From the editor
Remember when Gen X was the hot, young demographic? Remember when the baby boomers shocked their elders with rock ‘n’ roll? My grandmother, from the Greatest Generation, once told me a story about daring to wear pants (instead of a skirt) to a cold Chicago Bears football game.
Clearly, each generation finds ways to improve on the past. “Millennials are often criticized for asking too many questions, for challenging accepted processes and for their so-called arrogance in simply not accepting things at face value,” says Ivan Seselj, CEO of Promapp Solutions. “By capturing their energy and channeling it to transform processes, credit unions can turn millennials into a great source for continuous innovation and improvement.” Read more about how to get the most from millennial employees in “Building Up Millennials’ Strengths.”
Millennials are often blamed for the decline in branch traffic, but that may not be strictly accurate. “We find millennials either want to do everything via mobile for transactions or, contrary to national studies, they want to come into the office,” says Sue Rising, VP/marketing at $3.6 billion Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Mechanicsburg, Pa., in “Mining Millennial Data,” a web-only article. For more about making data analysis a part of your CU’s culture, turn to p. 18.
And it’s not only millennials who are doing their financial business without coming into branches. In fact, Brett King, author, speaker and fintech entrepreneur, goes so far as to say that branches will soon be dead. “The only way to keep [members] coming to the branch is to remove the digital option, and that will never happen,” he says in our cover story, “Dead Branches?”.
I must confess, in the past year, I’ve only been inside my CU’s branch twice: once to deposit cash (because the drive-through line was too long) and again to get small bills for vacation tips. I would gladly have completed both of these transactions at a machine.
A technologically advanced branch can be a potent brand-builder, insists Brian Nesgoda, chief information officer and SVP/risk management at $750 million Sikorsky Credit Union, Stratford, Conn. “We don’t want to lose personal contact and relationship-building. ... You can build trust through phone conversations and live online chats, but meeting face to face will always be a special opportunity.”
What is your CU’s experience? Closer to Members 1st FCU and Sikorsky CU, or does King speak truth?
Here’s another question: How are your vendor relationships?
“When executives meet regularly with vendors, their credit unions get consistently better results from technology systems, tap more productively into their full functionality, make the most of updates, and get a jump on new feature and product releases,” writes Bob Roth of Cornerstone Advisors, Scottsdale, Ariz., a CUES Supplier member and strategic provider for technology and risk management services. Roth offers several actionable items to get more from vendor relationships, starting on p. 30.
If your CU is looking for a new vendor partner, the 2017 CUES Annual Buyer’s Guide is here to help. Keep this resource on hand all year, so when you’re shopping for a new mobile solution or seeking help with data analytics or branch consulting, you’ll have a ready list of the top credit union industry suppliers.