Like the rest of the world, credit union professionals across the globe breathed a collective sigh of relief when the calendar finally flipped over to 2021.
But while the new year has certainly provided a much-needed boost of optimism, it hasn’t changed the fact that many of the same problems caused by COVID-19 have carried over in 2021—including the challenges many credit unions face in providing members with access to remote financial services.
That is why the urgency to make strides toward greater digital transformation in 2021 will be amplified for those financial cooperatives that still lack online and mobile transaction services.
That was one of the key messages delivered by credit union advocate and technology thought leader Mark Sievewright during a December World Council COVID-19 Response Committee webinar—Driving Digital Transformation in the COVID-19 Era.
“Some things credit unions were planning to do two, three, four years from now, they’re actually trying to get done now or in the next 12 months,” said Sievewright.
Health concerns brought on by the pandemic have led to a decline in branch visits and cash transactions for credit unions around the world. That trend that is not likely to change once the pandemic is over either.
“One metric that I discovered recently was that between now and 2030 close to three trillion transactions will switch from cash to cards and digital payments—almost US $50 trillion in value,” said Sievewright.
That is why many credit unions list digital transformation as their number one priority—and why World Council is pursuing the digital transformation of the global credit union system by 2025 as an overarching goal.
“In the COVID-19 world, digital transformation is no longer just a matter of convenience but rather an urgent consumer imperative for safety,” said World Council President and CEO Brian Branch. “And once the crisis is over, digital services will no longer be looked at as a convenience but a necessity. Consumers will look for digital channels that are simple, easy to use, require fewer clicks, and work consistently without errors and dead ends. Credit unions must be able to provide those services to stay relevant.”
Throughout 2021, World Council will be sharing more stories of digital transformation successes, experiments and product development from a wider array of our member associations and credit union service organizations, as well as the credit unions they support.
If you’re reading this and thinking—"I want people to hear our digital transformation story"—please let us know. The fastest way to achieve our goal is to have credit union professionals from around the globe share their stories about which strategies, tools and products work, which do not—and how we can streamline the digital transformation experience for credit unions in every corner of the world.