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  • Writer's pictureJohn San Filippo

Hippodrome Experts Panel: Avoiding Tech Gaps and Overlaps

By John San Filippo

Finopotamus has assembled a panel of credit union technology experts for a recurring series, The Hippodrome Experts Panel, where technologists are asked a pressing and topical industry question. To close out Q1, 2024, the following query was posited: As credit unions assemble their ideal technology stack, what’s your best advice on how they can avoid gaps and overlaps?

Respondents are presented in alphabetical order by company name.This edition of The Hippodrome Experts Panel includes answers from:

Chris Cox, Chief Operating Officer, Apiture

Chris Cox

A modern technology infrastructure is key to meeting member needs in today’s digital-first world. However, the array of options promising benefits like improved member services and streamlined operations, compliance, and security can quickly become overwhelming. Consider the following as you evaluate potential changes to your tech stack:

Elevate the Member Experience: A good place to start when prioritizing technology investments is the member experience. What problems are you trying to solve for your members? How can you make their lives better? Although a core upgrade may be on the horizon, modernizing online and mobile banking first can be less daunting and can result in an immediate boost to member satisfaction. Intuitive data solutions designed to provide insights about your members and deliver a more tailored experience can also boost engagement.

Select Proven Partners: Evaluate the level of service and support you will receive from potential vendors and understand their willingness to engage in a strategic versus more transactional relationship. Talk to a vendor’s existing clients about issues like the implementation process and the vendor’s responsiveness. A trusted partner can help you navigate future uncertainties, identify gaps, and ensure you are maximizing the benefits of your technology.

Choose Flexible Solutions Built to Evolve Over Time: Selecting solutions that effectively integrate with your existing technology is essential to avoid costly and time-consuming implementations. Also, look for technology with the flexibility to scale and adapt as your needs change. Your solution providers should be willing and able to help you build or participate in an ecosystem comprised of best-in-class solutions that help you create an experience tailored to your members’ needs. You should not be forced to select only from the solution options offered by your core or digital banking provider.

Don’t Forget Internal Dynamics: Involve stakeholders from different departments in decision making to gain diverse perspectives and ensure buy-in. In addition, identify internal processes that may need to be refreshed. For example, new security technology should be accompanied by a review of existing audits and other measures designed to monitor for potential vulnerabilities. Training is also key to ensure your team can use new tools effectively and efficiently.

Landon Glenn, Chief Executive Officer, ASA

Landon Glenn

I spent time at the 2024 America’s Credit Unions Governmental Affiars Conferecne (GAC) asking credit union executives personally what functionality they used their credit union app for. The answers were nearly all variations of check my balance, transfer funds, pay bills and deposit checks. Sadly, I didn’t hear anything about some of the most important things I, and many others need. Questions like: When it comes time to invest, pay off debt, build credit, save money, buy a home, share a budget with a roommate or partner, or get a kids app, why do I have to leave the credit union to go find these essential tools?

How can credit unions ensure that members don’t have to leave the credit union to get the tools they need? Ironically, credit unions can plug these gaps by simply doubling down on KYC (know your customer) and storing and moving money, some of their greatest strengths. A tremendous opportunity exists because people hate sharing their credit cards, banking logins, and private data online.

Credit unions should increase privacy, security and control for members by taking these measures:

  • Provide a hub that grants the member access.

  • Allow members to create accounts with technology using a credit union KYC powered SSO (single sign-on). No more registering or sharing personal data they don’t want to.

  • Allow data linking, billing, and payments without having to expose account numbers, credit cards, or banking login credentials.

  • Letting the member decide if and when every dollar leaves their account and what data they share with others and what data to hide.

Imagine being able to go to a new website for a solution you have never used, instantly login, and subscribe to a service privately through your credit union hub.

Joel Legg, Vice President of Technology, Core10

Joel Legg

Navigating the complexities of a credit union's tech stack calls for a deliberate focus on establishing a strong data infrastructure. Central to this endeavor is the strategic use of middleware technology, which sets the stage for a robust, scalable system.

