Credit unions are known for many things, such as member service, great rates, community involvement, and a lot of heart.
Yet there’s a dark side, too. Heavy regulations, tight budget requirements, lighter staffing, and a lack of tailor-made solutions make for slower tech development and deployment than competitors.
There may be a way around that.
At CU 2.0, we love solutions that drive credit unions forward. In this blog, we’ll discuss custom software development, better digital outcomes, and how Tailwind powers credit union tech strategy.
Speed to Market in 2023
Whether it be banks, fintechs, or the Joneses, credit unions must keep up with their competitors. In 2023, this means working with new fintechs that can provide an edge through AI, automation, UI/UX, etc.
But credit unions are typically bottlenecked in how many fintechs they can successfully vet, onboard, integrate, and deploy.
How can credit unions remove that bottleneck? And, how can they do it without adding more staff?
Speed to market is especially important as strategies change from BNPL and crypto toward more pressing concerns… like liquidity.
Driving Credit Union Digital Transformation
First, let’s level-set our definition of “digital transformation.” We’ll borrow from MediaTech Ventures here and say that digital transformation is the use of online technology and media in all areas of your business, from how you deliver value and operate to how you reach and engage customers.
So, digital transformation doesn’t just mean using digital tech—it means connecting that tech to everything else. (This is why we value cloud-based solutions.)
Digital transformation has been a goal (and buzzword) for years. Yet success in digital transformation is rarely linear—and rarely simple. Fintechs and other vendors can provide necessary solutions, but actually moving forward with those partnerships is usually difficult.
Why? Because unfortunately, credit union tech vendor relationships are generally stuck in the past. RFPs, budgeting, compliance, and lengthy vetting processes contribute to a slow sales cycle.
Furthermore, you can’t just identify a bunch of fintech solutions and assume your problems are solved. Integration and deployment take even more time.
Often, by the time a credit union deploys a new solution, they’ve already lost business to a competitor who did it faster. (Buy Now, Pay Later is a recent example of this playing out…)
From developing new tech, to integrating vendor solutions, to modernizing legacy stacks, credit unions often have larger development needs than their teams can handle. Especially at the scale that members might expect. And then you have to make sure that all your tech is actually connected, fundamentally.
This is where custom software companies like Tailwind fit in.
Tailwind is a full-scale agile development partner for credit unions. Whatever a credit union needs, Tailwind builds. They also help with speed to market, ensuring faster integration and deployment of new vendor solutions. But Tailwind goes beyond simple development…
Tailwind describes their unique approach as “software as a relationship,” or SaaR. The idea is that most development firms build what they’re tasked with building. However, Tailwind helps with the product planning and roadmap to uncover more (and better) opportunities than what the client dreams up.
Essentially, Tailwind lends their experience to fulfill a much larger role.
Tailwind specializes in partnering with smaller organizations with high tech needs that want to act more quickly. And, while that doesn’t mean just credit unions, they’ve worked with the better part of 100. That means they’re intimately familiar with credit union tech stacks, regulations, and goals.
So, although credit unions don’t always have the resources (or time) to identify new product opportunities, develop new solutions, or integrate complex technology, they can get a full, experienced team on board to crunch through every step of the process.
And because custom development partners don’t have other credit union duties, they’re very, very fast.
Better Digital Outcomes
We’ve seen countless promising projects fail at credit unions due to lack of support, bandwidth, or hours. Often, what we hear is, “we’d continue with it if we didn’t have to do all the legwork” (or something to that effect).
Consequently, solutions for onboarding journeys, marketing systems, loan origination, and even eliminating check holds are still missing at credit unions across the US. This isn’t because credit unions don’t need them, and it’s not because members wouldn’t benefit. It’s not even because of cost!
These solutions are missing because too many credit unions have limited bandwidth and must choose their battles. To get ahead in one area means falling behind in another.
Inbuilt credit union expertise and extra manpower from a custom software development partner like Tailwind powers better digital outcomes. That means more solutions, smoother integration and deployment, and accelerated timelines.
So, sometimes it’s not just the solution that moves credit unions forward. As you’d expect with credit unions, it comes down to the people. Having a back pocket dev partner gives you those people.
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