Become Your Members’ Primary Financial Relationship

It is every credit union’s goal to become the primary financial relationship (PFR) for its members — the relationship that supports their daily financial needs and helps them improve their overall lifestyle.

To achieve PFR status, Strategic Link partner, CO-OP Financial Services, says credit unions must embrace a human-centered approach to engaging members that fosters their trust. They also must implement the tools and technologies needed to meet the digital expectations of members and respond to their immediate and long-term financial needs.

Members now have their cards in many different places, and once those cards are loaded into mobile wallets and apps, they are rarely changed. Even when a member gets a new smartphone, for example, tech companies have made it easy to transfer and verify information, so the same cards are automatically up and running in the new device in that member’s commonly used apps. Establishing PFR with today’s digital-first member means remaining in apps, devices, and both mobile and physical wallets.

PFR status also hinges on the stability of payment experiences. Credit union technologies, and especially card products, have to work properly and securely at all times, across channels, without fail. Cash needs to be readily accessible as well. And if members want to speak with a human for help, live service and support should be available for them 24/7.

Most credit unions understand this paradigm well, but delivering the kind of engaging omnichannel experiences members expect today can be a challenge. The best approach is to advance strategies step by step:

  • Use data to understand members and how trends are impacting them. Remember that trends vary across the country, and a single approach to member engagement will not work for all credit unions. Design for members’ lifestyles, too — not just their life stages.
  • Develop a technology roadmap of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Take advantage of the expertise offered by industry partners and leverage their technological resources as well. Meet with partners, share your goals, and construct a plan to realize your vision.
  • Then attack that plan! Execute on initiatives, drive awareness with members, and reward them in meaningful ways for taking advantage of the new products, services, and features you are offering.

Learn more strategies for reimagining your services, operations, and business model at CO-OP’s upcoming THINK 21 virtual conference, which kicks off April 13 and will run throughout 2021. The theme for this year’s interactive events is “Rethink Everything,” reflecting the major shift credit unions made and continue to make to meet member needs and expectations amid COVID-19. Learn more about the conference and speakers online.

To learn more, visit CO-OP’s partner page or contact the Strategic Link team.

Posted in Industry Insight, Strategic Link.