Michigan Legacy Credit Union just may be a unique $220 million institution – it’s the product of five mergers in five years, said Carma Peters, the CEO. And now she said the institution is on a huge digital push, an initiative that had been in the works but Covid-19 has intensified the effort.
One Michigan Legacy employee has died from Covid-19. So did a former member of the board.
All this hits Peters hard and, she said, she tells employees and also members that there is no rush to re-open the credit union’s six branches
“We sent out a strong message from the start of the pandemic that the safest way to bank was for members to use online and mobile banking and webchat, rather than coming into the branch,” Peters said. “While we were hopeful that members would comply, the shift to online banking has been dramatic, with 50,000 more online transactions in April than we had in March. That’s a 38% increase.”
Peters thinks that shift is permanent and she is deep into a total revamp of the branches. The remodeled ones will be around 1200 sq. ft apiece. “We are downsizing 35,000 sq. ft.” said Peters.
There won’t be a teller line. There will be a couple ATMs, also a drive-through teller. And Michigan First will provide members with video banking (and she tells about a much more affordable option that she is installing in her credit union).
The big question: can credit unions the size of Michigan Legacy survive?
You bet, said Peters. And she goes a step farther – she helps smaller credit unions survive by helping them with tasks that may be beyond their staff’s skills. Why? It’s the credit union way: helping others.
This is an optimistic podcast about small credit union survival.
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