It’s Time to Envision Your Financial Institution as a Tech Company, and Here’s Why

Guest editorial by Eric Dotson, EVP, Aptys Solutions 


It is increasingly clear that the entire banking ecosystem and the way members interact with their credit union (CU) has been reshaped as a result of the pandemic. The pandemic served as a jolt to the trial and adoption of new digital tools and technologies across the country. Consumers and businesses, restricted by lockdowns, relied heavily on their digital relationship with their primary financial institution (FI). FIs were put in the position to lead them through this crisis and to help them with the tools needed to access digital mobile banking, contactless payments, faster payments, and cash management including faster access to their PPP funds.

Eric Dotson

Many of the transformative forces that shape members’ expectations of their CU relationship now require digital options; digital adoption by consumers that impact their daily lives, digital interactions that are getting closer to replicating most of our in-person and business interactions, and digital transactions and payments that deliver convenience, speed, and safety. From consumer to business to FIs, everyone is looking to technology and digital transformation to manage everyday tasks. The financial industry as a whole is experiencing a technological revolution and is starting to realize that CUs as well as banks are now becoming, first and foremost, technology companies that specialize in banking and financial services.


You’re not a financial institution


Recently, Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America described Bank of America as one of the largest technology companies in the US. Similarly, Dominos made the change to a technology company with a focus on customer convenience. By offering a one-touch ordering process to providing GPS tracking, Domino’s stock began outperforming big tech companies. They embraced digital transformation to deliver a consumer experience that is fast, easy, and fun. Even today, Domino’s continues to outperform its competitors. Not only can FIs learn a lot from Domino’s Pizza and how it transformed its business model, but they also cannot afford to overlook this valuable lesson. Although Domino’s Pizza is in the pizza making business, and FIs are in the banking business, both are actually technology companies that provide a service. Financial institutions that align their service with their member’s needs (both in technology and banking) will find greater success.


Survival of the digitally inclined


Payments are similarly experiencing a digital disruption. Surveys have shown that as much as 30% of consumers say they would consider switching to a different CU for faster payments. Not surprisingly, the percentage of consumers saying this seems to grow each year. Digital adoption by consumers and business is fueling the acceleration of change. The CUs who thrive are the ones that adjust their digital strategy to support the change and deliver the solutions members are now seeking. The financial services market is always changing, therefore it’s imperative that FIs are willing to adapt their vision and strategy to appeal to the market.


Faster payments are now reaching critical mass as more and more consumers and businesses learn about the new capabilities and benefits they can provide. To succeed, CUs must rely on agility in their deployment of new technologies. CU’s must be able to demonstrate to their members that they can deploy the newest technologies that attract and retain members. Mobile and digital faster payments are at the forefront for most members. Faster payments, FedNow℠ and RTP®, CBDC digital currency, crypto and stablecoin, distributed ledger, and digital twining are key future technologies to bring the physical and digital worlds together for improved member banking experience and meet the needs of a growing global 24x7 marketplace.


If your CU wants to succeed in this digital-first environment, you must reset your digital agendas to refocus on rapidly deploying digital technology to meet member’s needs. CUs need to be proactive to align with their members’ needs and define their role in providing those services as people today are quick to adopt the latest technology trends…even if it means switching or choosing solutions that are offered outside of the FI. For CU’s struggling with the disruption to their business, the quickest path forward is to find a trusted partner such as a corporate credit union or fintech partner that aligns with your strategic goals and consumer needs and will help transform your CU into a financial fintech provider for your members.

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