Middleware not only serves as the infrastructure's backbone, connecting a range of fintech providers, but also ensures that integrations are secure and systematically organized in one place. It facilitates data transfer between core banking systems and customer interfaces without disruption, even as the tech stack expands.

This technology isn't merely about operational efficiency; it affords your credit union greater command and agility in tech stack management, contributing to the institution's resilience and continuity. Middleware is indispensable for linking disparate systems and achieving a coherent customer experience.

Selecting middleware requires a customized approach that aligns with the unique needs and goals of your credit union. It's about connecting the dots between current systems, fintech partners, and emerging technologies, assessing the effort involved on your part versus the vendor, and the commitment of your team's resources.

Partnering with a middleware provider that brings a wealth of industry-specific experience — rather than a generic, one-size-fits-all solution — is critical. Experience matters, and working with a partner that has 'been there and done that' can offer invaluable insights and a proven track record for your specific challenges.

Furthermore, it's beneficial to work with providers that support established data models such as the Financial Data Exchange (FDX) standard. FDX is a testament to best practices in data normalization and is essential for developing API (application programming interface) solutions that facilitate financial data access. Employing this model can streamline your operations with various providers and speed up your entry to marketing, leveraging the provider's industry expertise to ensure seamless implementation.

Philip Paul, CEO, Cotribute

Philip Paul

The way to minimize overlaps and avoid gaps is to focus on the desired outcomes as opposed to focusing on the technology options. When you have clarity on what you are trying to achieve and the metrics and business outcomes that you desire, and when you use that as a framework to view technology options, you end up picking the appropriate pieces of the technology stack that will help you achieve those outcomes.

Paul Sheets, Executive Vice President of Customer Success & Services, Glia

Many credit unions today are challenged with member interaction gaps, largely because they still rely on antiquated, disparate systems to manage routine phone calls, digital messaging, chatbots, video chats, and SMS to power member support. The result is frustration for members because they find themselves on the wrong service channel or repeating their need over and over again. And you can imagine how inefficient it is for the credit union, not to mention the data silos it creates.

Paul Sheets

In response, more credit unions are unifying member interactions onto a single, unified platform for digital and voice interactions. Such a shift facilitates the fluid movement between each interaction channel – from a phone call to securely sharing screens, for example — within a single, cohesive experience. With all interactions stemming from a single platform, credit unions can offer personalized, effortless member experiences, and they can easily tap unified interaction data to identify member interaction gaps or problems in the member experience.

Overcoming the digital disconnect between the call center, digital interactions and AI-powered virtual assistants also offers significant operational advantages for credit unions. They can streamline internal processes, centralize the management of previously siloed channels and data, and reduce the time and resources spent on reporting and staffing. The increased visibility also helps credit unions determine the efficiency and effectiveness of their member interaction options and offerings.

The adoption of a unified, “channel-less” approach can help credit unions better manage and optimize their tech stacks related to the member experience while also boosting efficiencies. Those credit unions that embrace this shift will remain competitive, relevant and capable of delivering the high-quality, personalized service that members demand in today's "always-on" world.

Tori VanCura-Rutland, Chief Growth Officer, HC3

Tori VanCura-Rutland

Credit union leaders should ask themselves some hard questions before evaluating their tech stack or engaging with a new technology partner. Identify pain points driving the need for a new solution, ranging from inefficient processes to regulatory compliance challenges.

It's crucial to consider solution providers that seamlessly integrate to enhance both the back end and member experience. Typically, decision-makers differ from regular users of the technology. Involve day-to- day employees early to provide insights into current processes and areas needing support. Their subject matter expertise may uncover insights not considered by decision-makers.

At its core, banking is human-centric. Rely on member feedback in addition to internal stakeholders. Understanding member pain points and expectations is vital when investing in new technology solutions. Prioritize solutions aligning with member preferences to evaluate tech stacks and close experience gaps.

