The Next Big Trends in Online Banking

Strategic Link partner CO-OP Financial Services is passionate about delivering what credit unions need to be the best financial services providers for their members. The company’s suite of financial technologies helps credit unions strengthen relationships with those they serve by making banking services more convenient and accessible than ever.

CO-OP’s Chief Strategy Officer, Dean Michaels, shared insight on the credit union industry’s competitive environment, the challenges facing credit unions today, and how CO-OP can help them thrive.

What’s in store for credit unions over the next year or so?

DM: Obviously, a lot happened in 2020 that will inform how we move forward. While people tend to think we need dramatic and rapid change, COVID-19 has reinforced and accelerated much of what we were already seeing.

Consumers’ expectations from a digital perspective continue to rise. These expectations aren’t formed by other financial institutions or even big banks; they’re formed by big digital technology companies, whether it’s Apple, Amazon, or PayPal. It’s a huge challenge for credit unions and an opportunity for CO-OP to help credit unions reverse that trend.

How is CO-OP assisting credit unions in this area?

DM: We’ve been talking to credit unions about this for a few years and, again, COVID-19 is accelerating this. Whether they’re swiping, clicking, or tapping, members are moving money every day. So being able to meet members’ needs in payments, particularly digital payments, is critical. That’s what has informed our product roadmap, what we’ve delivered the last few years, and what we’ll deliver this year.

What’s coming up on your product roadmap?

DM: We organize our initiatives around two big themes: Improving our solutions so they’re more consumable for credit unions and enhancing member-facing solutions.

For the former, we made some big changes to our back-office interface, Springboard, last year. And we recently launched our redesigned reporting and analytics tool, Insights Center. This year, we’ll add enhanced analytics, member segmentation capability, and campaign management. On the member-facing side, everything is around supporting contactless payments. There’s such demand for this with the pandemic and peoples’ desire to social distance and not touch anything. Also, people expect everything to be instantaneous. They don’t want to wait for a card in the mail. So, we’re offering digital issuance and digital wallets.

We’re also launching our new Lifestyle Loyalty rewards solution. People want to be recognized for their loyalty. And while most people think about card-based loyalty, we’ll incorporate ways to reward members for the entirety of their relationship with the credit union, whether it’s deposits or a mortgage. That’s something credit unions have been asking for.

What gives you optimism as you think about the years ahead?

DM: COVID-19 created a flashpoint for members and wreaked havoc on their financial lives. This brought to the forefront that credit unions exist to help members around their financial well-being. I get excited about how this reinforces why credit unions exist and why they’re the right financial institution for members.

For more information about CO-OP, visit its partner page online or contact the Strategic Link team.