Article written by:
Zach Bollinger, CPA
Senior, Assurance & Business Advisory Services

The old adage, embrace change or be left behind, is as true during normal times as it is during hard times, such as a global pandemic. Credit unions must recognize that even during hard times, opportunities still exist to support their members while also bolstering your competitive edge.

During this time of social distancing, technological opportunities are mutually beneficial to both members and credit unions. Lobbies and drive-throughs no longer have to be the only options for members to make financial transactions. Mobile apps, automated phone menus, and text-to-pay are a few of the ever-evolving ways for credit unions to provide their members with a safe alternative to in-person banking. These services require up-front financial investments, but as credit unions continue to explore new ways to bring in younger members and meet the expectations of our open-24-hours culture, this may be the perfect time to invest.

Not all opportunities require significant enhancements to your software. Small changes that focus on community and your customers might be most impactful. Consider temporarily waiving fees on ATM transactions, overdrafts, and late payments. Alternatively, increasing credit card limits, allowing ‘skip-a-pays’ free of charge, and increasing the daily cash withdrawal limits from ATMs can help a small business survive another month. These fee adjustments or temporary offers may cost the credit union in the short-term, but a reputation of being steadfast in times of crisis is priceless.

Lastly, strive to provide funds to members as quickly and safely as possible. Traditional funds such as paper money and checks may be seen as a potential vehicle to transmit viruses. Redirect this health concern as an opportunity to invest in contactless ways to provide members with funds through debit and prepaid cards. Furthermore, consider using online loan applications in order to evaluate and fund loans to members within minutes. These options also reduce the need for face-to-face interactions, which benefits both employees and members during this time of social distancing.

As the world manages a global pandemic, there are steps credit unions can take to meet the needs of their members while continuing to invest in a future beyond COVID-19. Whether it’s enhancements to technology, temporary offers to cash-strapped members, or decreasing loan application processing time, these opportunities can benefit members and credit unions. Most importantly, remaining committed to members, employees, and the local community will ensure that when business returns to normal, the credit union will be stronger than ever.

The era of COVID-19 has proven to be a challenging and confusing time for many, but GBQ is here to help and provide answers. Contact your GBQ advisor today to learn how we can best meet the needs of your business.

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