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Filene Reports Mobile Tech is Disruptive Force Not to be Ignored
Friday, September 11, 2015 6:35 AM

Mobile is a disruptive force that no credit union can afford to ignore, said a new report from the Filene Research Institute, “Mobile Banking: Trends in Technology, Innovation, and Equity.” The report is the result of a colloquium by Filene and Stanford University with representatives from academia, design, technology start-ups, and credit unions in the Silicon Valley.

“Embracing mobile can’t just be a matter of trying to copy the big players,” the report said. Credit unions “need to deliver a ‘table stakes’ level of mobile—ideally, through cost-effective collaboration—but they also need ways to use mobile to leverage credit union strengths and address member needs. Then, the system will make a real difference in members’ financial health and ensure its own.”

The colloquium addressed three areas:

  1. The role of money in people’s lives and how mobile can help them manage it;
  2. Measuring the impact of mobile services; and
  3. The technical aspects of the digital world, including protecting members’ data.

The group made five recommendations to credit unions:

  • Start now. Avoid getting overwhelmed or bogged down in costs, decisions, and options for mobile banking. Just start.
  • Collaborate. Collaboration should be the heart of the credit union experience. They have much to learn from each other, especially in technology. The credit union system will never be able to compete with huge banks and tech behemoths like Google and Apple, so it must collaborate to both minimize the digital valleys that drive members away and optimize the ‘peak’ experiences that delight them.
  • Go beyond the financial. Credit unions will provide a true alternative to the traditional banking model only if they make measurable differences in members’ financial lives. This goal should be central to every credit union decision, including how you’ll launch and support mobile. Credit unions shouldn’t just duplicate what banks offer. Instead, credit unions should seek out ways that their mobile tools can improve member quality of life and differentiate the credit union experience.
  • Embrace analytics. Mobile provides credit unions an efficient way to gather and disseminate information to the benefit of their members and provides data so credit unions can use new categories to sort members, such as sorting by what inspires the member instead of sorting by ZIP code.
  • Recognize that data security is critical. The digital world has fuzzier boundaries and definitions of ownership than the physical world. Credit unions’ success in the mobile world will depend on their ability to protect members against threats to their privacy and digital property.