I enjoy asking members, our board, and our team: Do you have a favorite mobile app? Some love Spotify for its ability to tailor a limitless catalog to very personal musical taste. Others swear by Waze and real-time data-driven directions to beat any map. Social media apps can foster genuine personal and professional connections. E-commerce and media apps know our personal preferences and often surprise us with insightful recommendations.
Digital is personal. Digital is innovative. Digital is convenient. Digital banking is great for our members. A peek at our phone’s screen time confirms the (occasionally guilty) truth that digital experiences are central to each day. Every industry is accelerating technology and data to enhance user experience. Credit unions are too. Our members have high expectations for simple and rewarding digital banking.
At Alliant Credit Union, we offer a national, digital-led member experience. We have no branches. Our members choose to engage digitally and—as is true across our industry—the pace of mobile, online, and API engagement continues to accelerate rapidly. Where personal assistance is important, we support our members with a 24/7 member care team. Where cash is needed, we offer more free ATMs than the two largest banks in the country combined.
A digital-first model creates unique advantage. We focus digital innovation on member experience. And we’re blessed with one of the most efficient cost structures in the industry. In turn, Alliant teams can return those advantages to our members. Deposit and loan rates are often as good as you’ll find industry-
wide—and fees are among the lowest. Last year, our teams were able to fully eliminate overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees. Branches are expensive and less utilized; and they have been closed in record numbers for years now.
As each of our teams seek to provide the best and most engaging digital member experiences, a few lessons guide us:
- Focus. Listen to the needs of your members. Follow the data. Don’t feel the need to be everything to everyone. None of us can win a technology arms race. By focusing on specific member goals and measured outcomes, you can be distinctive for your specific membership and create value with every investment.
- Digital is not a “department.” Our members experience digital end-to-end—weaving digital, operational, and human interactions together. For example, a digital user interface that quickly exits to a time-consuming manual operational queue will frustrate members. Explore how best to invest in talent, member-centered design, and technology across the credit union.
- Partner. Great talent exists within and outside our credit unions. In buy/build solutions, it can pay off in speed, cost, and capability to find good partners. At Alliant, we have a dedicated team focused on financial technology partnerships to bring the best of the industry to our members.
- Be bold. Find change agents within the organization. Push boundaries. Inspire innovation. Empower your team to be creative to provide compelling, data-driven solutions to your members.
What a fun time this is for our industry. We are all creating new opportunities to best serve our members through digital and data-driven capabilities. Alliant is glad to be a voice in this movement. If you have questions or want to share ideas, I would love to continue the conversation with you.
Credit unions and their associations can connect with the Network on LinkedIn or by email at email@example.com.