Financial credit

Use digital technology to engage UC members

In-person branch transactions have plummeted in recent years, meaning credit unions that aren’t innovating have fewer opportunities to capitalize on their oldest strength: personalized service. In ‘Credit Union Tracker’, Elizabeth Kaspern of TruMark Financial Credit Union explains how the CU uses member surveys, partnerships with FinTech vendors and virtual onboarding services to help meet the individualized experiences members expect .

PSCU - Credit Union Tracker - April 2022 - Find out how UCs can keep members happy by balancing digital and in-person services

Credit unions (CUs) have traditionally been known for their close relationships with their members, a quality that Elizabeth Kaspern keeps in mind when crafting the member experience as Senior Vice President, Chief retail and responsible for member services for TruMark Financial Credit Union, headquartered in Pennsylvania. CU is conducting numerous member surveys and has found that members want an individualized experience – a trend that has intensified during the pandemic.

Kaspern believes this is because many members’ routines have become highly individualized and retailers have begun to personalize consumers’ shopping experiences during this time, resulting in higher expectations for personalization. in other areas of daily life.

“The way everyone had to do things was totally different. There had to be this change in expectations,” she said.

In particular, UC had to use technology in innovative ways to ensure members got the services they needed. For example, although UC didn’t use electronic document signing much before the pandemic, it became an absolute necessity after its launch.

“It was a big change, not only for our members but also for our team members,” she said.

A technological shift

According to Kaspern, one of the biggest challenges UCs ​​face is staying up-to-date with new technologies, especially for organizations like small UCs.

“[CUs] are traditionally smaller than most banks,” she said. “So how do you track this technology against budget expectations?”

Partnering with the right fintech providers can be the secret to staying in the game. TruMark is currently working on building stronger online banking tools, Kaspern said. Although CUs may not have placed much emphasis on it five years ago, it is now a priority for the credit union. Other important areas include ensuring that potential members can open accounts or apply for loans instantly online. To do this, Kaspern said TruMark is strategically partnering with vendors that specialize in this type of FinTech.

“We have to look ahead and make sure the people we align with are also looking ahead, in every way,” she said.

Quality assurance and ease of use and understanding of site functionality have become key priorities, as tasks such as opening an account happen online as often, if not more often, than in person. . If it’s not an easy process, a potential member might consider switching to a competitor. Easy-to-use online services are key to engaging members, Kaspern said.

TruMark has integrated chatbots on its website and has also considered adopting video banking to allow members to manage their finances on their own schedule, and will join the Real-Time Payments network in May this year.

Another area of ​​importance for UCs is to ensure strict security of these technologies. As more banking moves online, the risk of fraud increases, Kaspern said.

“We need to be able to show our members that we are providing them with the highest degree of security that we can provide,” she explained.

Increase engagement

In-person branch transactions are down 25% over the past two years at TruMark, according to Kaspern. This decline reinforces the need to ensure the user-friendliness of all online interfaces and means that much of the engagement that traditionally occurs when a new member opens an account or visits a branch was not happening.

In response, the CU created a virtual onboarding process. After a new member opens an account, the CU sends them an SMS confirming the new account and linking it to content on the TruMark website. Additionally, the Member Experience Team contacts new members by phone shortly after they join to ensure they are properly onboarded and see if they have any areas of concern.

Kaspern has also sought to foster consumer and community financial literacy, a role credit unions often play. TruMark is making outreach efforts in local high schools and colleges to teach financial literacy to students who will soon become active members of the adult community. Kaspern said in his experience, members of the Gen Z cohort are a critical group that likes to align themselves with nonprofits. Although TruMark is currently focused on financial education for this group, they are also looking to involve them more.

Keeping technology offerings up-to-date, secure, and engaging is key to attracting and retaining UC members, as they prioritize convenient, personalized experiences. Kaspern said she is excited about the future, especially after the integration of real-time payments – a move she believes will be a game-changer by further increasing member satisfaction.

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