here are a few of the key topics that had the attention of many of the attendees:

1. Financial digital transformation is top-of-mind for credit unions.

Walking the show floor, digital transformation was quite the buzz. From digital payments to online banking apps and even cryptocurrency, members continue to demand more digital access to their banking services. This wave is driving credit unions to learn more and implement digital financial services to stay competitive with (and in some cases partner with) fintech companies making inroads into traditional markets.

2. Despite volatility, members are still interested in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency market has hit a rough patch as of late. But that doesn’t mean digital currency isn’t of interest to consumers. And it was a hot topic when speaking with credit unions at SCUCE.

According to the research from Fiserv, 61% of millennials and Gen Z cohorts want their bank or credit union to hold cryptocurrency. And as discussed in our educational webinar last October, about 78% of Americans do not own bitcoin, but 51% of those that don’t own Bitcoin are interested in learning more about it and are turning to financial institutions for that information.

3. How small financial institutions can survive through today’s turmoil

In addition to moving toward digital banking and financial services, smaller credit unions and other institutions face struggles as they compete with larger regional and national financial institutions. The challenges come from various avenues such as cybersecurity threats, continuing regulatory pressures, inflation, interest rate adjustments, and finding new products and services to boost revenues and gain a more significant share of members’ wallets–all while keeping current members happy.

4. What to consider when evaluating products and services that reduce stress for employees

What makes all of these challenges and shifts in business even tougher is the strain from the great resignation and a lack of quality applicants to replace exiting staff. And for those institutions that can find quality candidates for open roles, there are still gaps in staffing and, too often, too many processes requiring manual and time-consuming work.

We talked with numerous credit union leaders about the benefits of digitizing, automating, and outsourcing some services, such as real estate tax monitoring. But, of course, the key to a successful transition from overworked staff to an outsourced service is finding the right vendor that offers a customizable experience that improves accuracy, efficiency, detailed reporting, and more.

The financial landscape is changing rapidly. But, as we saw at SCUCE 22, astute leadership at credit unions are looking for answers to help them not only keep up with the changes but stay ahead. In most cases, technology is a large part of answering those questions and keeping members loyal and happy.

See how credit unions can use technology to improve member loyalty by downloading this whitepaper.