man holding smartphone to use a mobile banking app Source: Shutterstock.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck Michigan hard and fast in March, our credit union took a variety of early action steps with the goal of minimizing banking disruptions, assisting members financially impacted by temporary and permanent job losses, and keeping our 70-plus staff members safe. Suddenly, expanded online banking options, long one of our key strategic focus areas, took on an unanticipated health benefit, and we sent out a strong message to our 20,000 members that the safest way to bank was to use online and mobile banking and webchat, rather than coming into the branch.

While we were hopeful that members would comply, the shift to online banking was dramatic, with 50,000 more online transactions in April than in March – a 38% increase. April was another record month due to the stimulus payments, and the online trend is sure to increase as members adopt the newer technology, including a new mobile application we introduced in July  to further facilitate online transactions. While we have a six-branch network and serve the entire state of Michigan, we consider this new mobile app another branch, with a mobile video teller platform allowing members to connect anywhere and anytime for safe, secure banking. Its initial use – 46 video sessions with members in the first four days of the platform launch – far exceeded our expectations.

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