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Harrington Speaks on Member Convenience and Security Concerns
Friday, February 26, 2016 6:25 AM

At the murky confluence where "the need to provide convenience-based technological services to members" meets "the paralyzing threats posed by IT security issues," stands Randy Harrington, a man with a plan.

Harrington, CEO and founder of Extreme Arts and Sciences, will propose bridging these two seemingly disparate directives during his presentation at Catalyst Corporate’s upcoming Accelerating Success Conference. With more than 15 years of experience in strategic planning with some of the nation’s most forward-thinking organizations, Harrington is a sought-after strategist and consultant. Although his company has worked with the likes of Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Bluetooth, Harrington has credit union roots and remains invested in the success of the industry.

As future credit union success is pressured by mega-financial service providers and upstart, non-traditional, push-button, gee-whiz-companies, “credit unions can’t afford to leave the member experience to chance,” Harrington says. In many cases, that member experience includes providing convenience-based services that appeal to potential young members.

NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz touched on similar themes during this week’s CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. Matz told credit union leaders in attendance that turning tech-savvy “millennials into members, keeping pace with evolving technology, and adopting cybersecurity measures will determine the future of your credit union.”

To be successful, Harrington suggests that credit unions create a position of chief member experience officer. How that position can help propel credit unions to success will be among the topics covered by Harrington at his May 5 presentation at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Hint: Harrington asserts that data is at the core of member experience. “Data is what keeps us from guessing,” Harrington notes.

Harrington believes that credit unions must do a better job at developing and utilizing membership data. “Data appears to us as a liability right now, but processes can be put into place to cultivate it,” he says. Part of that cultivation starts with building a data-sensitivity culture within the organization, he says. Because of the risks associated with collecting and storing member data, hesitation surrounding its use is understandable. The task is not unlike the use of fire: get it right and you have good grillin’; get it wrong and you have a forest fire.

“One certainty exists for the future of credit unions:  protecting data and remaining security compliant will be become more complex, more expensive, and more essential,” Harrington says. However, “institutions that win have a cultural acumen that begins with an end-to-end sensibility of accountability. The culture of data awareness is necessary. There is no out of the box program that is going to take care of it.”

Harrington is one of a half-dozen industry thought leaders sharing their insights at this year’s Accelerating Success Conference. Details and registration information about the day-and-a-half conference can be found at