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Personalized banking a core feature for credit union members

Even prior to the pandemic, consumers were moving towards personalized banking as their go-to for financial transactions. It turns out that digital preference is here to stay, encouraging credit unions to accelerate their digital transformation efforts to keep up with consumer demand. 

As we dive deeper into this era of transition, consumers will undoubtedly be keeping closer track of their transactions, transferring funds more often, and altering their spending habits. While this can present certain opportunities for credit unions, it can also present a serious reputational risk if they get it wrong – slow to non-existent digital transformation, poor execution of onboarding digital assets, etc. 

According to J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Retail Banking Advice Satisfaction Survey, while 59 percent of customers expected their financial institutions to improve their financial health, only 47 percent of those financially healthy customers actually received that advice. Of the remaining 53 percent of consumers, 28 percent of vulnerable consumers, 16 percent of over-extended consumers, and 9 percent of stressed consumers reported getting advice from their financial institutions. 

Personalization your credit union members need

Considering inflation, interest rate hikes, abusive gas prices, and other consumer goods weighing down many Americans’ household budgets, it has never been more important in 2022 to take action upon supporting your members’ financial wellness goals with initiatives tied to personalized banking. 

As explained to ZDNet, “Personalization is the current roadblock,” says  Jennifer White, senior director for banking and payments intelligence for J.D. Power. 

White claims it’s not just a single area of advice from financial institutions that has declined. It’s financial planning, fee reduction, investment advice, quick tips, and saving, and how to save for emergencies, among others. “I find it hard to believe that financial institutions as a whole just started marketing less and sending out less information,” she continues. “So that tells me that the resonance of the information, and the marketing of it, whether it be from mobile apps or online banking, aren’t connecting.”

The issue, therefore, isn’t necessarily about the consistency or frequency. It’s about the content itself. Understandably, when the advice members receive is boring, bland, generic, or “cookie-cutter,” those targeted audiences are going to get turned off. 

Personalized advice = customer satisfaction scores

In the same ZDNet article, J.D. Power’s thousand-point scale shows that a single offering of personalized banking advice offers a consumer satisfaction score of 697 compared to a score of 583 from a consumer who received five pieces of generic advice. Personalized advice is guidance that meets members wherever, whenever they are.  That piece of guidance could show, for instance, how they could avoid a banking fee they had to pay, an alert directly relating to recent activity, or mobile banking options like the QCash Life Event Lending platform that could provide fast funds whenever they need it. Whenever a financial institution suggests a product or service it believes would be a better fit for members based on their needs or behaviors, customer or member satisfaction significantly increases

Putting the suggested financial tools and services to use following what may have been discussed in the branch location could be key in raising overall customer or member satisfaction with their financial institution. Jennifer White wants to make sure those financial institutions actually put them to use. 

“If you don’t have the digital tools that back up the messages that come out, if you don’t have the tools that are almost omnichannel with what the representatives in your (financial institution) are offering, then you have a missing piece of the puzzle.”

Offering personalized financial guidance is, indeed, only one aspect. Another is onboarding the financial assets that will enable members to have greater control and awareness over their financial circumstances. Assets that can entitle members to truly manage their finances during periods of economic distress. 

“Brands that have incorporated digital tools that are specific to advice and guidance of the key areas that really hit financial health – savings, budgeting, managing spending, paying down debt, or even just managing your borrowing in some way – and are complemented with those same services in branch, those brands are outperforming brands that have a series of well-rounded digital tools but are more transactionally focused,” said White. 

The onboarding and accessibility of digital banking tools can offer credit union members, together with an in-person representative when necessary, a strong connection, not to mention increased feelings of support, loyalty and trust. These feelings can manifest in longer-term revenue opportunities and a stepping stone to better, more lucrative financial products and  services for your credit union.

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