Challenge 2025

The Digitization of the Global Credit Union System


A New Decade, A New Goal

In 2014, World Council of Credit Unions set a goal of reaching 260 million credit union members worldwide by 2020.

Through a concentrated worldwide effort, credit unions were able to reach our "Vision 2020" goal by 2017. But that growth was not even across all countries or among all credit unions. The credit unions that grew were those that offered core services via online and mobile channels. That is why we are now addressing how we increase membership going forward—through the digitization of the global credit union system by 2025.

Measuring Global Digitization

World Council will measure the digitization of credit unions in four key areas and report annually on the progress being made toward Challenge 2025.

Digital Channels

Offering members core digital transaction services such as online and mobile banking, online payments and online loan processing.

Digital Payments

Connecting your credit union to a shared payments system that allows for mobile payments and integrated with a national payments system.

Data Analytics

Employing data analytics to determine additional service offerings to members, and helping to identify those that need financial literacy or counseling services.


Implementation of a cybersecurity system that complies with national regulations to protect members' consumer data from digital attacks and intrusions.


Follow Our Progress, Tell Us About Yours

Track the latest developments in digitization by subscribing to our Challenge 2025 Blog. You can also send us updates on how your credit union or credit union system is striving to help us meet Challenge 2025 at

How Can You Make Permanent The Current Increase In Digital Banking Use?

This post was provided by Terence Roche, a principal with Cornerstone Advisors, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, and was reprinted with permission from GonzoBanker.

A recent William Mills/Harris Poll asked 1,043 U.S. adults, “During social distancing, how much more or less likely are you to leverage digital banking and digital payments?” Not surprisingly, most people said they would perform more digital activity. It is equally not surprising that adults with higher incomes were more likely to increase usage than those with lower incomes.

However, one answer warrants some thinking and, potentially, action. When survey participant responses were broken out by age:

  • 68% of those 18 to 34 years old said they would be likely to increase
  • 82% of those 45 to 64 years old said they would increase usage

It isn’t often that any poll shows older adults giving a more positive answer to digital banking than younger ones. Our initial reaction was the same as the folks at William Mills, which was that there might be a very logical explanation for this. Younger customers might not anticipate more digital banking activity simply because they already are heavy, frequent users. Older customers might say they’ll increase digital activity because they use it infrequently, or not at all.

Even if that’s the case, there are at least two takeaways from this poll:

1. Some of these older customers are those who will be using a digital banking solution for the first time.

While the poll did not ask respondents if they already used digital solutions, it stands to reason that some did not. The likelihood that stay-at-home will cause customers to try digital is being borne out by what we are hearing from our clients. Jeff March, CEO at $3.7 billion Citadel Federal Credit Union near Philadelphia, participated in a recent Cornerstone panel discussion and told the story of an 84-year-old member who signed up for mobile banking for the first time. He won’t be the only one.

So what? Financial institutions should ensure they have a focus on making these converted branch users regular, permanent digital users, at least for some of their interactions. This should be a straightforward reporting and marketing effort for the institution’s teams.

2. Some of the additional digital banking activity older customers undertake will be through the use of expanded features.

People who just checked balances before will use remote check deposit, transfer funds externally, or add their card to a wallet and use a new payment option like PayPal or Apple Pay.

So what? Customer usage of expanded digital banking options must become permanent. It’s easy to assume that just because we taught someone to fish (in this case, use digital), they will continue to use the new skills. Rather, it will take proactive, ongoing care and feeding. Nothing will make these relationships stickier that when customers find out how easy and useful it is to bank and move money digitally. And there are all sorts of upsides to getting customers to make your institution’s card the preferred one in any digital wallet. This is another good goal to set and track. 

If prior crises have taught us anything, it is that strong, permanent customer relationships can be built and cemented much more in hard times than in easy ones. These are two ideas that can help.