Shanon McLachlan, President of Credit Union Solutions, Jack Henry

Shanon McLachlan

The right technology provider will help a credit union ensure there aren’t any technology gaps or overlaps. So, what makes these providers the “right” fit? They have a deep knowledge of the credit union industry and a passion for strengthening communities through technology. They keep a pulse on the latest trends through associations, conferences, research, and industry relationships. They maintain an open philosophy and infrastructure that allows credit unions of all sizes to innovate, scale, and integrate with fintechs. And most importantly, they have a team of experts who take the time to listen and strategize with clients.

The right providers get to know each client and their unique needs. They understand factors like geographic location, leadership, membership, asset size, and more can influence these needs. Knowing this information helps providers make informed recommendations based on the clients’ needs, while addressing any gaps and avoiding potential overlaps. They become trusted advisors when they put their clients’ interests first and recommend solutions that are the best fit. These solutions can be their own or fintechs they have vetted and integrate with. However, this is only possible if the provider has an open platform to support both options.

A provider that truly knows your credit union and its future while continuing to provide expert guidance and innovation can help solve for gaps and overlaps.

Nish Shah, Executive Vice President of Engineering, Kinective

Nish Shah

Ensuring a streamlined and efficient tech stack is crucial for maximizing operational effectiveness and delivering exceptional member experiences. Here are some strategic tips to help credit unions navigate the vast array of technology options and minimize gaps or overlaps in their tech stacks:

Thorough Needs Assessment – Conduct a comprehensive investigation to identify specific needs, gaps, and redundancy requirements within your credit union's operations. Understanding these intricacies is essential for making informed technology decisions.

Alignment with Goals – Gain a deep understanding of both short and long-term goals of the credit union. This knowledge enables you to prioritize technologies that not only address immediate needs but also align with the organization's overarching strategic objectives.

Integration Capability – Prioritize technologies that offer seamless integration capabilities, particularly as you incorporate new fintech solutions into your tech stack. Easy integration ensures smooth data flow and interoperability, minimizing disruptions and maximizing efficiency.

Scalability and Security – Choose technologies that are not only scalable to accommodate growth but also prioritize robust security features. Scalable solutions ensure that your tech stack can evolve alongside your credit union's expansion, while stringent security measures safeguard against data breaches and cyber threats.

Vendor Due Diligence – Conduct thorough due diligence when selecting technology vendors. Assess factors such as reputation, reliability, and support capabilities to ensure that you're partnering with trusted providers who can offer responsive assistance when needed.

Compliance – Prioritize solutions that adhere to industry standards such as SOC, ISO, and PCI compliance. Compliance with these standards demonstrates a commitment to data security and regulatory compliance, instilling confidence in both members and stakeholders.

By following these best practices, credit unions can strategically navigate the complex landscape of technology options, which will enhance operational efficiency and also strengthen the credit union's ability to innovate and deliver value to its members in an increasingly digital world.

Pete Major, Vice President of Fintech Solutions, Member Driven Technologies

Pete Major

Credit unions continue to be inundated with fintech offerings for a variety of capabilities across the institution. While having these options available is exciting and presents strong opportunity, it can often be overwhelming. How can institutions ensure they’re picking the right tech for them, without too much crossover? How can they best vet each potential partner to be sure it’s the right fit? Navigating the fintech jungle can be especially difficult for smaller institutions without the extensive technology resources or expertise available onsite.

A strong first step is to prioritize fintech purchases based on return on investment (ROI) and impact to a credit union’s overarching strategy. For example, fintech partnerships around digital, payments and security/fraud are top priorities for many right now, along with any technology that can help with the attraction and retention of deposits. Look for the solutions that address the top areas of need, those that squarely solve the problem at hand, and then focus on finding the best fit.

