As the economy improves so does the credit union lending picture, with an emphasis on more and greater diversity of loans, participants at CUNA Mutual Group’s Online Discovery Conference were told Tuesday.
“We know membership is growing in response to banks’ bad behavior, so credit unions that are smart and aggressive have opportunities to grow by capitalizing on the recovery,” said Dan Kaiser, CUNA Mutual’s senior vice president of lending.
“Being aggressive on recapturing vehicle or home equity loans are prime opportunities and credit unions need to make their own judgment on direct and indirect lending, but it’s an option they shouldn’t discount,” he said.
An evolving regulatory landscape and increased competition from a variety of sectors have brought new challenges for credit union lenders, Kaiser said. But opportunities abound, and lifestyle and “green” loans – everything from cosmetic surgery and adoption to electric vehicles and energy efficient replacement windows for the home – may now be fair game for credit unions.
“Yet another challenge in meeting members’ needs is providing them with service on the channel they prefer,” Kaiser said. “It’s easy to look at smartphone lending use as a Gen Y issue. Actually, 55% of the 45-to-54 age group have smartphones. If you’re not providing mobile banking, you’re not even meeting needs of current members.”
Online Discovery is an annual, virtual, free conference sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group that this year attracted more than 1,300 registrants.