It sounds like the title of a blues song but, ask Peter Rice, Chief Banking Officer at Workers Credit Union in Massachusetts, and he will tell you it’s not an oldie but today’s lyric and he can prove it with a recent Central Mass survey that found 65% of the residents said they were unsure, stressed, or extremely stressed about money.
Ouch. that’s a lot of anxiety but, said Rice, it’s exactly a place where a credit union could and should help and, in that way, it will also gain a competitive edge.
In the process, Workers has introduced a new branch concept – called PlanIt – which, get this, features an interactive hologram named Olivia and a short, perky robot named Pepper.
I don’t kid you.
That’s because the Workers hope with its new branch is that it will be welcoming, inclusive, but also will help inspire members to achieve their personal financial wellness.
A stat that hit Rice like a brick is that most of us – even the seemingly well off – don’t have $400 in ready cash to deal with financial emergencies and yet this past 18 months have been a text book illustration of how the unexpected and unimagined can become our reality.
We need to be financially well to deal with these speed bumps in our life highway.
A goal of the PlanIt centers – Workers has opened three and has plans for more – is to help members to feel empowered and also to get them more engaged with the credit union.
And, yeah, people do come into the branches to interact with Olivia- who is multi lingual and very helpful – and also with Pepper who is cheery.
Is this the future of the credit union branch?
Is this how a credit union can win the battle for the member?
Expect to hear challenges to credit union orthodoxies in this podcast. Rice thinks into the future and in this podcast he tells his route to getting there. By the way that accent you hear is not a rogue Boston lilt. It’s from Rice’s native Ireland.
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