When evaluating different vendors, it’s critical for credit unions to be confident that there is a strong values and culture match with the partner as well as alignment with the credit union’s larger strategy. Don’t just think about the salespeople but those on the operational and support teams that the credit union would be working with daily. Reach out to other credit unions that use the product for firsthand feedback. Select reference colleagues who have similar tech stacks as you (this is where going to vendor user groups is especially helpful). Talk with folks who’ve implemented the product recently and those who’ve used the product for a while. Think about the integration and how it will work within the current tech stack. Keep in mind, it’s almost impossible to find a perfect fit for every vendor category. Vendors are not discrete puzzle pieces and there is going to be some overlap across vendor categories. The point is to do your best, select a solid vendor, and then move onto your next priority. Because of the time and resources needed to properly select and vet fintechs, this is where relying on a trusted partner can deliver significant value.

Those who properly prioritize fintech solutions based on strategy, culture and values alignment have strong opportunities to improve member and employee experiences, improve efficiencies and innovate.

Stuart Mackinnon, Chief Operating Officer, NCR Atleos

Stuart Mackinnon

When evaluating technology gaps, it’s critical to consider member access to the credit union’s financial services. To expand access though technology while reducing overlaps, credit unions can embrace the shared ATM network utility model and reconfigure and optimize physical touchpoints.

Shared Utility Model for Self-Service In this approach, credit unions can plug into a network of ATMs within trusted retail locations (e.g., grocery, convenience/fuel and pharmacy), allowing members to securely withdraw – and in some instances, deposit cash from the convenience of where they live and shop. This is a cost-effective alternative to building new branches, extending their presence out into the community and allowing credit unions to match the scale and reach of larger financial institutions.

Reimagine the ATM Network ATMs offer convenient access to cash in locations where physical branches may not be available, but the traditional deployment model can prevent some credit unions from operating efficiently. An ATM as a Service model allows credit unions to rely on a trusted partner to outsource partial or complete ATM maintenance and management, offering a consistent cost structure, advanced security, and compliance support. Such an approach makes it easier for credit unions to deploy ATMs where members need them.

Incorporate Greater Automation in the Branch Optimizing physical footprints can also be achieved by incorporating smarter branch technology. ITMs provide a versatile solution, allowing members to perform various transactions efficiently, from cash withdrawals to more complex teller-assisted tasks. This strategy enables credit unions to extend branch hours and operate more effectively while meeting the growing demand for self-directed banking in areas where full branch services aren’t available.

Eric Brandt, Senior Strategic Market Analyst, NCR Voyix

Eric Brandt

When credit unions consider their technology strategy, it’s critical that they are setting themselves up for success by implementing modern architecture to support a digital-first approach backed by strong data to inform these business and technology decisions.

It all starts with the data. When harnessed the right way, critical member behaviors, channel preferences, transactional patterns and key events in the member journey are uncovered. Such insights can help credit unions identify any experience gaps or unmet member needs. Using data to drive technology decisions helps ensure that they are solving their members’ unique needs, not just purchasing new technology for technology’s sake. Data can also help uncover members’ usage patterns and behaviors, helping credit unions determine how to increase adoption and engagement. More are investigating how to leverage AI advancements to analyze data more quickly and effectively.

Member experience gaps often lie in the disconnect between channels, largely because many still have very siloed technology. While members are increasingly engaging digital channels to conduct their banking, physical channels such as call centers and branches are still critical to the overall experience. Digital-first really means providing consistent, quality experiences with digital and physical that work together to provide a seamless member journey. A true digital-first approach, built on open, modern architecture, will allow credit unions to quickly introduce new technologies to close any member experience gaps.

For example, merchants should have options to order ahead for change orders from their credit union using a mobile device and pick up at the teller. Small business owners should be able to apply for a loan online and then walk into the branch with any questions, without the teller having to switch systems or ask for repeat context.

Credit unions that rely on their data and that embrace cloud-based, modern architecture to power a digital-first strategy will be well equipped to close gaps and provide exceptional member experiences.

Brit Barker, Senior Vice President of Sales, Origence

Brit Barker

Credit unions are wrestling with the challenges of technology sprawl. There are numerous exciting systems that often complicate rather than make life easier. To tackle this, there are several smart moves credit unions can make.

