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Credit unions have long played a vital role in the communities they serve, providing much-needed access to capital for individuals and local businesses alike. This current time of crisis, marked by a global pandemic and shaky economic conditions for many, is no different. Many have stepped up to continue serving their members, and to facilitate access to the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans throughout this challenging time. However, rapidly unfolding regulatory obligations and social distancing guidelines have certainly presented a unique confluence of challenges – challenges that credit unions must be equipped to handle in the future.

Moving forward, the banking landscape as a whole will probably look quite different. The emergence of COVID-19, which has upended the way many credit unions do business, has inadvertently strengthened the case for an enhanced focus on digitization and agility across the entire value chain. As we have witnessed many states’ reopenings correspond with an alarming spike in coronavirus cases, it becomes quite possible that there will be a very real need for extended social distancing measures. To that end, we can expect to see more emphasis on e-signatures, real-time payments and remote identification technologies. It’s imperative that credit union leaders consider their digital strategy and whether it is adequately positioned to withstand a longer-term shift to remote operations, as well as nimbly adapt to further emergency financial measures akin to the PPP.

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