Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: digital footprint

immersion18: Empowering CUs of Tomorrow, Today

Be sure to read my on-site roundup of conference happenings as a prelude to this article. Additionally, look back to May 10 on my Twitter feed to see live contributions.

“They have hammocks on the beach?” asked one attendee, as another gleefully nodded. They made it to future sessions, worry not.

With the blue-green Atlantic waters as backdrop, the Trellance Immersion18 conference enjoyed a productive debut. Despite the team having hosted an annual event for nearly 30 years, this one was different. It was the first following a name, mission, and organizational change. Remember CSCU? They’re no more. In their place, Trellance, a not-for-profit credit union service organization, or CUSO. As credit unions’ unbiased advocate, their new focus was a perfect fit for the event.

Trellance CEO Tom Davis opened the first morning session surrounded by a technologically-infused dance number, complete with spinning displays and more. Despite being before many attendees’ coffee addictions were satiated, the audience sounded their approval. Then it got exciting. Davis introduced Trellance, lauding its unbiased advocate role as well as its not-for-profit status, and passed the baton to Bill Lehman.  Lehman reviewed how Trellance evolved from CSCU, helping set credit union staff expectations for the days ahead. And if you thought it was thrilling already, the next speaker was downright explosive. David Lott, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, spoke of the newest “trend” to enter this country: Exploding ATMs.

After discussing strategies to diffuse the threat (there’s no one solution, which really should be the theme of the conference), Mollie Bell, CUNA’s Chief Engagement Officer, took the stage with fierce focus. On strategy, that is. CUNA did a great write-up on her talk, which essentially challenged attendees to define who they were and what that meant about their target audience. Then make a plan that rocks your socks off. Ok, she didn’t say that, but she did include a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” for aspiration.

You won’t need a bigger boat when this shark enters the room. Daymond John, founder of FUBU clothing, Shark Tank star, and more, joined us to share his 5 SHARK points (see picture). More in my other roundup.

A common theme in the conference was fraud and security, both for your institution and members. The latter has become a daunting challenge. Why? In the past, you secured a single path for financial data. Then, members could access it on their computer from home. Now, all financial information is expected to be available from any device (including voice assistants), any where (including that FreeWiFiConnectNowIWontStealYourStuffnetwork down the street), at any time. Many more places for information to be compromised.

A conference-favorite was the Dark Web session. The team from Q6 Cyber hooked up their secured connection, loaded up their Tor browser, and went shopping. For your members’ financial data. Or a hit man. Or an ATM skimmer. All available with Prime shipping! (I kid, but only slightly). Please do not try this at home.

Other criminals use far lower-tech solutions, including one called “friendly fraud”. CUBroadcast spoke with Trellance’s Lou Grilli about this technique, amongst other topics. TL;DR: Fraud comes in a lot of forms. Keeping current on how to detect and minimize them is essential. And you need a WISP (Written Information Security Policy). Embrace your WISP. Update your WISP. When, not if, (according to Michele Cohen) your system is compromised in some way, you’ll be happy there’s a plan. Because restoration will take 4-6x longer than your IT team expects. It’s not a diss, it’s just the reality. The more prepared you are, the sooner you can serve your members at 100%.

My personal favorite session of the conference was hosted by John Best of Best Innovation Group. It discussed that buzzword you keep hearing but just don’t quite understand: Blockchain. Attendees get it. You can, too. Just ask me, or go straight to the source. Everything you think it might be? It’s more. And less. Here’s an overly simplified explanation:

  • Have someone hand another person $1.
  • Observe them doing it.
  • You are the distributed ledger verifying that it happened.
  • Now, put that dollar in an envelope. Boom, it’s encrypted.

Combine this with a decentralized system (meaning, one source broadcasts the same data to many trusted destinations, which all save it independently) and you have the trappings of a revolution! There’s so much more to it, but let me leave you with a mind-blowing possibility blockchain could eventually offer: NO MORE PASSWORDS!

Unfortunately, I can only report on sessions I attended. With more than 20 breakouts, everyone had an opportunity to gain enormous insights. No doubt, there are great ideas being shared by attendees at their credit unions around the country.

