Self-Service Tools: Give Your Credit Union Members What They Want

Aug 22, 2023

Consumers choose credit unions over other financial institutions for all the reasons you advertise in your marketing: better rates, lower fees, member ownership and superior service. They also trust credit unions more, a fact particularly notable after the 2008 financial crisis.

According to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ Financial Trust Index, consumers surveyed in June 2012 trusted credit unions (63%) more than any other type of financial institution and almost three times as much as national banks (23%).

Credit unions continued to hold the top trust spot in 2020, tied only with local banks, but still 20 points higher than the big banks. Even so, the financial services landscape has changed drastically since then. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rise of digital-first banking, and consequently, increased competition from neo-banks.

With online-only presences, these industry disrupters can afford to offer higher rates and lower fees, encroaching on key competitive advantages that credit unions have historically relied on to attract and maintain members. Neo-banks have also set the bar for frictionless digital experiences, which consumers now expect from all institutions, including your credit union.

You can give current and prospective members exactly what they want by choosing a core solution that comes with accessible, easy-to-use self-service tools like those featured in CU*BASE from CU*SOUTH, a 100% credit-union owned Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO).

What Do Today’s Members Want?

Consumers were telegraphing their shifting preference for self-service tools even before the pandemic. In a McKinsey survey conducted in early 2019, consumers listed website/self-service among the top three ways they wanted to interact with entities like their financial institution.

By late 2020, 65% of company CIOs participating in a Gartner survey reported a rise in consumers using self-service tools, with 79% predicting a further increase in 2021. Even after physical facilities re-opened, consumers were still choosing digital banking self-service options.

In fact, the Chase Digital Banking Attitudes Study conducted in late 2022 found that “90% of consumers prefer to manage their finances all in one place,” most often their mobile banking app. This includes routine activities like checking account balances or depositing checks to even more consequential tasks such as applying for mortgages.

How Can Credit Unions Meet This Member Demand?

To compete with neo-banks as well as the most digitally mature among traditional banks, credit unions need to expand beyond basic digital services. Offering simple self-service tools like account monitoring, stop payment requests and check ordering through online or mobile banking is not enough anymore.

You need a far more extensive self-service offering that allows members to securely conduct their most important banking and financial tasks 24/7, in one place, with tools like these:

  • Account opening: To open checking, savings and CD or term accounts with just a few clicks and an eSignature, whether they’re a current or prospective member.
  • BillPay: To schedule and pay all their bills.
  • eAlerts: To receive important messages about available balances, overdraft protection, fraudulent activity, the receipt of ACH and other transfers, etc.
  • eStatements: To balance their account and monitor a month’s worth of transactions.
  • Loan applications: To apply for mortgages, all types of personal loans, lines of credit and credit cards.
  • Mobile card control: To turn their debit or credit card on or off for added security.
  • Remote deposit capture (RDC): To deposit checks as soon as possible.
  • Transfers: To request and schedule internal, ACH and wire transfers.

The most advanced self-service tools, like those available in CU*BASE, include even more features that help members simplify and streamline their financial lives:

  • Dashboard personalization: To identify and prioritize favorite accounts and features.
  • Modify or skip a loan payment: To manage their cash flow.
  • Money Map: To monitor all account balances (even those from other institutions) for a comprehensive financial view that supports budgeting to accomplish goals like paying off debt and planning for retirement.
  • One-click offers: To receive, view and accept loan, line of credit and credit card offers.
  • Pre-approval settings: To see and store loan pre-approvals.
  • Screen optimization: To allow members to conduct their banking with equal ease no matter what size device they use.

How Will Self-Service Tools Help Your Credit Union?

Not only are self-service tools a way for you to fulfill members’ growing desire to help themselves, but they also help your credit union help itself in several critical ways:

  • Attracting new members by presenting your credit union as a digitally savvy institution
  • Re-establishing member connections that previously occurred in person with two-way digital communications and timely offers that meet their financial needs
  • Increasing member satisfaction by making it quick, easy and secure for members to conduct all their banking in one place
  • Gathering important member intelligence and generating in-depth data analytics to identify ripe cross-sell opportunities that meet members’ particular needs
  • Easing the pressure on service staff by allowing them to focus on member issues that truly require a credit union representative to solve
  • Streamlining internal processes with data flowing through the core, eliminating the need to rekey information provided by members

In today’s highly competitive market, credit unions that don’t continue to evolve digitally will ultimately struggle to vie for consumer attention, much less loyalty and trust. Investing in a core that features self-service tools is a critical next step in your institution’s digital transformation.

Contact us to learn more about the self-service tools available in CU*SOUTH’s core software.

CU*SOUTH is building a collaborative, peer-to-peer community of Credit Unions
through shared development of technology and service platforms. CU*SOUTH is headquartered on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, with a nationwide network of CU experts.

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