Today’s financial services customers are linked-in, online and well versed in navigating the cyber-universe.
That’s why credit unions wanting to grow must adopt a “mobile first” digital strategy in order to reach a growingly diverse audience, CUNA Mutual Group’s Kevin Miller told attendees Tuesday at the Online Discovery Conference.
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Miller, vice president of information technology, said the explosion of digital devices has changed the business landscape, driving stalwarts like Eastman Kodak all but out of business.
Big technology trends – social, big data, analytics and cloud – all converge within mobile technology, driving new and necessary strategies for credit unions and other enterprises.
“The number one mechanism for participating in social networks is via a smartphone,” said Miller. “Most cloud application designs have a ‘mobile first’ approach and an expectation that mobile devices are the primary user interface. Likewise, people want big data insights delivered to their mobile phone.”
Sales of mobile devices are soaring. By 2015, more than 2 billion mobile phones will be in the marketplace, according to a 2013 Gartner Research study, while sales of tablets and PCs are heading in opposite directions. PC sales are expected to decline by 7.6% while tablet sales will likely increase by 70%, sending a message that portability is king.
To avoid the fate of some other companies, credit unions need to be aware of technology trends and the impact on their business models.
“Banking is moving toward a contextual, customer-centric view as competitors better leverage proximity, preference and proliferation of engaging experiences,” Miller said. “We are moving away from banking relationships defined by the goal of being a customer's primary financial institution to one where we focus on becoming their primary financial application.”
Meanwhile, branch visits and transactions are declining, which will result in fewer branch locations and tellers. Management consultancy Novantas expects the number of tellers in the U.S. to drop to just 125,000 in the next five to seven years, from 500,000 today.
Credit unions that develop a “mobile-first” business strategy and anticipate and adjust to members evolving service expectations will be more successful in the years to come, Miller said.
Online Discovery is an annual online conference sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group that this year attracted a national and international credit union audience of more than 1,300. The virtual, no-cost event is intended to help credit unions remain relevant to members, manage compliance risk and drive growth, the company said.