LAKE MARY, Fla.-The credit unions that grow this year will be those that have built "responsive cultures," according to one person.

Sam Kilmer, VP of market development for Harland Financial Solutions, told Credit Union Journal the key advice he has for CUs is, "Be nimble, be quick!"

"Responsiveness and synchronized delivery channels will further differentiate the growth credit unions of 2013," he said. "Tablets have morphed the differences between the online and mobile channels and brought about significant change within the branch channel, too."

Credit unions that are poised to react quickly with solutions stand to gain, Kilmer continued. He said from a tactical perspective, CUs need to recognize:

  • Mobile and online banking are moving beyond the transactional. For example, he suggested initiating relationship conversations, opening accounts, and originating loans through both mobile and online channels. "This is a win-win-win in that it is cost-effective, scalable and members love it. This responsiveness is vital to achieve wallet share growth without excessive marketing expense."
  • Channel synchronicity. Beyond promoting electronic channels, loans and electronic payments, Kilmer said branches will be more about proactive outreach and member interactions that are picked up where mobile and online left off. He said this typically involves consolidating platforms or orchestrating better handoffs between existing platforms. "The results can shift branches from transactional cost centers to growth centers," he said.
  • Business intelligence possibilities. Beyond right-message-to-right-member targeted marketing, he said abandoned or suspended mobile and online interactions should be targeted and picked back up. "Great service can result in good sales when the credit union is in the right position to ask for the business."
  • Backoffice flexibility. Core systems, content management and reporting systems need maximum flexibility to adapt to new channels, workflows and products, including money movement, business lending and billing services, he said.

According to Kilmer, there will be a reward in 2013 for those CUs that build "responsive cultures." He said feedback from CUs that have instilled a culture of responding to member needs is resulting in elevated member referrals from word-of-mouth and social/viral media.
"This responsiveness is vital to achieve market share growth and loan growth without excessive member acquisition costs," he said.

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