In this episode of The Digital Banking Podcast, host Josh DeTar spoke with Troy Stang, the president and CEO of GoWest Credit Union Association. The takeaway from this conversation is that credit unions need to work hard to change in some ways and work hard to stay the same in other ways.
Not surprisingly, Stang called on credit unions to embrace digital transformation. Staying at the forefront of financial technology is paramount for any credit union that hopes to survive in the years ahead.
However, the credit union movement was built on the cooperative model, a model that demands credit unions know and understand the unique needs and challenges of their member. A model that demands each credit union knows and understands what makes its members different from the members at every other credit union. A model that demands all credit unions bring that personalized, high-touch feel to the world of digital finance.
As Stang and DeTar make clear, this is what makes credit unions credit unions.
⚡Credit Unions: A Deep Connection to Local Communities: Stang emphasized the unique understanding credit unions have of their local communities. He discussed the diversity of credit unions, from those serving ranching communities to those focused on education. This deep understanding of their market segments and the human element is a key strength of credit unions. Stang also shared the evolution of his grandfather’s credit union, highlighting the importance of adapting to changing market conditions while staying true to the core principles of credit unions.
⚡The Evolution of Lending: A Personal Perspective: Stang shared his personal experiences with lending in credit unions. He discussed how lending decisions were made based on the personal knowledge of the borrower, including their character and commitment to the community. He also talked about the unique lending practices for agricultural businesses, highlighting the importance of understanding the individual stories of each member. This insight underscores the personalized approach of credit unions in serving their members.
⚡Navigating the Digital Transformation in Credit Unions: Stang explored the future of credit unions in the digital age. He emphasized the need for credit unions to maintain their unique identity while embracing digital transformation. He discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by digital behemoths and new market entrants. This points to the need for credit unions to evolve while staying true to their fundamentals.