The Future of Credit Unions – Planning for 2021 & Beyond

December 30, 2020

future of credit unions for 2021


Last year at this time, your CU team was making plans for 2020 – how to create growth and continue to serve your members to the best of your abilities. But no 2019 business plan could have foreseen the crazy year we just had. So what does the future of credit unions look like now, and how do we plan for 2021 and beyond?

Here are some strategies and lessons credit unions learned this year.

Member-Facing Strategies

Optimizing member-facing technologies is a must. COVID-19 was a big catalyst for moving products and services online, and a great digital presence will be expected from now on. From apps to online forms to chatbots – contactless and convenience will be the big drivers for process change in 2021.

That technology also means it will be easier than ever to get your members connected with the right financial education classes and offerings your credit union is hosting or featuring. While the financial woes of 2020 could not have easily been anticipated by anyone, it’s no secret that everyone – especially small businesses and lower-income households – struggled to make ends meet this year.

Credit unions are essential contributors to financial education and literacy, and this will only be more important as we try to rebuild and recover all the things we lost in 2020.

Employee-Facing Strategies

The rise in technology can allow for more automation to take over tedious or repetitive tasks at your credit union, but with great tech comes great margin for error. Your employees are the face of your credit union, and your strategies for the future must include their opinions, fears, and concerns.

As you navigate the uncertain waters of 2021, be mindful of their needs – are there new or existing technologies that could reduce stress and increase productivity? Is there a recently-implemented technology that does not mesh well with your staff? Are your employees reporting member dissatisfaction with a new program?

Each of your associates has weathered a difficult year, some even by being laid off or downsized. Ensuring they are treated as a critical member of your credit union team can often result in better customer service, higher productivity, and more positive office morale.  

Community-Facing Strategies

The communities your credit union serves each have their own individual needs, just like each member and credit union employee does.

Community outreach has a number of benefits ranging from strengthening brand image to increasing collaboration within your own workforce. Customers and potential members are increasingly aware of the social and political implications their patronage of any business will have. Creating a brand that consistently cares for and works with local communities can go a long way in creating growth for your credit union in the coming years.

Take the First Step Forward in Your CU’s Future

IMS has a host of virtual private cloud and other tech services for credit unions. If you are interested in upgrading some of your technology with core hosting, virtual desktop, and disaster recovery tools, contact us today.

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