Exploring the Meaning of ‘Making Banking Better’
Whether consciously or unconsciously, credit union and financial service professionals emulate aspects of design thinking in each instance of trying to make banking better for their members and customers. They continuously seek a deeper understanding of those whom they serve, applying empathy to reveal perceptions, values, and motivations. They define challenges, desires, and frustrations across different points of interaction and life stages. They ideate, prototype, and test improvements with partners and get feedback from those the improvements are aimed at helping to see how well they’ve met the mark.
For Jim Block and his team at BCU, making banking better centers on doing whatever they can to maximize member comfort when it comes to managing finances. That means anticipating what members will face and need as time goes by, empowering them with helpful budgeting and planning tools, and proactively providing information that puts each member in control of their financial future.
Jim also emphasizes the importance of remembering the “why” behind changes, or, why we’re here in the first place. That “reason for being” at BCU is to improve the financial wellness of their nearly 250,000 members. Exemplifying this aim requires instilling it in every employee and weaving it into the very fabric of BCU’s culture. The rewards for doing so are many and include stronger member relationships, deeper trust in BCU’s people and practices, and brighter financial futures for all.
Building Buy-in at the Intersection of Lending and Technology
Jim Block of BCU has had an up-close view of technology’s positive impact on lending practices throughout his career. He’s seen the introduction and now near universal application of credit scoring and automated decisions across the industry and led award-winning advances in loan origination at BCU. Even still, Jim is most excited about what lies ahead for BCU’s members and those served by other institutions when it comes to lending and technology.
On-demand access to information that is accurate and actionable continues to be a key driver of positive change in lending practices. The emergence of artificial intelligence, open APIs, and related technologies are enabling wider access to pertinent data that continues to paint more complete, holistic pictures of individuals who are seeking lending assistance. At the same time, these technologies are delivering this information faster and at less cost than ever before. In turn, members can get the money they need more quickly and via more transparent and intuitive interactions.
Successfully implementing new technologies for further improvements in lending practices does not happen in a vacuum, however. It happens when there are clear and connected visions of how these technologies can make banking better – buoyed by well-defined roadmaps marking progress. For Jim and his team, that means developing deep relationships not with just their members, but also with BCU’s business partners. Building a shared vision with these partners ensures alignment on direction, identifies milestones for success, and brings together the people and resources needed to bring these positive changes to fruition.