Credit Union executive and author of Credit Union 2.0 Chris Otey on Wednesday evening, encouraged officials and members of the St Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union to improve their strategies to continue to serve their members and attract new ones.
Otey was the featured speaker for the Everard Dean Memorial Lecture. This was the first time Montserrat hosted the lecture which honours the work of Dean, a former leader of the movement in Trinidad & Tobago. The event was part of the annual Credit Union Week activities.
Chairman of the SPCCU Eugene Silcott told the gathering that they must keep pace with the global thrust and create a seamless and cashless landscape for customers.
Otey’s presentation supported this statement and he showed examples of how the South Bay Credit Union he runs as well as others across the United States are utilising technology to improve their offerings to clients.
He commended the ability he had to connect anywhere he was on island to wifi and communicate with his family and office without hindrance. You have the infrastructure in place to establish a credit union 2.0, he said.
The presenter shared that credit unions must use the data they gather on their members to improve service delivery. Information such as their salary payment schedule, major purchases, etc. can be used to offer a new service or product based on their needs and life changes.
According to the author, mergers have reduced credit unions in the US from 13,000 to 6,000. This was one of the risks he identified as well as fintech companies such as PayPal and amazon. More people are bypassing their local financial institutions and making major purchases direct from suppliers. He said Uber and other disruptors was a threat. Credit unions were being forced to right off large loans which can no longer be repaid. Staying analog and paper-based in a digital age was also a great risk, he noted.
He called for the local credit union as well as regional ones to tell more stories so the public can know of the great work they are doing and how they are helping people to fulfil their dreams. He said they needed to learn how to target millennials, who trust Google more than humans.
Credit unions, he shared must follow the model of the top companies: create a great digital experience, provide recommendations to members, be accessible across all devices, integrate technology, customised to the members’ needs, and handle issues in real-time. As consumers use social media to make decisions, the movement also needed to be visible and vibrant on the platforms.
General Manager of the SPCCU Peter D.A. Queeley said they are moving towards providing more services to clients. Plans are in the works, he said to offer a debit card and ATM service to clients early in 2019. More products will become available as they continue to improve their liquidity.
The SPCCU currently holds 60 million in assets and currently holds 31% of the loans and 13% of deposits on island.