Let’s face it; the way we all do business has changed. We are living in an exciting age where technology is a huge part of our everyday life. With 137 million Americans now owning computers, and 60 million of them using broadband Internet access, expectations regarding technology are rising, and your members are savvy consumers looking for not only the best deals, but for convenience. The easiest way to offer more convenience is to empower your members by increasing your online presence using your credit union’s Web site. Successful credit unions are moving away from the old business model. It’s no longer safe to assume your members are going to stop by and learn about the products and services the credit union is offering. In order to compete, credit unions need a comprehensive technology solution that allows members access to cutting edge products and services 24×7. That’s why more and more credit union executives are looking to increase their online services. Making this information available on your Web site not only empowers your members, but it gives them more choices. Think about your call center. Some members prefer to talk to a live operator about a loan, but that doesn’t mean they want the transaction to be time consuming or that they’re going to be able to do it during regular business hours. Whether it’s 3:00 p.m. or 3:00 a.m., your call center personnel need to be armed with sophisticated software that allows them to offer quotes on a variety of products. Apply this approach to all your lending channels, including the indirect ones. Why compete with auto dealers for loans and GAP coverage when you can partner with them? Credit unions can generate loans through dealerships with software that ties the two together in a keystroke. And in the same transaction, if you have the appropriate software, the dealer can add your GAP coverage, credit insurance, and mechanical breakdown coverage. There are Web-based software applications available that integrate a myriad of information from insurance carriers, credit bureaus, and your own member data to deliver instantaneous quotes on a variety of products. In most cases, the loans and loan protection products offered by credit unions are better values than members can find elsewhere. Being able to make those products available at the members’ convenience is critical. When faced with limited options, members may choose convenience over price or features and end up purchasing these services elsewhere. We advise you to do business with companies who understand your goals and look for ways to integrate their products into your delivery channels. Consumers tend to look for one dry cleaner to do business with, one grocery store, one auto dealer, and thankfully, one credit union. Make sure it stays that way by keeping up with the demand for online services.

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