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The North Star: Reflections following the CCUA National Lending Conference

Last week in Victoria at the CCUA’s fantastic National Lending Conference, I had the pleasure of moderating a discussion on how technology and data are being used for credit union small business lending.

The key theme our panelists discussed was how partnerships were essential to successful adoption of new technologies in order to provide greater service and user experiences to small business members.

All of us (credit unions, fintechs, financial services providers) have our strengths, and they should all be individually showcased and celebrated as we push forward creative and innovative tools and solutions.

But the best end user experiences are those that result from knowledge sharing, collaboration, and a united goal on making the banking experience the best it can possibly be.


The Hard Work is Just Beginning

A recent Accenture study reports that banking newcomers are now commanding one-third of revenue growth in Europe. In the UK, 63% of new players have taken some 14% of revenue.*

The banking industry in Canada has seen this coming. Great progress has been made amongst traditional and new players.

However true innovation remains slow compared to other countries; “while nearly half (47 percent) of banking and payments institutions are new entrants, they have captured less than 2 percent of total banking and payments revenue, making Canada one of the least disrupted major banking markets”.**

What Accenture has acutely pointed out in their report is that for traditional players, simply digitizing services is not going to be enough to hang on to, let alone grow, wallet share.

It was interesting (and shamelessly reassuring) to read that among their four digital-ready archetypal business models that they recommend, the “Digital Relationship Manager” seems to be exactly the strategy that Grow empowers financial institutions to pursue.

So while we are thrilled, busy delivering and exceptionally motivated to power lending and account opening solutions to enable our customers to offer exceptional user experiences, as an industry we shouldn’t lose sight of how we can transform banking into even more than fantastic digital services.

Lending is just one aspect of financial services that has witnessed significant disruption from a plethora of direct to consumer and peer-to-peer lending platforms. Credit unions and banks should be strategizing how they can continue to bring the guidance, advice, and personal relationships customers are craving into their unique service offerings. With access to virtually the entire Canadian population the potential for their impact on people’s lives is immeasurable.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Arak Bhokanandh, Director, Strategic Digital Partnerships, Digital Solutions & Business Technology at Vancity; Monique Morden, CEO at Lendified Technologies; and Pamela Dodaro, Executive Director, Business Solutions at TransUnion for the thought provoking conversation and their outstanding commitment to innovation and improved financial experiences; and to the CCUA for organizing such a valuable event.

I’m excited about what we’re all striving for and working so hard to achieve – improving people’s lives and well-being. Let’s continue work together to get there.


Kevin Sandhu is CEO at Grow Technologies




* Accenture

** Business Wire