First, ensure the new desired feature and functionality can align smoothly with your loan origination platform (LOS). If lenders utilize the LOS as their primary system to organize everything needed, from applying for a loan or account through booking funding, the key integrations with third-party providers, as well as the core and mobile banking platforms, the technology flows much better. This setup means less friction between platforms and better data utilization, which slashes tech sprawl and boosts efficiency.

A well-designed LOS also makes the loan journey smooth by minimizing tech sprawl functionality overlap. When a lender effectively utilizes data decisions, it increases member satisfaction. An elevated member experience ultimately strengthens member engagement and positive word-of-mouth advertising.

Operation efficiency is the overall goal for your systems. The best kind of LOS automates as much as possible, including document processing and underwriting, to minimize manual tasks and human error, allowing staff to focus on personal member service.

In addition, you will want your LOS to sift through analytics to spot chances for more loans and cross- selling opportunities to tailor your approach and hit the mark more effectively. This strategic use of info helps zero in on growth opportunities that align with the credit union's big-picture goals.

Dealing with technology sprawl means focusing on systems that work well together, simplify the borrowing process, maximizing operational efficiency, and using data to fuel growth. With these strategies, credit unions can tidy up their tech, deliver top-notch service, and stay ahead in the financial services game.

Pam Brodsack, Senior Vice President of Product Technology Delivery, PSCU/Co-op Solutions

Pam Brodsack

It all begins with a good, old-fashioned inventory. Credit unions evaluating the effectiveness of their tech stacks need a comprehensive list of all the technology they are paying for, inclusive of how each tool or system is being used and by whom.

Aside from having a widespread understanding of the full tech stack, there is a potential budgeting benefit from pulling together an inventory. With the prevalence of subscription-based cloud technologies, it’s common for organizations to find that multiple departments are subscribing to the same software. That awareness opens up all kinds of cost-savings doors, not to mention opportunities for developing good policies and procedures, such as centralized IT decisioning.

Once the inventory is in place, a useful next step is identifying which pieces of technology are delivering the expected return on investment. This is an evaluation best done every six months, given the rapid pace of innovation. What may have been a great decision three years ago may very well be a poor one today.

Credit unions should also consider evaluating ROI in the context of their competition. While fees may align with outcomes, there could be a hidden opportunity cost to not having the most recent release of a certain software or the most advanced iteration of a certain tool. If the competition does have access to the latest tech, are they beating you on member experience, staff satisfaction, efficiency or automation?

Above all, credit unions need to nurture a culture of continuous improvement. People are generally averse to change. Yet change is the one thing we can be sure technology will throw at us. Encourage non-IT technology users not to fear automation and to be confident in their ability to learn how to use new tools. With the sophistication of the user experience (UX) today, everyone can learn how to use new technology – and most will probably enjoy it once they work out the kinks.

Will Bryant, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Quantalytix

Will Bryant

Navigating the myriad of technology options available while ensuring seamless integration and optimal performance within a tech stack is no easy task.

First, focus on laying the core components of the tech stack as a high-quality foundation to your organization. Typically, there will be a limited number of core systems that do the majority of the work. Establish a foundation of high-quality core components that directly contribute to your key objectives. Prioritize investing in robust core technologies that form the backbone of your operations. These core components should be chosen meticulously to ensure they align with your organizational goals and values. Also ensure that the customer support and service level of these core vendors is first-in-class.

Second, opt for solutions that have the capability to evolve alongside your organization.

Ensure that your vendor shares your vision for growth and is committed to fostering a long-term partnership. Look for flexibility and scalability that can accommodate your expanding needs over time. If a technology solution has the objective of being acquired in the near future, it is likely the product or service will change from initial form.

Third, seek supplementary systems that are open and play nicely with the core technology stack. While core components are vital, they should be complemented by supplementary technologies that enhance and expand your capabilities. Be discerning in selecting additional software or technologies, ensuring they seamlessly integrate with your existing infrastructure and contribute to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your operations. In the long run, this will make managing the data within your organization much more fluid.

Seek vendors who are not just service providers, but true partners invested in your success. It's crucial to align with vendors who are dedicated to understanding and supporting your journey, offering ongoing support, and adapting their offerings to meet your evolving requirements.

