Meeting the Expectations of Mobile-Ready Consumers

By: Jeff Hibbard, Vice President, Digital Innovation, Truliant Federal Credit Union

Jeff Hibbard, Vice President, Digital Innovation, Truliant Federal Credit Union

Forward-thinking companies know that success in the digital age is dependent upon increasing consumer interactions on mobile devices. But that interaction must be done in a way that increases the utility for consumers and promotes a deeper engagement with the company.

"Being a leader in the digital age is not about setting up a platform and letting it sit. Making small adjustments can make a big impact"

As digital sophistication increases, expectations are rising with them. At Truliant Federal Credit Union, with offices in North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina – and more than $2 billion in assets – making sure that our digital tools meet the needs and demands of our member-owners – many of whom may never walk into a physical Truliant branch – has taken on a heightened importance.

For us, digital transformation is not a new concept. Digital evolution at institutions like ours has been constant for well-over two decades. Some trends take hold. Some do not. Our foundation in innovation began with our roots in Western Electric - whose employees founded us in 1952 – and later to AT&T Family Federal Credit Union - serving AT&T Technologies.

We are building on a history of innovation at Truliant, from the 64-foot obelisk outside our headquarters, atop which sits a blue glowing orb to reflect member satisfaction, to our long heritage of speaking out on our member’s behalf to modernize and better serve credit union members through legislative efforts. Truliant is recognized as a leader in our industry.

Truliant is an organization whose scale has increased dramatically in the last five years. We are in the process of adapting our process culture to match our growth into an organization that more intentionally embraces agility, collaboration and innovation so we can continue uncovering the unmet financial needs of our member-owners. We are enhancing our organizational culture to form a more complete understanding of member experiences so we can create and design better ones.

We are actively teaching the development of innovative ideas at every level of the company, and encouraging a design-thinking philosophy, to improve how we develop solutions for our members.

A vital part of this process has been the development of an innovation catalyst team. This team —constituted of 12 members from departments throughout the company—is at the core of our evolutionary transformation. These 12 people have been selected because they already embrace and understand the benefits of innovation. As the team’s skills and insights increase, they will begin to spread and build a framework of innovation throughout Truliant.

We’re also learning the importance of small adjustments that can make a big impact. Being a leader in the digital age is not about setting up a platform and letting it sit. It may seem simple, but digital maturity means reducing complexity and focusing more narrowly on the small stuff. One detail can break a digital experience for a customer and without a human interaction point, dissatisfied customers may just quietly leave a company without an apparent reason or trace.

Organizational transformation is not a quick and easy process. We must constantly evaluate the digital platforms that must be ready to serve our member-owners 24 hours a day. The rapid evolution of technology brings to light daily the challenges presented by legacy systems and thinking. Systems that have served members for years must adapt or disappear.

In order to accomplish this transformation effectively, Truliant needed to create a golden triangle: people, processes and technology. While all three are important, it is the “people” who will ultimately drive the success and these people must understand the technology that’s featured within the golden triangle.

One significant challenge in hiring more tech employees is that demandis outstripping supply. With the rapid industry shift to mobile banking, increased hiring investment is essential because of the skills and knowledge that are required. An additional challenge that Truliant faces is that we must quickly onboard new tech employees so they fully understand and appreciate Truliant’s mission. We want them to quickly work with others so they can drive strategic initiatives.

As our member-owners interact with our digital tools and platform, we want them to have the same level of confidence to make a million-dollar decision as they do when they walk into one of our 30+branches. That’s the digital experience that we aspire to create.

As Truliant approaches its seventh decade as a credit union, brand legacy is an important asset. Our history as a caring and thoughtful financial partner is important to many, but we must continue to earn the trust of new customers who are evaluating our services against other financial institutions..

Truliant is investing in digital connections – and human connections. We want members to know that behind our mobile app and mobile-lending platforms there are thoughtful people involved in the process. When we make it easier to use our mobile app to check balances, move money, deposit checks and apply for loans, we’re trying to make it clear to our members that we want our mobile tools to be a complete, satisfying and effective digital experience as they strive to achieve their own financial goals.

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