A core conversion can be a challenge for any credit union. It’s necessary in the long run to replace outdated systems and find robust new solutions, but the process of transition can be difficult. Here are five ways you can simplify core conversions for staff as well as for customers.
If you’ve ever moved your family from one house to another, you know how much easier the process can be if you set a basic schedule and stick with it. A core conversion is exponentially more complex. It’s a multilayered process involving software, hardware, human resources, customer service and many other moving parts. The better your schedule is planned, the more painless it will be.
Unless your staff members know exactly what’s going on during a core conversion, there’s a risk of encountering problems. Consider holding weekly meetings during the critical period of conversion activities. Encourage staff to ask honest questions about the process.
An important part of communicating with staff is letting them know which changes are most likely to have a direct impact on customers. Even people who largely work behind the scenes should have access to this information so they can better serve the whole company. Will the conversion take place during a payroll week? Will it be broken up into smaller subprojects or implemented all at once? How are customers being told about the changes?
Many credit unions find themselves facing reduced growth during the period immediately before a core conversion. Directing resources toward preparing for a core conversion can feel risky. Rest assured that the time and money spent on training and preparation is not wasted. It will simplify the actual process once you “pull the trigger” on the conversion.
Customers may be anxious during the critical period of a core banking upgrade. Even if they don’t fully understand what’s going on with your banking systems, they know that their money is at stake. They have every right to be concerned. Keep the lines of communication open and let them know what’s happening with their financial institution. Add extra customer service resources to deal with busy phones and online queries.
A core conversion doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for your credit union. It can go smoothly and successfully if you keep these tips in mind.
The differences between millennials and boomers, or even Gen X’ers, cannot be emphasized enough. One area in which this can be seen is consumer credit. Today’s young adults approach credit very differently than their predecessors did. In general, millennials shy away from credit and instead opt for the “pay-as-you-go” cash method.
Bankrate notes that only 37 percent of people under 30 have credit cards compared with 65 percent of people over 30. NerdWallet adds that 31 percent of people between the ages of 19 and 34 have never applied for even one credit card. There are several factors influencing young adults’ limited use of credit.
In 2009, Congress signed into law the Credit CARD Act, which placed firm limits on the marketing of new credit to college students. No longer could just anyone get a credit card. Persons under 21 must either verify sufficient income or have an approved co-signer.
One of the perks of a credit card is the ease with which items can be purchased. Millennials are the first generation to have grown up with debit cards, which offer them the same level of simplicity.
In general, millennials place less value on things like purchasing or renovating homes and more value on everyday health, wellness and enjoyment. They are content to spend more of their income on organic foods or local microbrews at hip grocery stores and less on new car loans. How this may change as millennials age will be an interesting trend to watch.
Certainly today’s young adults have heard more than their fair share of horror stories about consumer credit gone bad. Many of them have even witnessed their parents’ or other relatives’ financial disasters impacted by credit problems. As such, they are understandably more hesitant to get into debt than older consumers. This is akin to how people who lived through the Great Depression were averse to throwing things away or purchasing items they did not need because they had witnessed firsthand what it was like to not have enough.
While caution regarding credit can be a good thing, it is something that can actually hurt consumers in certain circumstances. When the day arrives that a millennial does finally want to buy a house, obtaining a good mortgage will be hard with little to no credit history.
Helping 20-something’s find the balance between just enough credit and not too much credit is something that today’s credit unions can and should focus on. They can simultaneously reward prudent behavior while educating consumers about how to protect their future creditworthiness.
As the face of a credit union to its members, employees play a direct and critical role in the institution’s success. Keeping employees motivated, happy and engaged should therefore be top of mind for credit union management. Following are some ways that this can be done.
By sharing company goals and status updates, credit unions can help employees see how their jobs and responsibilities play into the bigger picture. This can be a big motivator for employees who want to truly make a difference.
Let employees see that opportunities exist to grow within the organization. This keeps their focus on staying with the credit union rather than leaving in order to expand their horizons.
People appreciate knowing their employers believe in them enough to pay for training and education. This can strengthen employees’ loyalty and also better arm them with the skills they need to perform their jobs.
