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With COVID-19 vaccines beginning to launch around the world, credit unions are looking toward life post-pandemic. After a stressful and disruptive year, financial services leaders could be forgiven for yearning for a time before quarantine. Yet, despite an end being in sight, the global crisis has rapidly changed member behavior and expectations – perhaps permanently. An October 2020 report titled “COVID-19 and the Changing Financial Consumer: Impacts and Implications for FIs” by NY Pay and Phase 5 of banking services users’ behavior showcased the unexpected repercussions of prolonged branch closures and what financial institutions need to do to meet the new reality.

As they did during past financial downturns, consumers became more frugal with their spending and more focused on saving, even though nearly half saw no reduction to their income. In fact, many do not see their previous habits returning, even after the crisis ends. This disconnect correlates to the top concerns that have been expressed by consumers: The stability of investments, fear of debt and managing day-to-day expenses.

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