Posted by MeridianLink | April 7, 2020

How Can Credit Unions Cope with the Coronavirus Pandemic?

The Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has brought chaos everywhere. What can credit unions do to stay aloft, and help their most vulnerable members and employees? 

This post was inspired by a recent article we read on that we wanted to add additional thoughts on.

There are a number of steps that credit union managers can take, including:

  • Develop the right operational response.
  • Stay informed about what’s going on.
  • Don’t travel.
  • Consider the impact on your most vulnerable members and employees.
  • Embrace digital lending technology.

Here are some additional tips and considerations, including advice about the implementation of digital banking.

How Can Credit Unions Cope with COVID-19 Pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, including individuals as well as business entities. Credit unions and other financial institutions are no exception. If you attempt to ignore the macro-economic news, there are still every day, practical concerns: How can credit unions adapt in an era of “social distancing,” one in which members can’t visit physical branches the way they used to?

We have seen many credit unions step up and address the coronavirus proactively. Through some creativity and strategic planning, credit unions have remained aloft even while caring for the needs of their members. Here are just a few of the ways in which some credit unions have been weathering the pandemic.

1) Have an Operational Response in Place

Credit union leadership should be meeting regularly (and remotely) to discuss how they will continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, to its disruptions to normal credit union operations, and to the hardships encountered by both members and employees.

Be ready to think tactically while also addressing the long tail of this thing. Consider how you’ll continue to promote health and hygiene among your team, comply with public health advice, and provide assistance to members who are in crisis mode.

2) Stay Informed

As most of us have realized, the situation with Coronavirus is very fluid. It’s changing daily, both in terms of economic impact, government response, and public health guidelines. One of the best things credit union leaders can do is to stay informed.

That means staying plugged in with reliable news sources. It also means keeping tabs on what’s going on with other credit unions and banks; with insurance companies; and with banking tech providers.

Be vigilant in taking in plenty of information that might direct your current and future plans.

3) Abstain from Traveling

A lot of us probably feel like we could use a good vacation right about now… maybe a trip to the beach. Alas, this is no time for travel. In fact, credit union leaders are better off heeding the advice of public health experts: As much as you possibly can, just stay home.

If you or any of your employees have done a lot of traveling recently, especially to areas where there have been a lot of COVID-19 cases reports, some self-quarantining is critical. That’s the best way to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible.

4) Think About Your Most Vulnerable Members

The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to impact all of us; indeed, many have been impacted already. But the effects will be most acute for those who are already economically vulnerable. Those are the members who your credit union should be thinking about right now and supporting however possible.

One thing you can do is to provide talking points to your employees. Coach them in how they can answer questions and concerns from members, in ways that are honest but still reassuring.

5) Remember the Emotional Impact on Your Employees

The Coronavirus pandemic is also exerting an emotional toll. Your employees are by no means immune to this. Remember that many who work for your credit union are feeling very scared, anxious, and uncertain right now.

The best thing you can do for them, honestly, is to keep the lines of communication open. Keep your employees in the know about how your credit union is handling things. And let your employees know that you’re available to talk with them as needed.

6) Look for Ways to Give Back

Right now, there is no shortage of opportunity for your credit union to give back, to support the vulnerable, and to make a positive social impact.

Start seeking ways to do good, contribute to your community, and continue seeking them, even as the dust starts to settle and our new reality becomes a bit clearer.

7) Embrace a Superior Digital Banking and Digital Lending Technology

It may be a while before members feel comfortable visiting a branch of your credit union. That doesn’t mean your services have to grind to a halt. On the contrary, digital banking and digital lending platforms can enable you to serve member needs even while we’re all under quarantine.

In fact, with online account opening platforms, you can even get new members during this time of crisis.

There’s never been a better time for your credit union to embrace the vanguard of a superior digital banking and digital lending technology. MeridianLink is a primary resource. If you’d like to talk about digital lending and banking options, just reach out to us at any time or explore our resource center to learn more about our digital banking and digital lending products and solutions. 

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