Beyond the technology itself, prioritize vendors who deliver high-quality service and support. A strong service ethos ensures smooth implementation, ongoing maintenance, and resolution of any issues that may arise. By adhering to these principles and adopting a strategic approach to building and managing their tech stacks, credit unions can ultimately drive sustainable growth and remain nimble.

Jamie Lovell, Chief Operating Officer, Shastic

Jamie Lovell

Ensure that there is a current vendor map that displays what is offered and what has been purchased.

Ensure that there is a current vendor management procedure that updates vendor offerings based on release notes and quarterly sessions.

Develop a “system of record” and ensure that data is synced between systems and into the system of record.

Deploy technology like workflow automation to keep systems and data in sync.

Brian Bodell, Managing Director of Fintech Solutions, TruStage

Brian Bodell

With so many options available, it's crucial credit unions understand how to cut through the noise and leverage the right solution that addresses their needs, rather than succumbing to the allure of shiny new technologies.

Here are five steps for credit unions to follow:

  1. Start by defining clear objectives for selecting a new solution and how it aligns with your broader business goals. Determine what opportunities you want to address (e.g., improving the lending experience, reducing fraud, etc.) and/or what processes you aim to streamline (e.g. automating member service, marketing tactics, etc.).

  2. Develop a scoring model to prioritize what capabilities are crucial to meeting your objectives. Each component of the scoring model should be weighted based on its importance (e.g., 1-5).

  3. Conduct a market scan to identify a handful of technology providers that can meet 80% of your needs. Tap into industry experts, like Cornerstone Advisors, for advice and guidance. Narrow down options based on your scoring model and request comprehensive product demonstrations to assess compatibility with existing infrastructure.

  4. Upon selecting a provider, dive into a thorough due diligence process, digging into financials, product investments, architecture, deployment model, security profile, reporting capabilities, etc. Evaluate factors like user experience, data management capabilities, regulatory compliance, and integration feasibility. We recommend prioritizing solutions deployed in secure public cloud environments to tackle scalability issues and operational burdens.

  5. Prioritize partnerships with vendors offering ongoing support and collaboration. Establish clear success measures and tracking mechanisms before launch to effectively manage the partnership over time. It also helps to contract with a partner that you will be comfortable working with through thick and thin.” Agreements are typically three to five years, so relationships are important.

Brian Kaas, President & Managing Director, TruStage Ventures

Bryan Kaas

Credit unions should first evaluate their current offerings and partnerships to avoid overlaps and identify potential gaps. Then, they should compare this information to both their strategy and emerging trends. Conferences like America’s Credit Unions, GAC and our Fintech Summit, as well as forums and webinars like our Fintech Forum, can help credit unions stay informed and make decisions. From there, credit unions can see if their existing products and services are positioning them well for the future and the needs of their membership.

Fintech partnerships can help credit unions fill in any gaps, including:

  • Providing inclusive solutions – Underrepresented fintech leaders are often well positioned to build the financial solutions they never had. By partnering with these leaders, credit unions can make relevant solutions more accessible and affordable to underserved communities.

  • Promoting financial wellness tools – Credit unions can partner with fintechs to help members monitor credit, manage and pay off debt, finance bills, build savings, set goals, and more. These partnerships can also help teach members of all ages about finances and how to become financially healthy.

  • Offering personalized guidance – Credit unions can leverage the expertise of fintechs to provide personalized member engagement platforms. Many of these platforms use generative AI, which can provide a unique opportunity to experience the benefits of it.

  • Protecting their institution and membership – As fraudulent events become more sophisticated, credit unions will need to proactively detect and prevent threats in real-time. Partnering with fintechs can help credit unions respond quickly and mitigate risk, further protecting their institution and members.

As credit unions think about technology, they should consider how fintechs might be able to provide additional value to their existing stacks.

