Case Study

Visions FCU Wows Members, Drives Conversions, Wins Awards

For Tom Novak, Chief Digital Officer at Visions Federal Credit Union, digital transformation is a journey, not a destination, and the trip isn’t optional.

“Humanizing the digital experience must be a strategic objective for credit unions if we are to maintain the characteristics that make our institutions unique,” says Novak.  “This cannot be achieved with a single act or within a set project timeline.  Our success requires partnerships with companies that have the expertise, technology and understanding needed to move from a transactional experience to a thoughtful, personal approach on digital channels. It’s an integral part of how we can keep our long-standing reputation for service while supporting our goal to become a digital-first institution.”

With well more than half of banking services delivered digitally, community banks and credit unions can only protect their franchises if they can find a way to deliver digital experiences that meet or exceed customer and member expectations.  Ultimately, this means transforming the digital experience by exceeding the level of personalized service offered in the branch.  According to Craig McLaughlin, Visions FCU understands the nature of this challenge and has responded by going “all in.”

McLaughlin says, “Visions is differentiating itself with a banking environment that is more personal and relational than even the largest institutions. For Visions, digital transformation is about delivering the distinctiveness of the credit union mission to the digital channel. To do this, they need to be able to offer segment-of-one interactions that translate their culture and brand value to digital channels. We built our platform for community financial institutions with this kind of foresight, and we are proud to help them ‘wow’ their members.”

Wowing members is not all Visions accomplished.  The implementation of the Finalytics.ai platform had an impact on conversions – prospects becoming members – as well.  The results were jaw dropping with a conversion rate improvement of more than 270% over the credit union’s historic averages.  The key to achieving came from the institution’s ability to present visitors to its website with content unique to their needs.

Using multi-faceted data streams and a powerful machine learning engine, the Finalytics.ai platform dynamically assembled content that reflected what was known about each visitor.  Instead of a generic banner ad, these individuals saw content tailored specifically for them.  In addition, the platform helped the credit union discover microsegments in their membership where specific needs were localized around well-defined geographies.  Campaigns targeting those microsegments based on the needs identified are part of Vision’s future planning.

According to Novak, “Our partnership with Finalytics.ai helps us drive a thoughtful and relevant experience in our digital channels.  Leveraging machine learning allows us to hyper-personalize the right message, for the right segment, at the right time, so we can support our members and prospective members in their moments of need.”

Visions’ leadership in digital transformation, including their willingness to embrace innovative technology in order to extend their brand value, was recognized recently at a CUNA conference in Las Vegas.  The CUNA O&ME award identifies, recognizes and honors credit unions that exemplify excellence in operations and member experience. It showcases innovative approaches to serving members, acknowledging their universal application to credit unions nationwide and sharing the solutions with their peers.

“Visions demonstrates just how powerful the Finalytics.ai platform can be at driving consumer acquisition, increasing wallet share and improving member retention. However, none of that would have happened had Visions not been willing to embrace the power of data and artificial intelligence and use it in ways that benefit their members and curate a relational digital experience, differentiating themselves in a market where most institutions treat digital as purely transactional.”

The 2021 Digital Banking Report found that only 9% of banking organizations ranked themselves as being “innovation pioneers” like Visions.  On average, 32% would rather wait to see if the technology becomes mainstreamed and “less risky.” Interestingly, both rankings were lower than in the previous year.  With 40% of consumers willing to leave their primary financial institutions for a digital experience that is tailored to their needs, those institutions that prefer to watch from the sidelines may find that the game is over for them by the time they are ready to play.