Bringing Together the Credit Union Heart and Head with Data


Applying the science of data analytics to a members-first mindset is the marriage needed to succeed.

During a recent webinar, How to Utilize Data to Build Strong Member Relationships, my co-presenter Anne Legg of Thrive Strategic Services said something that struck me.

She spoke of bringing together the “heart and the head” of a credit union.

Credit unions are financial institutions with heart. Being mission-driven, they strive to do right by their members. That has become what credit unions are known for, and it has been evident this year in particular.

A member-centric approach leads with heart. But all heart, and no head isn’t a sustainable strategy amidst the financial industry’s major digital transformation. Applying the science of data analytics to a members-first mindset is the marriage of head and heart that is needed to succeed.

Understanding the Fundamental Member Problems

Anne noted that what drives a heart-centered approach is understanding the four fundamental problems that bring people to credit unions. Those are:

  1. Transportation: “I need a car.”
  2. Shelter: “I need a home.”
  3. Travel and play: “I want experiences.”
  4. Rainy day and retirement. “I need help saving for short and long-term goals.”

Notice that no one is waking up in the middle of the night thinking “I need an auto loan or mortgage.” So, even when you understand members’ common pain points, there is still more work needed to effectively reach with them. Connecting in the right way around the right solutions requires a more complex view

Generating those needed in-depth insights and meaningful interactions isn’t going to happen through in-person interactions (at least not to a significant degree). With fewer members than ever conducting financial business in-branch, credit unions need to harness modern methods to understand what message, through what channel, and at what time they should be engaging members.

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