Five Key Takeaways from Executive Summit in Boston

The Fall 2018 Executive Summit, organized by CU Engage and hosted at the DCU FinTech Innovation Center was held September 19th through 20th in Boston, Massachusetts. The Executive Summit was an educational and eye-opening event where several industry professionals presented to credit union executives on topics that included analytics, security, payments and emerging technology inspiring new ideas and action plans to bring back to their credit unions. Here, we will review five key takeaways from the event, though it was difficult to choose only five!

1. Digitization

Data is always being collected, from all our devices and the devices of our members. Much of that data isn’t being used, and a large percentage of what is being used is certainly not being used in the most beneficial ways. Too many credit unions are looking at old data and making decisions based on outdated information. We should focus more on current data, and let it guide us to make decisions that drive our credit unions forward and by doing so, become more relevant to our members.

2. Disruption

The market is constantly being disrupted. Vendors merge and split, technology changes almost daily, data trends swing, and credit unions are having a hard time keeping up. Every change affects both the credit union and the member, and the unknown can lead to drawing bad conclusions which leads to making bad decisions. Disruption can also, however, provide an opportunity for credit unions to leverage. As market conditions change, vendors become more competitive to earn the business of credit unions and credit unions should leverage that. As technology is disrupted, credit unions should use it as an opportunity to revisit their technology plans and supporting org structure in order to deliver on a newly-defined consumer expectation. Bottom-line is that disruption is the new normal so either leverage it or be displaced.

3. Innovation

The Executive Summit included several FinTech startups where they were able to discuss and present the newest products and services burgeoning into the market. These FinTech entrants are developing and working with technologies that could become world-class products that Credit Unions need to embrace in order to augment the legacy solutions and systems surprisingly still in the market.  Innovation isn’t just about FinTech though – It’s also about analytics and technology. The latest and greatest solution or product can be enticing, but we need to remember to ask “why,” establish a strategy, become comfortable with calculated risk, and make the best decisions for our credit unions.

4. Personalization

Personalization is a common expectation in consumer services today – from Amazon and Netlflix to Starbucks and Uber, consumers expect their commonly accessed vendors/merchants to know who they are and what they “should be interested in.” The data is available and can be used to facilitate forward movement, but it is important to remember to address the problems that need to be solved now and be able to think about problems that may need to be solved in the future to be able to deliver personalization in a meaningful way.  Consider options for your credit union and your members that may be out of the box as you address personalization in financial services. Ask questions of both vendors and peers, and don’t make any decisions without a full understanding of both the goal you are trying to solve for and the various solution options. Changes can be difficult, but we can be sure that going forward is better than standing still and your members are expecting it.

5. Security

Information is everywhere.  The cloud is omni-present! All of our information is important, and while we think it is secure, as we have seen in recent news, it likely isn’t. Security technology is evolving, and hackers are evolving with it. They are learning to target weak spots before we even know what our weak spots are. Our home and corporate networks can be compromised at any point, whether it can be directly accessed by hackers via the internet or not. For example, your newest employees are often targeted when they change their titles on Linked In. Hackers can appear to be installing an update to your security cameras, but they are actually using your equipment to gain access to your internal systems. There are many, many, vulnerable points and the best way to prevent security risk is education and awareness. Attendees’ eyes and minds were blown as we saw first-hand what can be done without a true security strategy.

With the ever-changing market and exponential growth within the credit union industry, it is becoming more and more important for leaders to come together and collaborate with each other – these executive summits are the place to do just that. If you’d like to attend a future event, let us know and we will reach out once information becomes available. CU Engage is a passionate group of consultants dedicated to the credit union industry and helping them with strategic decisions that impact credit union members. If you’d like help with any strategic decisions contact us today!

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