I hear more and more talk about credit union relevance – specifically whether it can be maintained. Credit unions have long been the underdogs in a marketplace dominated by big banks. Now the Walmarts and Amazons and Facebooks of the world are poised to take their own cuts of the financial services action. Can credit unions maintain any semblance of relevance in this topsy-turvy marketplace?I believe the answer is yes, through the effective use of technology. Thus, I offer my three tech tips for maintaining – and even increasing – credit union relevance.Stop playing “technology me too”Many credit unions let big banks take the lead, then dutifully follow along. They look at what big banks are doing and then from that they develop a checklist of must-have technologies. Credit unions can no longer obsess over what the bank next door is doing. They need to think about technology in new and exciting ways. If you need an example of how to properly manage technology, look to the companies that are doing it exceedingly well – companies like Apple and Amazon. Chart your own technology course and stop trying to be Mini Me to the Dr. Evil Bank down the street.Explore new channelsHere’s just one example. Have you ever looked into getting your credit on LendingTree? If you have, I’m sure it wasn’t for long. You quickly realized that the amount of effort probably wasn’t worth the return. Does that mean credit unions shouldn’t be on LendingTree? Not necessarily.A new client of ours, a CUSO called CU Lending Cooperative (www.yourculc.com), has created a powerful, fast lending platform that essentially puts participating credit unions on LendingTree. (Note: LendingTree is CULC’s first venue, but definitely not its last.) The loan offer is initially presented as CULC. Then if a borrower accepts the offer, the CULC software instantly identifies which credit union the borrower is eligible for. CULC books the loan, funds the loan, and deposits the funds into a new share account at the credit union regardless of your core platform. That’s powerful stuff.Focus on member experienceUnless you just logged onto the internet for the first time yesterday, you’ve seen your user experience evolve over the years. That’s because the Googles, Apples, Facebooks and Amazons of the world are intent on constantly improving the user experience of their customers. It’s not a one and done proposition; it’s a never-ending quest. These giants have created an expectation in consumers that their user experience today will be just a little better than it was yesterday.Now think about the member experience at your credit union. Has it changed much over the past few years? More to the point, have you made any specific efforts to change it over the past few years? If your member experience isn’t intentionally evolving, your credit union is falling behind – behind the big banks and especially behind your new non-bank competitors.Technology has long been known as the great equalizer. Deploy the same technology as the big banks and you can compete with the big banks, right? Except today, there’s more to technology than just a checklist. It’s no longer about what pieces you own; it’s about the unique experiences you build around those pieces. 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John San Filippo John is the co-founder of OmniChannel Communications, Inc., a company that specializes in B2B marketing to community financial institutions. He started out in the savings and loan industry, but wisely … Web: www.omnichannelcommunications.com Details
Madison native Craig Smith scored a pair of goals in the Badgers\’ thrilling 3-2 victory Friday night over the Gophers at the Target Center.[/media-credit]MINNEAPOLIS — Even with the WCHA playoff seeds set before Sunday’s game between the Badgers and Gophers, Minnesota — unlike Wisconsin –showed it still had plenty to play for on Senior Day.The Badgers spent most of the day watching the Gophers’ power play dominate en route to a 6-1 UM victory in the final regular season game of the year.UW couldn’t stay out of the penalty box Sunday, and it was costly as the Badgers forced junior goaltender Brett Bennett and a worn out penalty kill unit back out onto the ice time and time again to face a red-hot power-play unit.“This team is lethal on the power play, and they were on fire tonight,” tri-captain Ryan McDonagh said. “We take pride in killing penalties, but when you go back-to-back that many [times] it just wears on the same guys.”In Friday’s game, the Badgers took their fair share of penalties but behind a strong shorthanded effort, they forced the Gophers to go 0-for-6 with man advantage and UW came out with a win.The Badgers were not so fortunate Sunday, and Minnesota made the most of its opportunities, going 5-for-8 on the power play.UW came out with a ton of energy in the second period after falling behind early, but all the momentum created by several solid shifts and Michael Davies’ game-tying goal was sucked away with a penalty.McDonagh got in a scrap with UM co-captain Ryan Flynn and after both were given 10-minute misconducts, McDonagh was handed an extra minor for crosschecking. That’s when the onslaught began.“Up until the point that McDonagh got into the wrestling match, we tied the game; we were coming on, and from there it just deteriorated,” head coach Mike Eaves said.Freshman defenseman Justin Schultz joined McDonagh in the penalty box and co-captain Tony Lucia redirected a shot from the point to give the UM the lead with the power play goal.“We just took a penalty, and that was the turning point in the game right there,” Davies said.Cody Goloubef was called for roughing just over a minute later and Jacob Cepis buried a wide-open rebound with the man advantage.Then it was Brendan Smith’s turn to visit the box as he went off for unsportsmanlike conduct. That put another Badger in the box and it created another goal for Lucia.UW had spells of good pressure in that second period, but repeated trips to the penalty box ended any hope for a comeback.“I felt we were shorthanded the whole day,” tri-captain Blake Geoffrion said. “Every time we got something going we took a penalty and lost all the momentum.”The Gophers poured it on in the third period as they added two more power play goals.“Tonight they took advantage of the opportunities we gave them,” McDonagh, who was forced to watch the game slip away from the penalty box, said. “But if we continued to play five-on-five it could be a different story.”Aside from Sunday’s outing, Eaves’ squad has been terrific on the penalty kill throughout the season. Afterward, he seemed confident Sunday’s performance was just a fluke for the Badgers.“What happened out there was an aberration,” Eaves said. “But we will have their attention going into next week.”Like his coach, Geoffrion knows how critical special teams play is come playoff time and that he and the rest of the Badgers will need to straighten out the special teams to be successful.“We have to stay out of the box to win games this late in the season,” Geoffrion said. “Special teams is a huge thing going into the tournament and it’s hard to win games when you’re always shorthanded.”Now, the Badgers will go back to the drawing board with a bad taste in their mouths in preparation for first-round playoff opponent Alaska Anchorage.Eaves just hopes his team’s recent performance doesn’t carry over into the post-season.“Hopefully we got a lot of things out of our system today.”
Ghana’s senior women’s team came up tops as they beat South Africa’s Banyana Banyana 1-0 in an international friendly on Sunday.Portia Boakye’s second half goal separated both sides at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto after a slow opening start by both sides.Boakye’s goal in the 71st minute came from a freekick as she hit a long range effort into the back of the net after Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Thoko Ndaweni had stepped off her line.The win will serve as a boost for the Black Queens’ preparations for their 2014 African Women’s Championship qualifying against Ethiopia later this weekend.Coach Yusif Basigi’s side will travel straight to Addis Ababa for the African qualifier.Ghana are through to the second round of qualifying and will meet Ethiopians over two legs for a place in the finals to be staged by Namibia in October of this year.