Monthly Archives: March 2016

Credit Union Branch of the Future Must Integrate High Tech and High Touch

With mobile and online banking becoming increasingly popular banking institutions, especially credit unions, are advocating for branch design strategies with contemporary concepts and financial technology that is pointed at improving the member experience without losing that all important human touch.

The need for the personal touch in the financial services industry continues to be met by credit unions. As members continue this quest for digital channels and the old banking model changes into a retail model, the design of the branch must conform. Banking can no longer occur in a fortress style environment. Technology has inspired consumers to take charge of their finances as they shop online for the best deal. So, credit unions must capture the opportunity to develop and nurture an environment for their members that demonstrates the “people helping people” values and beliefs. This high tech, high touch atmosphere is the branch of the future.

Credit unions must reinvent themselves and create value and a reason why members want to come to the physical location. It is important to create an interactive environment and redefine the behaviors that should be occurring in the branch and understand that the new design must support person-to-person relationships.

Some Dos and Don’ts to think about

    • Don’t try to out do your competitors in your high-tech savviness. While it is positive to take the lead in the war of the high-tech toys, it’s important to not take the approach of technology for technology’s sake.
    • How about providing free Wi-Fi to members that allows them to continue using their own personal devices. Or, instead of providing magazines and newspapers to members while they wait for an appointment, provide an iPad for browsing.
    • Many members are not comfortable with discussing their finances in an open space. Integrate private offices into the new branch design, creating a comfortable environment for member engagement.
    • Think about integrating a video wall into the new branch design. This video wall will showcase dynamic motion graphic content ranging from brand-building messages, to local scenery, to current campaign promotions.
    • An informal community meeting space would be a positive addition to the high touch design.
    • The goal of the high tech, high touch branch is to simplify the customer experience and allow time for staff and the members to really connect. The new technological features will allow staff to spend additional time finding solutions to meet member financial requirements.
  • As you consider the new branch design, it is important that you become a true financial partner to your member. Make sure to transform the branch from just a servicing environment to a consultative atmosphere where you can collaborate with the members to determine their needs and recommend financial solutions.

The core functions of the credit union of the future is about anticipating the member’s needs and presenting simple and targeted promotions using traditional and digital solutions. Combining technology, innovation and the human touch will play a key role in the branch of tomorrow.

What does the branch of tomorrow look like? It would be open and accessible to all, combining virtual sales and promotion into one space. It would be staffed with employees that could guide the member to smart financial decisions while making their banking entertaining and captivating.

Most importantly, when creating that high-tech, high touch branch, I have learned that it is the employees that make the difference, not the technology.

How To Become Financially Independent? A Financial Advisor Shares Tips

For many people, gaining financial freedom is really a challenge. However, financial experts say that people should be financially independent by the time they’re 40 years old. This means they have enough money in the bank that they’re continuously growing, and that they are free from debt.

This is the ideal situation. Unfortunately, many people today struggle in their journey toward financial freedom. A trusted financial advisor claims that many people tend to have a lot of unhealthy financial practices, and one of them is emotional spending. So many people are guilty of making financial decisions based on how they’re currently feeling, which is truly a dangerous way to live.

Indeed, when people are emotional, spending loses rhyme or reason. According to a financial planner, people can work this to address personal financial management concerns. If you’re an emotional spender and you let your weakness rule over you, this is certainly not something to be proud of. So, if you wish to turn things around for your personal benefit or to avoid harming the family that relies on your ability to stay on top of your expenses, then you really must learn to stop giving money power over you.

Stop thinking that money is specifically tasked with making you happy; not only is this a crippling inclination, but you’re also setting yourself up for a future of debilitating debt. For smart wealth management, most financial planners advise emotional spenders to keep themselves in check. It takes practice, but anybody can learn to recognize those feelings that propel them to spend. Along with this, it’s important to overhaul their entire spending philosophy.

One effective trick to implement is to stop carrying credit cards because these can provide a false sense of liberty to spend money that they don’t actually have. Another tip they provide is instead of spending, opt to save. Saving can be just as thrilling an experience as spending because when you save, you actually honour yourself. You work toward protecting yourself from the economic hassles of the future.

Additionally, financial advisors say that it’s a must for married women to set up their own personal account into which they can consistently put money for their future. Not only does this offer peace of mind, but it’s also an effective tactic in building financial confidence. Indeed, emotional spending is a big hurdle to reaching financial freedom. People don’t have to deal with this alone, though; with the help of a financial advisor, they can learn to outwork this tendency and manage their wealth effectively.