Digging Into Data

Theresa Witham editor of CU Management magazine
Theresa Witham Photo
Managing Editor/Publisher

2 minutes

From the editor

I made my first Internet of Things purchase this month: “Unlimited Meows” for my son’s Amazon Echo Dot. 

Yes, now we can enjoy (er, “enjoy” may not be the correct word) the uninterrupted sound of meows, while undoubtably torturing our poor cat, for as long as we want. Or until I shout, “Alexa! Stop!” 

What does this bit of data tell you? That I love cats? That I’ll spend 80 cents to make my son laugh? That I was bored on a Saturday morning? This single piece of purchase information likely won’t be valuable to my credit union—though if its marketing messages contained adorable cat pictures, I’d be more likely to click! But when combined with data that shows recurring purchases at and the occasional purchase at pet stores across the country, it adds up to a more complete picture of a woman who spends money on her cat, even while traveling. This might tell my credit union that I’d be a prime candidate for a pet insurance policy or that I would be pleased to know the CU supports a local animal shelter. 

In our cover story this month, we dive deep into the possibilities of data, especially when it’s coming at you from all angles—including from connected and smart belongings. If you make a purchase at the coffee shop with your debit card, your CU knows something about you. But in the future, your credit union could work with payment processors to learn much more, explains Fred Cook, CIO at BlueShore Financial in Vancouver, British Columbia. It could see that you authorized the payment from your internet-enabled car in the drive-through, for example.

Deploying data analytics has led BlueShore to success in the competitive wealth management space. The CU combined data on “how members were using financial products, insurance and wealth management services, which in turn provided a broader, 360-degree view of their lifestyles to facilitate a deeper conversation,” says Cook.

For most credit unions, the key question is not whether to get into data analytics, but how, explains Shazia Manus, chief strategy and business development officer at CUESolutions provider AdvantEdge Analytics, Madison, Wisconsin. Launching these initiatives is a top strategic priority across the movement, and organizations are at various points along the “crawl, walk, run” continuum of implementation, she says. No matter where your credit union is at on that continuum, you’ll find helpful information for your data journey starting on p. 10.

Theresa Witham
Managing Editor/Publisher

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