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February 16, 2021

Applying Technology to CU Member Satisfaction

Credit unions' unique approach to customer service helps them stand out against large financial institutions. Read on to find out how leading CUs use technology to improve member satisfaction.

How might credit unions apply technology to improve member satisfaction?

DENVER; Feb. 16, 2021 - When it comes to meeting consumers’ changing demands in the financial services industry, credit unions have traditionally been high achievers. Because they don’t think of their members as simple customers, they have a unique approach to what most call customer service.

This is not to say that credit unions aren’t using technology to improve their ability to satisfy those they serve. This is certainly true in the mortgage lending space. Like all lenders, credit unions tend to adopt technologies that increase borrower satisfaction.

To find out how technology is impacting member satisfaction, we reached out to three long time Mortgage Cadence customers that do a great job of keeping their members satisfied. We know this because all three of the institutions we interviewed for this article were recognized by Forbes magazine in its 2020 list of America’s Best Credit Unions. Read part one of our interview here.

According to Jill Sammons, Vice President of Marketing and Brand Strategy for Baxter [Healthcare] Credit Union (BCU), providing a better member experience with technology is a competitive imperative.

“Traditionally, in a commoditized industry the leaders would be the big national banks. They do business everywhere,” she said. “We must consistently explain ‘why us.’ Auto loans and savings accounts aren’t exciting enough to differentiate us and we can’t differentiate on service until we have the opportunity to serve.”

That’s why more credit unions are going digital, Sammons explains. “We benchmark against the Amazons, Netflixs and other tech giants that are creating a simpler experience for customers. With technology, we can personalize the digital experience. There are many great examples of this kind of innovation in the Credit Union space.”

One key to making this work is to make it easy for the credit union member to get what they want, whether that be a simple answer to a financial question or a new home loan.

“The ease of doing business is key,” said Lorraine Stewart, Senior Vice-President at Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU). “Whether it's walking into a financial center or meeting with one of our member consultants, we treat it as a high-touch transaction that can be made faster and simpler with digital technology.”

This is forcing older credit union executives to stay on the cutting edge and attentive to new technologies. As Randy Wacker, Vice-President of Mortgage Lending for GESA Credit Union (GESA), puts it: “I wake up every morning and tell myself, ‘Don’t let the old man in.’”

Wacker sees a future where credit union members can close a loan on a Facetime call and sign the documents electronically on a cell phone. These institutions are already doing this with auto and personal loans, why not the mortgage?

It’s certainly not the borrowers who are holding the industry back. “We sit here in the shadow of Amazon and Microsoft,” said Benson Porter, President & CEO of Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU) in Seattle. “People are much more comfortable with [digital] here. It’s a part of life now.”

But it won’t be part of life for credit unions that don’t keep up. Competitors are already implementing new technologies and the gap is widening, but credit unions tend to stick together and help each other serve members better. This is making this sector of the industry increasingly attractive to consumers.

“We compete with anyone who lends money,” Wacker said, but then qualified his answer. “There might be a credit union that considers us a competitor, but we don’t share that attitude. I don’t see the mortgage lending business in terms of scarcity. There is an abundance of business available to credit unions.”

BECU’s Benson agreed. “We don’t view credit unions as competitors. We are partners and most new credit union members are fleeing the big banks. We are seeing market share leave the Goliath organizations because they want to invest locally and do business with people who care.”

By Cate Dalton, EVP Customer Advocacy at Mortgage Cadence

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Media Contacts

Mortgage Cadence:
Megan Martin
EVP, Marketing
(516) 480-6765