Technology is key to credit unions becoming disruptors

Speakers at the World Credit Union Conference included a number of fintech experts and advisors

It is vital that credit unions use technology to develop their services, delegates at the World Credit Union Conference in Singapore were told.

Bringing together over 1,400 people, the event included contributions from a fintech experts and advisors on how the sector could drive innovation.

One of the keynote speakers, fintech expert and writer Chris Skinner, said technology is a game changer for financial institutions.

“For credit unions, helping people with technology equates to building the business around customer engagement, but digitally delivered,” he said. “Today, we are about product, platform and experience and we have to build digital institutions with digital change. Teenagers are reinventing money by writing code. Knowing how to leverage that is the secret sauce.”

He said new technology brings challenges for credit unions – including the responsibility to look after members’ data.

“The real battle of the future is in the back office where all the data sits and credit unions should be questioning how fit their back office is to handle this,” he said.

Brian Branch delivering his state of the movement speech in Singapore (Photo: WOCCU)

In his speech, Brian Branch, president and chief executive of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), looked at global challenges such as food security, employment, climate change, the future of the internet and financial inclusion. He said these were now becoming community challenges and, as community-based institutions, credit unions had to respond to them.

“Today’s challenge is about interconnectivity and linkage and responding to these global challenges,” he said.

“We were the disruptors more than 100 years ago. Now we have to learn from today’s disruptors to be able to respond to today’s challenges. Working in your credit unions, doing what you do, serving your members, you are part of history and for that, we thank you.”

Keynote speaker Shivvy Jervis addresses delegates in Singapore (Photo: WOCCU)

Another keynote speaker, advisor and innovation strategist Shivvy Jervis, said digital technologies are becoming more human.

“We should think about technology as a catalyst, a connector and a culture – something that just doesn’t simply spark change but remains sustainable and makes a lasting impact,” she said.

Ms Jervis suggested measures that credit unions could take, such as increasing digital IQ, formalising a culture of innovation and seeing technology as diffusion across all business lines, rather than an IT challenge. She expects a move from first to second generation biometrics to take place, with new forms of security that will use people’s biology to help keep them and their organisations safe online

“Talent is key. You need to bring in the visionaries, radical thinkers and mavericks to take your digital strategy forward,” she said.

Ron Kaufman advising delegates on how to create more value for customers (Photo: WOCCU)

In terms of creating more value for customers, delegates heard from Ron Kaufman, author, leading educator and motivator.

“Organisations need to take fundamental service principles and put them to work. The focus isn’t on what we do, but how it is appreciated by the person we serve. It’s about curating the experience, no matter the industry or type of organisation,” he said.

The conference also included breakout sessions led by industry experts on mortgage lending regulations, women and workplace advancement, grassroots advocacy, digital disruption and cryptocurrency.