Posted by Maggie Thompson, Customer Success Manager, John M. Floyd & Associates on 4/2/2020

By: Maggie Thompson, Client Success Manager

Amid the daily release of new information regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), the idea of business as usual has been turned upside down. In fact, there’s not much “as usual” going on anywhere these days. 

As you activate your business continuity plans and implement preparations to protect the health and physical safety of employees and members, concern among consumers about their financial well-being is on the rise.According to a recent survey conducted by Prudential, 54% of Americans indicated they’re not financially prepared to handle a situation like the virus that could limit their ability to work for a few weeks or more. Well before the onset of the virus earlier this year, more than 74% of Americans were living paycheck-to-paycheck with about 40% of consumers unable to cover a $400 financial emergency. This additional uncertainty has many worried more about their financial well-being than their health.

But there are things you can do to alleviate some of the stress your members are feeling regarding their financial stability as we all wait to see what the next few weeks and months have in store.

  • Eliminate uncertainty with consistent messages

The information you share regarding your products and services should be consistent across all communications channels. When everyone in your organization is speaking from the same page, you avoid confusion and increase confidence among your members regarding the value you represent as a financial resource during this uncertain time.

Make sure any critical updates or changes to hours of operation or service delivery are clearly communicated through your website, social channels and phone messages. Review your Call Center scripts to ensure that staff members have the latest information in order to handle incoming inquiries with confidence and in a caring, consistent manner.

  • Overcome barriers to excellent service experiences

Many consumers may have to adjust their financial outlook, as well as how they go about their daily routines for the foreseeable future. Are there services you can implement—or expand awareness of—in order to increase the convenience factor for your members, if social distancing continues for an extended period of time?

This includes the option to utilize remote deposit capture and mobile banking products that can alleviate concerns about leaving home and allow your members to conveniently make deposits, pay bills and keep track of their account activity.

If you are thinking about making changes to existing products and services, consider involving employees in discussions and planning. Their experienced-based input can be instrumental in making effective decisions regarding new services, or changes to existing procedures. After all, they are the most familiar with your members’ concerns and changing needs. 

Importantly, member input regarding what products and services are considered effective should be a priority for any changes being contemplated. Otherwise, if what you are offering adds nothing of value or is something they won’t use, you are wasting your time and effort.

Involving all stakeholders in this practice will create a more collaborative environment where everyone has ownership in how your credit union functions. And it’s a great way to enhance morale. 

  • Empower staff members with effective training

Your normal service delivery efforts may be somewhat altered right now due to limitations in lobby access or reduced hours. However, your employees still have a tremendous opportunity to initiate long-term relationships by understanding and addressing members’ most pressing financial needs. Make sure they are prepared with effective training and continuing education opportunities.

Additional training can keep everyone sharp on the nuances of the programs you provide. Online and webinar opportunities are great for individual viewing as you try to avoid large group settings. And, they can be easily accessed during office hours or for individuals working from home. By establishing a strategy that includes all appropriate training resources to support the different learning styles and work schedules in your organization, you can expand the overall knowledge base and increase employee confidence. 

  • Maintain best practices to increase certainty

By utilizing best practices in all of your processes and procedures, you can ensure that the information and service you provide protects your members’ financial security and keeps your credit union in full compliance. Make sure your fees are disclosed and reasonable. And above all, treat all members fairly by providing access to services and counseling to help them maintain financial stability or get back on their feet if they experience unexpected challenges.

In today’s environment, the steps you take to strengthen your members’ trust can be beneficial for the long term. If doing business with you is positive in the rough times, they are more likely to continue the relationship and willing to share their positive service experiences with others, once things get back to normal.

 

ABOUT JOHN M. FLOYD & ASSOCIATES (JMFA)
JMFA is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Whether it’s recovering lost revenue, uncovering new savings with vendor contract negotiations, creating more value, serving members better or delivering a 100% compliant overdraft service—JMFA can help you deliver measurable results with proven solutions. To learn more, please contact your local representative or call us at (800) 809-2307.

Categories: Business Partners, Education & Training, Sales & Service
Posted by Diana Hennel, SVP, CTO, Catalyst Corporate FCU on 3/26/2020

More than just providing a laptop

In a short amount of time, the entire country has had to start adjusting to the “new normal.” Businesses and schools have shut their doors. Medical supplies and home goods are in short supply. And, terms such as “social distancing,” “flattening the curve” and “stay in place” have now been added to our daily vocabulary. Additionally, the businesses that are open have moved to supporting a remote workforce.

