SAN ANTONIO —The marketplace for American credit unions is aging, getting younger, expects to have a branch to walk into and wants to do everything online, according to the president of one of the major technology firms serving the industry.
“We’re in a world now where personal service now means the same thing as self service, and that’s a difficult thing to get our heads around,” Mark Sievewright, president of the credit union division at Fiserv Inc. said Tuesday at the CUNA Operations & Service Council/CUNA Technology Council combined conference.
“But we need to be as good online as we are in the real world,” Sievewright told the conference’s general session at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio.
He outlined five trends he said credit unions need to pay close attention to: Internet-driven continuum of connectivity, the rapid evolution of payments, mobile (mobile and more mobile), the power of data analytics and the exponential growth of social media for businesses as well as individual consumers.
In addition to being all things to all people, Sievewright said, stiff competition is developing from Google, Facebook and telecommunications companies all competing to be the mover of digital money.
As an example, he noted that while the World Council of Credit Unions was rushing to help set up temporary credit unions in Haiti following its devastating earthquake – “and doing amazing work” – cellphone companies handled the donations of hundreds of millions of dollars, all by text.
While two-thirds of Americans now prefer the Internet as a way to access their financial institution, Sievewright said, 78% still use a branch. “They want to see somebody for complicated products like loans and investments or to pay something in cash,” he said. “And even if they never step foot in a branch, they want to know you’re there.”
To he compete on all those fronts, data analysis is now both powerful and simple enough to provide credit unions the ability to “harness data about your members and make it active, to predict which members will leave by attrition and what products you can offer them to get them to stay,” he added.
If the trends to multi-channel, always-on service are ignored, Sievewright said, he could point to the example of Blockbuster.
“They were killed by Netflix. What we have to watch out for is that we don’t get killed in this world of transformation,” he said.