Challenge 2025

The Digitalization 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 digitalization of the global credit union system by 2025.

Measuring Global Digitalization

World Council will measure the digitalization of credit unions in four key areas for Challenge 2025.

Digital Channels

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

Shared Platforms

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

Risk Management

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

Data Analytics

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


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

British Credit Union Launches New Mobile App to Build Trust and Make it Even Easier for New Members to Apply for Loans and Savings Accounts

South Manchester Credit Union (SMCU), located in Manchester, England, and a member of the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd. (ABCUL), has launched its new fully branded customer app as it continues its drive to offer an easy and intuitive digital application journey for new members.

The thriving community-based loan and savings provider has once again teamed up with leading fintech company Nivo to offer a fully branded ‘white label’ version of Nivo’s award winning mobile app. The new and improved app guides new SMCU customers through the membership application process for becoming a borrower or a saver.

SMCU was founded in 2000 and currently has around 4,500 members living in the South Manchester area. It provides loans from £150.00 to £15,000.00, enabling its members to borrow money for a variety of purposes, such as back to school expenses, home improvements, appliances, electronics and vehicle purchases, and to deal with unplanned emergencies, such as heating and cooling system breakdowns or car repairs.

SMCU has built a strong relationship with Nivo since 2018, when Sheenagh Young, SMCU's Chief Executive, began a five-year digital strategy to improve and accelerate its membership application journey, cut down on phone calls, mail and email communications, and to help to grow its membership by attracting younger members, particularly those in the 18-30 age group.

Sheenagh was a very early adopter of Nivo’s solution and worked closely with Nivo founders Matthew Elliott and Mike Common to be one of the first companies to start using the new technology. In fact, the very first message sent via Nivo was from one of Sheenagh’s team members. Today, 90% of South Manchester Credit Union’s transactions are processed through Nivo and it is used as a digital ‘filing cabinet’ for every member interaction, helping efficiency, continuity and security.

Potential new members starting applications through SMCU’s website are invited to download the free app from the Apple or Google app stores. Once downloaded, the app, which carries the credit union's branding throughout, guides customers through the membership application process using an easy to use ‘WhatsApp’ style interface. The app then helps applicants to quickly verify their ID using facial recognition technology and upload required documents. Customized ‘bots’ automatically give assistance and prompts when required to ensure the applicant completes the necessary steps to secure their membership and apply for a loan or open a savings account.

The smart ‘bots’ have been particularly effective in streamlining document collection, a task which was repetitive and time consuming for staff and part of the application process where the SMCU was seeing the greatest time delays. The ‘bots’ deliver a great customer experience while accelerating the application process.

“We love Nivo and more importantly our customers love it too. This new branded version of the app is going to establish our relationship with the customer at the very start of their application journey, instead of asking them to start by downloading a third-party app they’ve probably never heard of. We noticed some people were dropping out at the very beginning and, with trust being vital in financial services, we can understand why some people were put off from going further," said Sheenagh Young. “When members use the app they couldn’t be happier. We have over 650 five-star reviews on Google, with many of them mentioning the Nivo app specifically. That’s a lot of positive reviews given we have around 4,500 members. We even had a member come into the branch and thank us for providing such a brilliant app for free. That’s how popular it is. It’s fun too, as we and members can use emojis and they send us photos of their new cars or their holiday snaps which we may have helped them to pay for. As a community-focused business, that relationship is really important to us. It’s easy, intuitive and probably the most reliable technology we use. I can’t wait to see how members react to this new and improved version."

This original version of this post appeared on the Nivo Hub Blog.