Increase Your Speed and Accuracy to Improve Service, Because Members Matter Most
Happy International Credit Union Day! With more than 186 million members worldwide and growing, there’s a lot to celebrate!
Clearly, consumers are voting with their actions – and money – and are taking advantage of the true differentiator credit unions offer: a focus on members. The addition of 1.3 million new members in the U.S. in just the first half of 2012 is more than credit unions realized in all of 2010 and 2011 combined. And total loan balances increased by 1.7 percent in the second quarter of 2012.
The 1.7 percent increase in loan balances shows that credit unions “are playing an important role in efforts to create jobs, stimulate small businesses, and revitalize communities,” says Debbie Matz, Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
That’s important, because today we’re not celebrating the growing assets of credit unions. We’re celebrating how credit unions serve members and their communities. It’s true, they really do.
Thankfully, credit unions don’t just pull out the party hats and think about members once a year. The seven principles that are the foundation for credit unions worldwide remind us how they concentrate on the communities they serve:
- Building financial stability
- Distribution to members
- Social responsibility
- Open and voluntary membership
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Democratic control
In today’s turbulent economic times, people want to know their savings aren’t going to disappear. They want to be part of the ownership of a not-for-profit cooperative organization where their feedback matters.
That’s the genius of credit unions – they focus on members because members are the owners. After operating expenses and reserve allocations have been met, returning income to members through higher dividends and great loan rates is what I call excellent service.
But how do they do it?
Using technology to increase speed, accuracy and member satisfaction
Using technology to make life easier for everyone involved is exactly why credit unions are experiencing such incredible membership growth. For example, innovative technology like enterprise content management (ECM) improves member service and reduces operating costs. ECM captures documents – and information – electronically and automatically routes them through processes, notifying key stakeholders along the way. Increasing the speed and accuracy of important processes like loan originations is better for everybody involved – both employees and members.
Many credit unions are embracing ECM to benefit both employees and members by:
- Increasing transparency to increase integrity and profits
- Using mobile solutions to help members and employees stay connected wherever they are
- Applying electronic signatures to speed processes so employees can focus on high-value tasks like opening new member accounts
Continuing to thrive by focusing on members
The 2012 theme for International Credit Union Day, “Members Matter Most,” drives home the service-oriented concept that lies at the heart of credit unions. With a true focus on members, they can take advantage of things like fast and accurate service; dividend payouts; and innovative, easy to use services and products.
To me, International Credit Union Day is important because it helps share an important message about credit unions: they’re not a lesser alternative to banks. They’re innovative financial institutions that quickly adopt technology to ensure they provide the best member service possible.