CUNA Technology Council Conference 2018: The Top 3 Tech Takeaways

Audience in Conference SM

Editor's note: This year’s CUNA Technology Council Conference hosted discussions on the latest developments and trends in the credit union industry. 

D3 Banking Technology joined technology professionals, credit union executives, regulators and credit union market experts at the 23rd annual CUNA Technology Council Conference in San Francisco earlier this month.  The conference showcased modern technology designed to better meet member demands in the current credit union environment. 

Rapid technology advancements, growing expectations from members for anytime, anywhere access to their financial accounts and the evolving regulatory landscape have changed the way credit unions conduct business while also reshaping what resources and solutions they need to remain competitive. So, it was not a surprise to us that most of the conversations we had were focused on technology.  Below are three takeaways we heard repeatedly throughout the show.

1.  Credit unions want more control over their digital offerings.

Many credit unions are still relying on their core vendor for their digital services.  While doing so might be the easy route, it has resulted in significant challenges for many credit unions including a lack of flexibility, scalability and extensibility.  In many cases, the online and mobile products bundled with the core solution simply cannot meet the current market demand for faster time to market.

To be competitive, some credit unions are “unbundling” their digital channels and choosing to seek best of breed products, rather than enduring these limitations.  To prepare for a future where the success of a credit union will be determined by the quality of their digital offerings, institutions are evaluating solutions from companies that specialize in digital solutions.  The focus for these organizations is finding a partner with a flexible, adaptive platform that allows credit unions to improve time to market and allows them to control their own destiny with the level of configurability required to meet the unique requirements of their members.

2. Credit unions want to streamline their new account opening process. 

Credit unions at the conference made it clear that they need to enhance their digital strategy when it comes to opening new member accounts. The technology members depend on across various areas of their lives has made them unwilling to continue to use clunky online and mobile account opening options, some of which still require a person to go to the branch to complete the process. To remain competitive, credit unions want the account opening experience to be quick, convenient and fully digital for members.  Anything less risks a drop in member retention.

D3 demonstrated our new account opening solution at the conference, showcasing how advanced technology can turn what was once a suboptimal experience into a competitive advantage. Supported by one of the most advanced, modern digital banking platforms in the industry, the D3 account opening solution received high marks from attendees for providing the intuitive, frictionless experience members expect online and on their smartphones, with  all the necessary security and compliance requirements. 

3. Credit unions are working to balance security with ease of use to optimize member experience.

Many of the credit unions we spoke with rely on third-party vendors to provide specialized services and technology solutions to keep their operations running smoothly and to help improve the overall quality and efficiency their organizations need. Leveraging these service providers can help credit unions better meet their members’ needs while accomplishing their strategic goals economically.

However, many of these organizations shared concerns about the additional risk that must be managed by the credit union when depending on these third-parties. After all, if something goes wrong with the third-party, members aren’t going to blame the vendor but rather their credit union. To minimize risk, more credit unions are implementing a comprehensive vendor management program to proactively manage those relationships and better ensure compliance with NCUA regulations.

The conference was an engaging, educational experience allowing for a free flow of valuable knowledge, advice and expertise surrounding emerging technology and other timely topics. From the discussions we had, it is clear that credit unions understand that they can no longer afford to neglect digital banking offerings. If our conversations are any indication, many credit unions will be investing in technology and the digital transformation process in the coming year.