Are we in a recession yet?
Technically, not yet, but experts predict a recession could be coming very soon. Regardless, individuals and families across America are already starting to feel the pain — from job losses, inflation, the inability to make loan payments and the need to to get cash from somewhere, anywhere.
These pain points are the “raison d’etre” of our nation’s credit unions and community banks. They are the reasons community financial institutions exist. (Three cheers for community banks and credit unions! 👏 👏 👏 )
Where to focus this year
Many community banks and credit unions wonder where they should prioritize their technology efforts this year. Research firm Gartner calls it “Differentiating with digital” — which includes automating processes, using artificial intelligence, and combining the best in physical-plus-digital tools. These high-level best practices are helping thousands of credit unions and community banks (CFIs) nationwide to better connect with their members and streamline operations so they can not only survive, but thrive through the likely upcoming recession.
How CSCU cut expenses
Since 1954 when Texas Prison System Director W.H. Gaston requested a charter for Community Service Credit Union (CSCU) in Huntsville, Texas — and on through 2001 with its introduction of Internet banking and bill pay, and in the decades that have followed — CSCU has long been a bedrock credit union of its community as it proudly serves its members across southeastern Texas to “bank happy, spend smart, and live well.”
Representative of thousands of other credit unions across the country, CSCU has been duly concerned about the economy and the rising costs associated with its operations, including its expensive third-party call center.
“When Covid hit, we started having a lot of turnover in our call center,” said Jennifer Goodall, Chief Operations Officer of CSCU. “Then, not only was it very expensive, but we weren’t serving and engaging with our members very well either. The solution, we realized, was to start using Text messaging.”
Soon after, CSCU adopted Eltropy’s digital communications platform.
“What departments of our credit union have been impacted by Eltropy, you ask? The question should be what hasn’t been impacted. Our collections department, our lending department, our online banking and digital services have all seen positive lift through efficiencies we’ve gained with the Eltropy digital communications platform,” Goodall said.
Decreasing costs with digital
What’s more, by gathering critical data and insights from these digital tools, CFIs such as CSCU are getting valuable insight into many aspects of the institution — and using it to tailor their services and improve the customer experience, which reduces costs and grows revenue further.
“Our call center costs have decreased by 64 percent in just one year,” Goodall said. “Texting has been absolutely huge, and Video banking and the other components of the platform are all major reasons why we’re expecting our best year ever in 2023.”
The CSCU example is one of many neighborhood community banks and credit unions across the country (part of the backbone of our economy) who absolutely must communicate in the ways members are increasingly demanding — through Text, Video, secure chat, and other digital methods, as well as the occasional in-person visit.
“Going into 2023,” said Ashish Garg, Founder and CEO of Eltropy in a recent press release, “more CFIs are asking us how they can better utilize digital communication tools to stay engaged with and help their members during periods of crisis like this one. We can share the trends. And we can share the answers.”
The 7 Trends Making Waves for Community Financial Institutions in 2023
To that end, Eltropy will host a webinar on Feb. 1 where banking strategy expert David Hall will discuss which trends will be most important for community banks and credit unions to pay attention to in 2023, and why.
Sign up for the webinar here to learn more about the technology trends that will matter most to CFIs in this uncertain year.