Panelists explored how credit unions can stack up the “easy wins” in a transforming payments ecosystem on Tuesday at the Co-op THINK 2022 conference in Chicago.
Consumers expect a simple, seamless and trustworthy experience, says Peter Rae, senior vice president of sales at Cooperative solutions.
However, credit union members are increasingly finding that experience through fintech, he says.
Among the main products of credit unions in the payment ecosystem – and fintech’s most direct path to credit union members – is the debit card or, more accurately, the debit card number. Credit unions use this number for everyday purchases and digital subscription services.
“The top of the portfolio is still your best strategy,” says Rae. “But the portfolio has changed.”
Seamless issuance of not-present cards and digital cards are table stakes for credit unions in this new wallet, Rae says. “You have to meet your members where they are and be where they want to be.”
While credit unions may not match the social media audience and fintech innovation, they can excel in areas that are just as vital to member trust, he says.
“Fintechs take a lot of friction out of the equation and they also do a great job of messaging, especially to a younger demographic,” says Rae.
Credit unions should look for “easy wins” with the information and relationships they already have, says Jeff Pascoe, vice president of digital services and payments for $1.1 billion in assets Vibe Credit Union in Grand Blanc, Mich.
“Start with what’s important to you,” he says. “If card and payment experience is important, focus on the basics like finding more cards to activate and increasing usage to engage that member while you learn your broader lessons on how to segment markets.
Credit unions have “a market position to defend,” but face pressure of time as well as money, says Pascoe.
Vibe leveraged the efficiencies of mobile engagement as well as “staff development” to add value through financial education and personal interaction, he adds.
Pascoe says Vibe feels it lacks both time and financial pressure to meet member expectations.
“We come from a position of empathy and trust, and we put that through all of our channels seamlessly rather than just trying to be the next big thing,” Pascoe said. “It gives us resistance.”