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The Best of Both Worlds: Weaving the Personal into the Digital to Grow

By Chris Doner, founder and CEO of Access Softek

Is the branch dead? Not quite yet.

Much like checks, branches will still play an important part in a credit union’s operations. Many individuals prefer face-to-face interaction when they have complex questions. Others prefer coming into a branch because of the personal service they receive.

On the other hand, online channels have the benefit of being faster and more convenient. Users can access them from anywhere at any time. This convenience drives the rapid adoption of digital banking by tech-savvy consumers.

The next generation of member experience marries the best of the digital world with the personal experience of the branch and the call center. Financial institutions expect cost-effective digital solutions to gradually replace the expensive, high-touch personal experience. However, a better path to follow is to embrace the best of both worlds. This brings the loyalty and human connection that comes from a person-to-person interaction into the more cost-effective digital world.

Personal Experiences via Digital

The in-person connection is the lifeblood of the branch. To enhance digital banking experiences, credit unions must weave the branch’s key advantage – personal interaction – into the digital channel. This creates a stronger connection with members without requiring face-to-face interaction and expensive brick and mortar branches.

A strong member experience begins with an intuitive workflow for online tasks. Whether they are opening a new account or applying for a loan, people want to easily navigate the process and have access to employees if they have questions.

The second step to a strong digital experience is support. In the digital channel, this means having easy access to resources to solve issues in the form of online live or video chats and chatbots. A live chat gives people peace of mind, answers to their questions and provides the information needed to complete their task.

This chat must be seamlessly woven into digital banking so that members have easy access to the features they need. Requiring them to download an outside app is inconvenient, time consuming, insecure and lacks the deep integration a single solution can offer.

Test and Reduce Abandonment Rates

Financial institutions that offer individuals the option of opening an account online provide themselves with a multitude of advantages, including the opportunity to lure business from other institutions, compete with larger ones and appeal to a younger demographic.

The key to building a digital experience that mirrors the benefits of in-branch service is improving the member journey when opening accounts or completing tasks online.  Online account opening does not matter if individuals cannot complete their task online. A 2019 Signicat study found 40% of consumers abandon the bank onboarding process because of the time needed to complete the onboarding process or the need to provide too much personal information.

In contrast to the high abandonment rates of digital account opening, in-branch abandonment is low because staff can answer questions quickly and there is a human connection with the individual.

High abandonment rates are a danger to the growth and success of any institution. Credit unions must find ways to plug the gaps and ensure members have access to the right information at the right time.

It is imperative that credit unions begin to weave a face-to-face personal experience into the digital channel if they want to survive. The best online offerings are useless if members do not understand how to use them.

Credit unions must personalize the digital experience to meet the increase in digital banking demand by integrating online and in-person service. Only then will they maximize member growth and retention regardless of the channel members choose.

Please contact your LEVERAGE BDC for additional details:

Karen Frazee  850.545.4825

Steve Pullara    813.404.6877

Donnette Logan   205.294.4227

Taylor Sheffield    205.457.4261

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About Us

The League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates represents 302 credit unions in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, with a combined total of $175 billion in assets and more than 11.6 million members. LSCU & Affiliates provides legislative and regulatory advocacy; education and training; cooperative initiatives (including financial education outreach); public messaging; information services; and business solutions.

LSCU Mission Statement

To create an environment that enables credit unions to grow and succeed.

LSCU Vision Statement

To be the trusted advocate and preferred source of information for credit unions.

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