Marcell King, Chief Commercial Office, Tyfone

Marcell King

Integrating technology effectively in credit unions requires a strategic approach to avoid gaps and minimize overlaps in their tech stacks. Here are some tips and best practices:

Assess Current Technology Infrastructure: Before adding new technology, thoroughly review what you currently have. This helps identify any redundant tools and areas lacking sufficient technology support.

Understand Member Needs and Expectations: Align your technology investments with the needs and expectations of your members. This ensures that you are adding value to your members and not just implementing technology for its own sake.

Establish Clear Goals and Objectives: Define what you want to achieve with your technology investments, whether it's improving customer service, increasing operational efficiency, or enhancing security. This guides your technology choices and helps avoid unnecessary overlaps.

Integrate Systems for Seamless Operations: Look for technologies that can easily integrate with your existing systems. Integration helps in creating a seamless flow of information and reduces the chances of having isolated systems that don’t communicate with each other.

Focus on Scalability and Flexibility: As your credit union grows, your technology needs will change. Invest in scalable solutions that can grow with you and are flexible enough to adapt to new trends and requirements.

Prioritize Data Security and Compliance: With the increasing amount of sensitive financial data being handled, ensure that any technology adopted complies with industry standards and regulations to protect member information.

Regularly Review and Update the Tech Stack: Technology evolves rapidly. Regular reviews of your tech stack can help identify outdated technologies and opportunities for improvement.

Employee Training and Support: Ensure your staff is well-trained and comfortable using the new technologies. Their ability to effectively use these tools is crucial for the success of your technology strategy.

Seek Expert Advice: Don't hesitate to consult with IT experts, especially for areas outside your expertise. They can provide valuable insights into the latest trends and help you make informed decisions.

Measure Performance and Impact: Continuously monitor the performance of your technology investments. This helps in understanding the impact on your operations and member services, and in making necessary adjustments.

By following these guidelines, credit unions can develop a more effective and efficient technology strategy, ensuring that their investments are both impactful and aligned with their mission and member needs.

David Benskin, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Wealth Access

David Benskin

Unifying all data across the institution is the key to effectively managing your credit union’s tech stack. If your credit union offers a diverse range of services, like retail and business banking or wealth management, you need strong data flow to maintain consistent, accurate and accessible financial records.

The more software solutions your credit union implements, the greater your risk is of creating siloes among the different systems, which can hinder your team’s access to data. Having all your data organized in one place allows you to overcome these hurdles by promoting cross-team collaboration, preventing tech stack gaps and ensuring all teams have a single source of truth.

Taking this approach not only enables your credit union to streamline day-to-day operations but also to unlock greater system flexibility and adaptability. Unified data powers your team’s ability to seamlessly integrate new technologies and partner with fintechs without any obstacles. The data will be easily accessible and ready to go, so your credit union can hit the ground running and see immediate benefits.

Additionally, unifying data enables the credit union to create 360-degree views covering all your existing books and records. Gaining this holistic understanding of your infrastructure gives your team the insights you need to strengthen technology implementation processes looking ahead. It also allows your credit union to identify areas for improvement, optimize resource allocation and stay agile in responding to themarket’s evolving demands.

Scott Earwood, Director of Community Solutions, White Clay

Scott Earwood

This question can only be answered if the credit union has a clean data environment. This type of environment provides a comprehensive view of each member’s relationship and behavior, including their accounts, transactions, and product usage. Members’ behaviors indicate how they derive value from their banking relationships. Having visibility into each member relationship allows credit unions to fully understand members' unique financial needs and build stronger connections. This is how credit unions become more relational and less transactional. Credit unions can then use this information to identify any potential gaps and make data-driven decisions about technology investments.

For example, a credit union might see members leveraging a non-traditional financial service provider and decide to partner with a credit union-friendly fintech to fill the gap. This same data may show members aren’t aware of a similar service currently offered at their credit union. If this is the case, the credit union can save money and time on a new product and/or service. Instead, they can focus on educating members on available products or how to make the most of current offerings. Or they might consider offering temporary discounts to increase engagement on underused products and/or services.

A clean data environment can prevent credit unions from investing in products and/or services they already offer and/or that might not be relevant to their membership.


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