How Do Credit Unions Leverage Technology to Adapt to Members’ Changing Needs? First-Hand Answers from Mark Sommer, COO at ProMedica Federal Credit Union


“I wouldn’t differentiate a small credit union from a large credit union, as far as what they’re going to need or what they’re going to want. Because, like I said, it’s all the same.”



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Episode Summary

In this episode of the Digital Banking Podcast, Josh DeTar talks with Mark Sommer, COO at $70M ProMedica Federal Credit Union, based in Toledo, Ohio. They discuss actual a wide range of topics in the credit union environment, including the pandemic-driven society surrounded by the power of technology. How can small credit unions leverage technology to improve their services?

Mark talks about the advantages and disadvantages of a digital environment, where non-face-to-face contacts affect the relationships between MSRs and clients, credit union members, etc. He discusses the idea of convincing younger generations to go with credit unions instead of Venmo or big banks.

Key Insights

Small credit unions leverage technology to help their members and employees.

Mark explains that COVID has significantly altered the way credit unions communicate with members and employees. “We’re still learning as we go. We’ve gotten much more comfortable with the Zoom board meetings and setting things up and then taking advantage of technology even already with eSignatures and trying to limit people’s need to come into the facilities. Being in a healthcare credit union, we have two branches in hospitals, so our members are on the front lines of this whole pandemic. And they are probably more educated about it than most, and they understand the risks, and they don’t want to take any more risks than necessary. The more we can do remotely and digitally, the better for our members and our employees. We’re continuing to try to find ways to leverage technology.”

Technology is more comfortable with younger generations.

Younger consumers are using technology much more than Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers. Is it possible to persuade them to choose small credit unions over large banks and Venmos? “We needed to learn how to deliver our services to that [younger] generation in the method they want … How do we convince the younger generation that we can keep up with techie, larger banks and provide that service? Because if we can get them in as members and keep up technology-wise, we shouldn’t ever lose them,” claims Mark.

People helping people is essential for the credit union’s future.

Asking for help or reaching out and offering support is essential, especially in a competitive industry. “I’ve helped people with policies or whatever because we all basically have the same needs, as well as people have helped me over the years. And the cool thing about credit unions is the willingness to help, be there and support each other.”

Guest At A Glance

Mark Sommer

ProMedica Federal Credit Union

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Mark loves so-called buzzwords, although he is not always sure what each of them means.

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