Credit unions (CUs) remain strong, despite the many challenges they face. The G.19 Statistical Release, “Consumer Credit,” recently found that CUs hold $64.4 billion in credit card debt and $382.9 billion in car loans, a 6.9 percent and 4.1 percent year-over-year increase, respectively.
However, it is a quickly changing industry, thanks to digital banking. Its omnipresence is altering how members want to interact with their CUs, though regulatory and compliance issues often mean that members cannot reasonably expect the same lightning-fast interactions they might get from banks and FinTech firms. CUs are working hard to meet these expectations, though, leveraging tactics — such as emotional marketing — to get ahead.
In the December Credit Union Tracker, PYMNTS explores the latest in the world of CUs, including new regulations in Ireland, charitable CU donations for the holiday season, and how emotional marketing is leveling the playing field between CUs and their competitors.
CUs are working to build community ties, especially during the holiday season. Nine member CUs of the Southern Michigan Chapter of Credit Unions each donated $25,000 to a charity that pays off medical collection debts. The CUs were able to eliminate more than $2.5 million in debt, granting former debtors far more access to loans and other banking services.
However, an increased emphasis on members’ emotions does not mean that CUs are falling behind technologically. Credit union service organization (CUSO) CULedger is partnering with digital credential provider Autonomous Lending to offer next-gen digital credentials to its partner CUs. The initiative removes friction and reduces fraud risk when members apply for loans, also reducing the potential for human-based errors. This collaboration will help close the innovation gap between CUs and FinTech firms, according to a press release.
CUs are also getting help from world governments, as Irish CUs recently experienced regulation changes from the overseeing Central Bank of Ireland, ending lending maturity limits in favor of new concentration limits. This shift will allow many CUs to double or triple their lending capabilities, after taking effect in January. The new regulation was well-received by Ireland’s largest CU advocacy organization, which has lobbied for the policy since 2015.
For more on these and other CU news items, download this month’s Tracker.
Gulf Winds Credit Union Navigates Changing Member Expectations
Digital banking has greatly altered what CU members expect of financial institutions (FIs): faster services, seamless experiences and unparalleled convenience. These expectations can sometimes be unrealistic, but Pensacola, Florida-based Gulf Winds Credit Union is adjusting its engagement and retention efforts in light of the changing landscape.
In this month’s feature story, PYMNTS spoke with Gulf Winds’ Vice President of eServices and Payments Haley Murph about steps that the CU is taking to address members’ heightened demands, as well as how high expectations will shape the industry’s future at large.
CUs face tough competition in the financial industry, staring down established banks and FinTech firms that can often offer more competitive interest rates or larger loans. CUs looking to attract new members may have to emphasize what makes CUs unique, which can be accomplished via emotional marketing, highlighting trust and community ties.
This month’s Deep Dive explores how CUs are uniquely suited to deploy emotional marketing, as well as how CUs around the country have leveraged it successfully.
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