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If you are a credit union just now thinking about a digital banking CUSO for your cooperative, you’re already playing from behind. 

The biggest financial institutions in the United States are investing in financial technology, or fintech, that unfortunately aren’t on the radars of a lot of smaller institutions or credit unions. Recently, a leading investment bank announced it has increased its annual technology budget to $12 billion. That is 26 percent more than that particular institution spent in 2020. Obviously, credit unions have a fraction of the budgets at that scale while running the risk of losing potential members and consumers to financial institutions with more advanced digital offerings. 

That said, there are a multitude of credit union service organizations (CUSOs) and fintech companies with plenty of innovative capabilities and functions to compete with the big baddies to level the competitive field. As opposed to the big institutions that spend tens of millions of dollars and months to years on developmental research, testing, and implementation, the cooperatives that partner with ready-made, third-party CUSOs give themselves a fantastic budgetary advantage to save capital while onboarding the platform into their cores with much greater efficiency, ease, and time. 

Credit unions should endeavor for a digital banking solution that’s built to support today’s contemporary, evolving market; a platform with an API-first design that features an ease-of-integration that ensures a smooth and timely member experience. In today’s marketplace, however, the products that “take time” to deliver don’t usually last. 

CUSO Credit Unions
Photo: Martin Adams | Unsplash

“Speed! Speed is what we need!” – Mickey, Rocky II

“Speed.” That’s such a difference-maker in this new era of digital consumer convenience and service. Credit unions’ capability to differentiate through personal engagement and services is a strong differentiator in today’s financial services environment. Those qualities are just as important, it’s true. But consumers are also leading faster daily lifestyles than ever before. Cooperatives who choose a CUSO partner who can meet the needs of their members and match the pace of their daily lives will be in the driver’s seat as the financial ecosystem continues to evolve

Whether the discussion is in-store shopping or digital banking, today’s consumer preferences remain the same. According to CSP Daily News, 73 percent of consumers claim getting in and out of a store quickly is important in creating an overall convenient experience. In fact, 66 percent claim the same when considering speedy check-out services, according to the report. 

“If you don’t have the basic aspect of convenience, you’ll lose footing with the consumers before they even get to considering the tech amenities,” says Donna Hood Crecca, principal of Technomic, a sister research firm of CSP. “When you think about the pace of life that keeps getting faster enabled by tech – the level of multitasking – speed is the benchmark.”

Speed and ease. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Ms. Crecca. 

In fact, speed isn’t just important – it’s essential. Ms. Crecca says the need for speed will only get faster, even as demands for technology and delivery do so as well. “The importance of those tech amenities is only going to grow, especially as Gen Z moves into adulthood,” she continues. “Access and immediacy are ingrained in their psyche.”

Speed, access, and ease in the palm of your hand

Our head man, CEO Seth Brickman, gets it all the time from colleagues in the industry: “We had no idea your platform works so fast for your members!” or “I never knew your small dollar loans could be deposited so quickly!” 

When it comes to small dollar loans and QCash’s Life Event Loan products, speed is the name of the game, especially for the underserved who absolutely cannot have one of those days when their car breaks down on the way to their minimum-wage job, or when they have more month than money and multiple bills due last week. The speed and access for which they need an instant infusion of funds cannot go understated. 

Using the QCash CUSO, those underserved members — regardless of their physical address or location in, say, a banking desert — have a ready resource to financial relief that enables them to simply pull out their phone, follow the easy application process in just a few clicks, and if approved deposit the necessary funding in their credit union account inside of 60 seconds. 

That’s a picture of speed, accessibility, and convenience all rolled into one. On behalf of credit unions everywhere, CUSOs are now the credit union movement’s answer to big financial institutions’ efforts to make digital banking their own. By partnering with a fintech CUSO like QCash, you give your cooperative the opportunity to onboard an easy-to-use, minimally-supervised, and ultra-fast financial inclusion and health tool for your members. 

What makes for a great experience for consumers these days? While the CUSO product needs to be robust and fully built out, speed is that intangible that can make the difference between a better future and no future at all.