Embracing Costovation: How Credit Unions Can Adopt Lean Business Practices

July 25, 2023



In today’s rapidly changing financial landscape, credit unions face increasing competition from traditional banks and fintech companies. To stay relevant and continue providing exceptional member experiences, credit unions must find innovative ways to streamline their operations and reduce costs while maintaining high-quality services. One approach that has gained traction is costovation — a strategy that combines cost reduction with innovation. Let’s discuss the concept of costovation, its benefits, and why credit unions should embrace it to enhance member experience and stay competitive.

What is Costovation?

Costovation refers to the process of reducing costs while simultaneously improving products or services, resulting in an enhanced customer experience. It is about doing more with less, finding creative ways to deliver value without compromising quality. This approach can help credit unions differentiate themselves from competitors while maintaining efficiency and financial stability.

Benefits of Costovation for Credit Unions

By focusing on cost-effective innovations and streamlining processes, credit unions can offer better products and services tailored to the specific needs of their members. This can result in higher satisfaction levels and increased member loyalty.

Implementing costovation strategies can also help credit unions identify inefficiencies and optimize workflows. This can lead to reduced operational expenses and improved resource allocation, allowing credit unions to focus on member-centric initiatives.

As credit unions embrace costovation, they can develop unique offerings that set them apart from traditional banks and fintech companies. This differentiation can help credit unions attract new members and retain existing ones. But with the vast amount of data available, credit union data analytics and discovery is essential. Raw, unfiltered data is unhelpful because you’re unable to use it to discover new insights and inform your approach moving forward. 

This Credit Union National Association (CUNA) article goes into more detail on how costovation can help businesses innovate without the high price tag.

5 Ways Credit Unions Can Implement Costovation

  1. Embrace Digital Transformation: Adopting digital solutions can help credit unions automate manual processes, reduce costs, and enhance member experience. For instance, investing in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) allows credit unions to leverage a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective infrastructure by outsourcing their computing resources, storage, and networking components to a third-party provider. 
  2. Leverage Data Analytics: Utilizing data analytics can help credit unions gain insights into member behavior and preferences, enabling them to develop targeted products and services. This can lead to increased member satisfaction and reduced operational costs by eliminating offerings that do not resonate with the target audience. It can also help credit unions avoid the pitfalls of bad data.
  3. Optimize Branch Operations: Credit unions should evaluate their branch networks to identify areas for improvement, such as consolidating underperforming branches or adopting lean staffing models. Additionally, implementing self-service kiosks or video teller machines can help reduce staffing costs and provide members with faster, more convenient service.
  4. Collaborate with Fintech Companies: Partnering with fintech companies can enable credit unions to access innovative solutions at a lower cost than developing them in-house. These collaborations can help credit unions enhance their product offerings, streamline operations, and improve member experiences.
  5. Invest in Employee Training and Development: By investing in employee training and development, credit unions can equip their staff with the skills and knowledge necessary to identify cost-saving opportunities and implement costovation strategies effectively.

Costovation in Action for Credit Unions

Some credit unions have simplified their loan application processes by leveraging digital platforms and data analytics, resulting in reduced processing times and improved member satisfaction.

Another common example of costovation is the introduction of remote deposit capture technology, which has allowed credit unions to reduce costs associated with processing paper checks while providing members with a convenient way to deposit funds.

By participating in shared branching networks, credit unions can offer their members access to a wider range of services and locations without incurring the costs associated with operating additional branches.

Costovation is an innovative approach that can help credit unions reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance member experience. By embracing costovation strategies, credit unions can differentiate themselves from competitors, attract new members, and ensure long-term financial stability. Ultimately, adopting costovation can lead to the development of lean businesses that people love, fostering a strong sense of community and loyalty among credit union members.

Costovation for your Credit Union with IMS Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) can play a vital role in helping credit unions implement costovation strategies. This approach eliminates the need for credit unions to invest heavily in on-premises hardware and maintenance, resulting in reduced capital expenditure and operational costs. By adopting IaaS, credit unions can allocate their resources more efficiently, focusing on member-centric initiatives and delivering better services without compromising on quality.

In addition to cost savings, IaaS also promotes innovation by providing credit unions with the agility and flexibility to quickly scale their infrastructure as needed, enabling them to respond to market changes and member demands more effectively. With access to state-of-the-art technology and tools, credit unions can develop and deploy new products and services faster, enhancing their competitiveness and member experience. 

By embracing IaaS with IMS as part of their costovation strategy, credit unions can build leaner, more agile organizations that are better equipped to adapt to the evolving financial landscape and deliver exceptional value to their members. Connect with us today if you have any questions or let us discuss our solutions tailored to your credit union!

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