You want more? How about the sweet rock music anthems for every speaker and gathering (thanks to Lou Grilli for the playlists)? Or that time when Davis became the pistil of a dance troupe’s flower? Perhaps the living statue who could make the fountain come out her fingers? Or the walking tree? Oh, I see, you want to know about the extra-tall LED-lighted robot dancers at the final party. Sorry, what happens at the after-party stays at the after-party.

I’d like to thank the entire team at Trellance as well as all speakers for producing a memorable event stuffed to the gills with useful take-home info.

About Trellance:
Born out of nearly 30 years of payments experience and a passion for the credit union movement, Trellance is committed to providing innovative yet simple solutions to help credit unions adapt and thrive in a complex and competitive landscape. Together we can build and implement strategies to seize the exciting future of our industry.

Learn more about us at Trellance.com, visit us at thepaymentsreview.com for industry insights and our perspective on the future, or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter @Trellance.

Image description: Attendees receiving their Exceptional Member Initiative Awards. Credit: Me.

People Will Talk…Tweet, Snap, and More – Part 2

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Welcome to part two of the Two Peoples series. Last time, we learned about the “great divide” between individuals who are deeply connected and those who prefer to go the analog route. Now, we’re looking at those “connected folks” and trying to understand how they approach the world differently, if at all. And, if so, does it matter?

I already hear your objection: There are plenty of members who will not do these “techie” things, and your in-person service will always be essential for them. I know…my own family is part of that group. You’re right. It is an important part of your operation.

But you’re missing a whole lot of people who are connected. At this point, I can go into the talk on embracing social media, empowering your staff, and championing your most loyal members. Yet I won’t. You know these things, and there are countless articles to guide you if you don’t.

What you need to understand is that the social side of the technical evolution is not a fad. It’s become more than just staying in touch with friends and family. It is now the ability to do anything by way of a technological device. Want food in front of you right now? GrubHub or Seamless. Need to get out and exercise with a digital reward? Pokemon Go, Running With Zombies, Nike + Running Club. Show everyone how you look with a dog nose? Snapchat (really, I still don’t get the platform). Learn about and buy whatever you want? You know the sites.

Yes, I hear you, again. “How does a running app or food delivery system help a financial institution?” It’s about the connections the technologies enable. Even though I don’t use the social aspects, I do understand the idea of being disconnected from some people by being connected. There’s even a name for it: Digital Footprint Score. Let’s explore.

Do you remember when the World Wide Web was in its infancy? If you were one of the early adopters, you knew how separated you had become with those who were still not connected. I was ordering pizza online in the mid-90s. The precursor to my own company had a dynamic website even earlier. We had taken such a leap beyond our previous life, that you couldn’t even explain it sufficiently to those who didn’t experience the daily “brrrzz, whoosh, ba dum, ba dum” of the 14.4kbps (or 28.8 if you were way cool) modem.

We are in that position yet again. I talk with my karate students often about the games they play, apps they use, and I’m amazed at the connections they are making within these environments. The newest trend is where that virtual community extends into the real world, a la Pokemon Go and similar “augmented reality” experiences. Between gaming, interacting with friends, businesses, and associated services, their Digital Footprint Score is extremely high. It may not come as a surprise, but this score trends higher as you get younger (Why aren’t we calling it the Benjamin Button Score? I crack myself up.). Your digital footprint will continue to increase, and we are still in the early days. I believe financial technologies (fintech) will enter this crossover realm in the coming years as well. The hyper-connected don’t carry money. They pass it around like you would an emoji. In fact, you can pay with emoji now, really (don’t get me started on them…it’s like we’ve come full circle from hieroglyphics). And peer-to-peer payments within your favorite messaging service is a reality.

However, we aren’t entering a post-bank world. We’re evolving into a new way of banking. One where you have a crucial role, if you take your virtual seat at the table. Looking back at these new concepts above, what do you recognize? Direct communication…you do that. Community-building…didn’t credit unions start this concept? I get that you’re not going to build the next billion-dollar platform. But why not work with the company which does? It’s as if we’ve had this talk before…

The final part in this series will look ahead to what the future may hold. Hang tight, because we’re talking artificial intelligence! And it’s not even close to what you’re thinking. Sorry, HAL.

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