Credit unions (CUs) have had to shutter many of their branches or limit capacity alongside other financial institutions (FIs) to protect members and staff as the COVID-19 virus continues on. This shift to primarily digital comes with some perks, such as easier transactions and more connectivity for CU members, but it also means an increase in online payment volume that represents an irresistible opportunity for fraudsters.
Keeping members and their information safe is a top priority for the financial industry, but increased vigilance is more necessary than ever. CUs are seeing an increased number of phishing emails and overall digital fraud since the pandemic started, with 22 percent of American consumers reporting they have been targeted by virus-related online fraud, according to one survey. CUs that are adapting to an online-only banking reality thus also have to keep an eye out for more fraud schemes and are turning to technologies such as machine learning (ML) and data analytics to keep online data and transactions as secure as possible.
In the latest Credit Union Tracker, PYMNTS looks at how COVID-19 is affecting CUs, their implementations of new technologies or tools, and what these changes might mean for future developments in the industry and for their customers.
Around The Credit Union World
Consumers can conduct most of their everyday transactions they make with their CUs or FIs digitally without issue, but more complicated processes typically done in person are another story. Financial paperwork such as real estate loan documents often require signatures from notaries or other approvals which are typically done in-branch, something that is currently out of the question. Governor Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa) recently passed a State Public Health Emergency Declaration which states that notaries do not have to be physically present to sign off on these documents as a way to speed up the finalization.
Other CU organizations are also making moves to help ease the impact the virus has on their customers. The Alaska Credit Union League is suggesting that Alaskan residents head to their CUs and FIs to draft plans to pay off outstanding loans, for example. CUs in the state have responded by allowing their customers to stop payments for car or mortgage payments, and many are also waiving fees for late or missed payments. This will hopefully help state residents with some of their financial worries during the virus’s continued spread.
Credit union service organization PSCU is also among those adding new features to help make remote life easier for CUs and their members. The company has plans to further enhance its mobile services, including support for online card management tools according to a recent press release. These features are supported through PSCU’s application programming interface (API) for greater connectivity, allowing transactions to process more quickly and data to be shared more easily. CUs can mix and match service offerings on the API for more personalization and greater service, the press release noted.
For more on these and other stories, visit the Tracker’s News & Trends.
How Data-Driven Processes Can Improve Members’ Experiences During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Closing brick-and-mortar locations may be safe, but that still means many businesses, CUs included, need to pay even closer attention to the way they serve their customers. This is more difficult to do for some CUs than others, as they may not have the digital infrastructure needed to make sure consumers are fully satisfied with online-only experiences. Arizona Federal Credit Union, for one, is taking data-driven approach to understanding members’ pain points by proactively solving problems via journey mapping and service blueprinting techniques, said Dana Vas Nunes, senior vice president of member services for the CU in a recent interview with PYMNTS. To learn more about how Arizona Federal Credit Union is approaching new technologies and the impact of the COVID-19 virus upon these decisions, visit the Tracker’s Feature Story.
Deep Dive: Emerging CU Fraud Threats And How Data Analytics Can Help
CUs, like the rest of the financial industry, are adapting to a business model where most interactions are taking place remotely. That can be frustrating to consumers that are used to conducting more complex financial needs at branches, but moreover, this increase in online activity means an increased risk for fraud. CUs have been looking to implement sophisticated technologies to keep fraudsters at bay for years, but cybercriminals have made their own moves to bypass them. These bad actors are using innovative phishing schemes to take advantage of systems overwhelmed by the pandemic, and CUs need to find ways to shore up their defenses. Using data analytics to make sure consumers can be verified, and data can be kept safe, may be one way to do so. To learn more about how the use of data analytics could be critical to protecting against bad actors, visit the Tracker’s Deep Dive.
About The Tracker
The Credit Union Tracker®, done in collaboration with PSCU, is the go-to monthly resource for updates on trends and changes in the credit union industry.