CO-OP CEO Challenges Credit Union Industry to Adopt Digital Mindset
Todd Clark, CEO at CO-OP Financial Services, tied a bow around CO-OP’s four day THINK 17 conference in New York City by challenging credit union stakeholders to adopt a digital mindset.
THINK 17 he explained is the first step in the digital transformation journey “Digital is the reality,” Clark said. “We have to figure out as an industry how we do digital better.”
For credit unions, that may mean changing the internal culture and becoming even more member centric. It also means becoming more vocal about the credit union philosophy.
“Credit unions are the original share economy if you think about what we do and how we do it,” Clark said. “Credit unions have been sharing for over a hundred and some odd years.” He conceded the general excitement over companies with novel business models such as Uber and Airbnb, but doesn’t think credit unions receive enough attention. “It is nothing new to us. I don’t know that we are getting our due. We should own the space.”
He not only challenged the industry but his own Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based company as well to be integrated and comprehensive while addressing three key factors: speed and ease, scope (making it easier for credit unions to interact with CO-OP) and system impact.
Regarding CO-OP’s role in this digital transformation Clark said, “As a leader, I have to change what we do and how we thought in the past.”
Clark touched on challenges and opportunities such as creating integration across all channels, deepening the intelligence of the data, offering consultation as a service, and providing a safe and securing payment environment.
The CEO also quoted Churchill, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
He vowed to work with credit unions to develop better products. “Not in a waterfall, where you get something cool once a year, but where you get something smaller but cool every few weeks.”
“Everyone is wondering, ‘What is CO-OP doing?’” Clark said. CO-OP’s plan includes five big initiatives:
- Create a simple ecosystem for all products and services.
- Provide consultative client service that terms data into actions and strategies.
- Deliver member facing innovations within the omni-payment experience.
- Streamline data. “How can CO-OP help credit unions build a more comprehensive view of their membership?”
- Bring business intelligence and machine learning to credit unions. “If we can do what we hope to do then it will help you guys revolutionize the back office and how you think about your membership.”
Clark also spoke of the importance of acquiring long-term strategic partner TMG, a card processing and payment solutions company. “It gives us the platform to take our member interface and consolidate it into a single platform and move it forward much faster than we could have done it on our own.” TMG provides services for credit unions and community banks.
“Change for the better starts with a digital mindset,” Clark said.