In preparation for unforeseen circumstances such as this, most financial institutions have published a disaster recovery plan, as well as a pandemic plan – both of whichAdapting to a Remote Workforce have been tabletop-tested. But until now, the majority of these plans have not been tested in the real world. As organizations transition to remote work environments, they’re facing a new set of challenges and considerations.

Technological challenges

Topping the list are bandwidth (or lack of) – which impacts the ability to issue VPN (virtual private network) access to all remote workers – and supporting an unprecedented number of conference and video calls on software that many employees may not know how to use. Equipment that’s not already on hand may not be available. Help desks are overwhelmed with requests, and teams are resorting to daily triage calls to prioritize. Credit unions must balance supporting remote work with the ever-present security that is even more important in a distributed world.

Operational challenges

Operational challenges are also at play. How do you handle software solutions that are restricted to specific IP addresses? And what if a worker left a required token at the office? Critical staff members may be sick and unable to work. And, temporary closure of schools and daycares could put a strain on employees as they attempt to balance work with managing children who can’t go to daycare or who need help with online schooling.

The good news? Credit unions are uniquely positioned to shine.

“People helping people.” More than just a motto, this founding principle is the common thread that has united credit unions for decades. Now, more than ever, credit unions have the ability to remind members of this mission, despite the many challenges and uncertainties present at this time.

It starts by ensuring that both members and employees receive the emotional support they need. Constant, clear communication is the key to success. From an internal standpoint, this could mean something as simple as conducting daily calls to allow for additional team interaction. And, when it comes to external efforts, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Perhaps creating designated social networking channels could serve as another valuable communication touchpoint and deepen member relationships.

The benefit of transformation

This is also a good opportunity for credit unions to market their electronic offerings and reevaluate any current business models that still rely on paper. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity for transformation. After the events of September 11, 2001, the financial services industry was transformed by Check 21 and the enablement of check image processing. This new crisis could also transform the industry for the better, as credit unions find ways to better serve their members.

Catalyst Corporate has enacted its Pandemic Preparedness Plan. Our remote workforce is supporting member credit unions in a “business as usual” manner. Our flagship platform, TranZact, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and can be accessed from any location, with only minor configuration changes by a credit union administrator. Should critical staff fall ill, remote training webinars are available to help train team members. If new services are needed, all implementations can be performed remotely and expedited, if necessary.

Together, we can navigate these challenging times. If Catalyst Corporate can assist in any way, please contact our Member Services Team.

Categories: Business Partners, Employment & Staffing, Marketing & Printing
Posted by Mr. Anil Sharma, Marketing Manager, CO-OP Financial Services on 3/3/2020

CO-OP Financial Services’ THINK 20 conference – May 4-7, 2020 in Dallas, Texas - is fast approaching, and we are once again looking for rising stars from Cornerstone League Member credit unions to “crash” the conference! For the third year in a row, we’re partnering with Cooperative Trust to launch the THINK 20 Crasher program! Apply now

What is THINK 20?

THINK is the premier credit union industry conference, bringing together more than 800 credit union professionals for three days of learning, inspiration and collaboration.  This year’s speaker line-up includes innovators and game-changers like: Adobe Chief Product Officer Scott Belsky, Taco Bell CEO Mark King, and legendary chef Roy Choi. In addition to the keynote speakers, attendees will gain hands-on strategies through a series of “Activation Sessions”, 1:1 Advisor Sessions and have numerous opportunities to meet and connect with fellow industry leaders.

Why Crash THINK?

As a THINK 20 Crasher, you will:

  • Receive a special discounted rate on conference registration and hotel accommodation
  • Be paired up with a credit union mentor that can help you learn the industry, guide your career and help you set goals
  • Immerse yourself in additional THINK content curated expressly for you
  • Enjoy VIP access to keynote speakers and other conference dignitaries

Here’s What a THINK 19 Crasher Said About the Experience:

Such a great opportunity as a young professional. I really appreciate this opportunity for myself and the other crashers to bring our perspective to the credit union industry. We've had a lot of access to industry leaders who have come and spoke with us individually. We've been able to provide feedback and share our ideas. I think it's very important.” - THINK 19 Crasher Remie Cruz, Digital Solutions Manager for Wright-Patt Credit Union

How to Apply to be a THINK Crasher:

The THINK Crasher Program is open to industry professionals ages 35 and under (and 35 at heart) who are passionate about their careers and committed to advancing our movement.  Applications are due by March 22, 2020 at 11:59 P.M. CST. Be sure to read the full participation guidelines:

APPLY NOW

Categories: Business Partners, Education & Training
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