If payments continue as their hub for mobile activity, credit unions seeking a boost in revenue must challenge disruptors by providing their members and business communities with relevant products and services.

Credit unions' roles are critical to their local economies, especially when they create value that many fintech startups can't, Jon Ungerland, cofounder of the Aurora, Colo.-based mobile transaction platform provider DaLand Solutions, noted.

The need to generate revenue is connected to the terror of becoming unimportant to members, Ungerland pointed out. That panic appears to be linked to the idea that fintech companies could displace traditional financial institutions such as credit unions.

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