Mobile Lending Is Changing the Way Credit Unions Do Business

Credit union members are no longer satisfied with simply being able to check their account balances and transfer money online. Today, with 50 percent of U.S. consumers owning a smartphone (Neilson Mobile Insights, March 29, 2012), credit unions are expected to provide lending services through their member’s preferred channel, and for a whole new generation, that channel is mobile.

While most credit unions have online loan applications, many have not yet customized them for the mobile channel (both phone and tablet), which makes completing a loan application on a smartphone cumbersome. That’s why CUNA Mutual Group launched SmartPhone Loans almost two years ago to be the mobile solution to its online lending platform, Since launch, mobile applications have increased steadily and now account for more than 12 percent of total applications, translating to more than a half a billion dollars in loan applications by the end of 2012.

“The mobile channel is growing dramatically,” said Steve Hoke, Director of Loan Growth Products at CUNA Mutual Group. “Credit unions that ignore it do so at their peril. Not only does the SmartPhone Loan technology help credit unions grow loans through higher completion rates, but it also makes it easier for members to express interest in payment protection as part of the application process. We find that members do so roughly 50 percent of the time, making it much easier for lenders to include payment protection on the loan at closing time.”

SmartPhone Loans is a web-based solution that allows CUNA Mutual Group to make compliance updates without any distribution or maintenance challenges. detects the incoming browser and reformats the screen to display all the required disclosures on that particular device. SmartPhone Loans interfaces with more than 90 percent of the loan origination systems serving credit unions and has the ability to use the automated underwriting engine within the loan origination system to deliver a real-time credit underwriting decision to the member.

When National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz addressed the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs conference on March 19, 2012, she pointed out that with the average age of a credit union member being 47 and the peak borrowing ages of consumers being between 25 and 44, if credit unions want to make the loans they will need to survive in the years to come, they will need to attract new, young members.

“If you don’t offer what they expect,” said Matz, “they will take their business elsewhere. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that you use all the tools at your disposal to win over the next generation. If your goal is to attract new, young members, then you need to adopt new technology.”

Strategic Link is the NWCUA’s wholly-owned service corporation, providing the Association’s member credit unions with exclusive high-quality, competitively-priced products and discounted services. To start attracting new, younger members with SmartPhone Loans and technology, contact NWCUA Director of Strategic Partnerships Craig Reed: 206.340.4789,

Posted in CUNA.