Instead of relying on outdated systems that are cumbersome and do not effectively address member or employee needs, credit unions should put time and money into newer systems and processes. When work can be made more efficient, employees can feel a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Every employee in a credit union has a unique perspective on how things work—or don’t—and can offer valuable insights to managers. When looking for ways to improve, managers are encouraged to ask the opinions of their employees on what can be helpful. This simple act alone can empower people, but when their suggestions or ideas are used in some form in an actual change, the boost is even greater.
Managers should always be on the lookout for someone doing something right. Catching employees in the act and acknowledging right then and there does wonders for people’s morale. Casual “atta-boys” go a long way, as do other reward mechanisms, such as additional time off or recognition at a staff meeting.
Sometimes people do need guidance, but how that guidance is given can make all the difference. Any critiques should be couched in a guiding and mentoring approach and philosophy.
Employees who feel treated like real people by managers will be more engaged in their jobs. Managers should get to know employees on a personal level and let employees know them as such as well. These seemingly simple acts go a long way toward making employees feel like people, not just workers.
Millennials have reached banking age en masse and today represent a large portion of potential members for credit unions. Competing against traditional banks for this segment’s business can be done but only with the right approach and intention—and it all starts with really knowing the audience.
Millennials choose what institutions they do business with in large part based upon who engages them the way they want to be engaged, where they want to be engaged and with what they want to be engaged. This, by and large, means online in some form.
Following are examples of what millennials want from a financial institution:
These features are seen by millennials as something basic that any credit union should have. Those that do not offer these online services—or that charge for them—will be quickly off the radar to a millennial audience.
This logical extension of online banking should come as no surprise to credit unions. But, beware—mobile banking does not simply mean access a credit union website on a smartphone, tablet or wearable. It means accessing a credit union mobile app on those devices. Via this app, members should be able to check balances, transfer funds, make deposits and pay bills at a minimum.
Where are millennials? Online. That can be on a website, on social media sites or on social messenger apps. Delivering customer service via all of these vehicles can be a superb way to show millennials that credit unions really understand them—and that is precisely what millennials want and need to know.
Despite what some people think, millennials are very open to mentorship. Not satisfied with the status quo, they thrive on asking questions and respond very positively to those who answer them with respect.
Credit unions can take a mentorship approach with this group in two ways. One is by hiring millennials and making the commitment to be an excellent employer. By doing this, institutions can cultivate ambassadors in the form of millennials.
Another way of doing this is by offering useful financial education targeted to millennials at their phases of life—in college, recently out of college, etc. These would be best delivered in an online forum and should be marketed on social media, via blogs, videos and other avenues where millennials will find them.
At the end of the day, millennials are looking for value. This should come in the form of actual services as well as added value such as education. Credit unions that offer this combination of benefits will find millennials coming their way.
Websites and mobile apps all around us continue to try and give us everything at our fingertips in the form of a “dashboard.” Developers know that we continue to strive for easier ways to do things with less clicks, so they continue to give us what we want. Our smartphones are a perfect product of this and they are predicted to pass up the human population by the end of this year! Smartphones continue to make it easier to do practically everything from a single device, without the need of a computer.
Why can’t we have something similar in the credit union industry that makes things like account information more accessible in one place? Member Screens do just that—give you everything (and more!) that you need to manage a member’s account information from one convenient place. Photo or ID verification is available immediately from the Member Screen, allowing for quick confirmation of the member’s identity. A full history is also available for the selected member with images of recent checks and receipts.
From the same Member Screen you can also perform multiple transactions, rather than having to jump to a different screen. With how much we all use the Internet, it’s always a welcomed addition when a site can migrate pages of information into one place. Less clicks and more information in one place is what we want! Instant access to create new accounts from the Member Screens is an additional bonus—again cutting down on the amount of clicks.
Like the rest of our credit union system, the Member Screens are completely customizable. Custom fields and account types can be created to fit your credit union’s solutions preference. The Member Screens can also be customized with a theme that represents your credit union’s colors and brand! This customizability allows you to make our cutting-edge software match your credit union’s technology needs.
This full set of features provides us with an all-in-one Member Screen that simplifies the process of managing a member’s account. With all of this at your fingertips it’s obvious that Member Screen is the next best invention in your credit union system.
CUProdigy is in the unique position to help Credit Unions ‘Advance Beyond’ by providing a core processing platform that puts the member experience first. CUProdigy empowers credit unions with a comprehensive solution that is both robust and scalable.