How Credit Unions Can Build Successful Fintech Partnerships

Right now is an exciting time to be part of the Credit Union Movement. The industry is undergoing one of the greatest revolutions in its history — a time of monumental change, and along with it, incredible opportunity.

Just consider the evolution of auto purchasing and financing. Consumers can now go through the entire car-buying process online, without ever stepping foot in a dealership. As we continue to move into these digital ecosystems, the touchpoints in which the customer potentially completes a financial transaction or makes a choice on a specific lender will be earlier in the buying experience, so the need for a lender to be online, to be visible, to engage with the customers early on in their buying experience is critical.

Between the explosion of big banks, fintechs, and an ever-changing environment, one thing is clear — credit unions are innovating in ways they haven’t had to in the past, embracing the new opportunities and making the most of them. One way they’re doing that is by partnering with fintechs.

When Strategic Link partner CUNA Mutual Group launched CMFG Ventures in 2016, the main goal was to find emerging technologies in the early stages and bring them to credit unions. In the current competitive market, it’s important that the digital solutions that fintechs offer be available to credit unions and the millions of consumers they serve.

According to CMFG Ventures, fintechs are excited and eager to work with credit unions. They recognize the incredible member base credit unions have and the impact of the “People Helping People” mission. And they know that working with credit unions elevates their business in return — it’s an incredibly complementary relationship.

But where do you start? How can credit unions begin to foster these valuable fintech partnerships? CUNA Mutual Group recommends a few strategies:

  • Vet the opportunities thoroughly. Be sure to take the time to evaluate the partnership fully, including talking to their customers and reviewing the financial health and investors behind the company.
  • Define success. Set success metrics so that you can set expectations from the start.
  • Create a dedicated collaboration team focused on the success of the partnership and meeting those metrics.
  • Start small. Utilize pilots or targeted rollouts before scaling up with a partner and seek continuous feedback from your staff and members.
  • Join CMFG Ventures’ Fintech Forum. This new community provides an opportunity to connect directly with fintechs, learn about new technologies, and talk with other credit unions about their experiences. Click here to learn more about the forum and view all upcoming webinars.

For more information about CUNA Mutual Group, visit its partner page online or contact the Strategic Link team.