Thanks to the work of Novak and his colleagues on its digital transformation strategy, Visions was able to respond quickly to the disruptions brought by the pandemic. “For example, the emergency loans that we offered at the start of the crisis,” he explains. “With this human-centric approach, we have developed a 0% APR personal loan of up to $ 5,000 over a 12-month term that has been offered to all of our members in need. At the same time, we made sure that while we needed to deploy this quickly to help those in need, it was a fully digital process. Due to our previous digital transformation efforts, this involved very little operational work and the same infrastructure as we do for our other consumer loans. In turn, this has created familiarity and simplicity for members and employees. At the same time, we created various digital processes, supporting over $ 79 million in residential mortgage forbearances, over $ 150 million in commercial mortgage waivers, 19,280 deferred consumer loan payments , $ 15 million in SBA PPP loans and nearly $ 2 million in 0% emergency loans.
“The digital transformation efforts that we have put in place have served us really well. Even some of the ad hoc decisions we made along the way about how we set up remote working capabilities for our employees and the various corporate collaboration tools really made a difference. Quite simply, we had the right infrastructure in place at the right time, ”adds Novak. “From an employee perspective, we have been able to move very quickly in terms of the global deployment of remote work, and on the side of our members, we have just accelerated the adoption of the technologies that we were already using. Putting this foundation in place has been a real differentiator for us from other similar organizations who may have more manual processes in their back-end operations. There is a common misconception in the financial services industry that big tech companies like Google and Amazon can do technology better and, therefore, will accept our customers. Thanks to COVID, we have learned that we can absolutely compete at this level. By working collectively towards goals, we can compete with the world’s largest tech companies and financial institutions. “
Thinking of the members, Novak explains that the impacts of COVID will be significant for the financial well-being of people. For many, he explains, survival mode was the immediate new normal, and their job was to give them the tools they needed to be successful. “We’re here to work with them, and the benefits and joy they get from their success are the same we get from being a successful cooperative. All the technology implementations we have made such as changes to our ATM fleet, a general increase in digital services like machine learning-based interactions, and adopting a multi-channel and empathetic approach to communicating with our members digitally, have allowed us to help them through a difficult situation.
Of course, Visions cannot guide its members without adopting the latest technologies. One area of interest, says Novak, is payments and how a member can access and move their money when they need it. Visions’ focus on digital banking has been to improve its money movement capabilities, he explains. “We’ve made several UI / UX improvements to the bill payment experience and changed our limits on debit and credit cards. Likewise, on our public website, we have deployed the ability for members to pay their loans with a debit card or ACH from another financial institution.
Other initiatives include the business performance department and the use of robotic process automation (RPA), which Novak says has seen a continued rate of adoption within the company. While this is not always directly obvious to members, he explains that RPA has streamlined and improved processes to enable better service to members and an environment where employees can more easily focus on work of the highest value. .
On messaging, Novak highlights a concerted effort to increase the use of digital marketing to communicate with Visions members. “We have had tremendous success with our COVID-related communications, ensuring that messages are personalized, focused on members’ real issues and targeted specifically at them. Spreading these messages has allowed us to improve the overall member experience at a crucial time and align with our mission. “
Such success was made possible by close collaboration with technology partners, says Novak. SWBC, for example, has been instrumental in fueling Visions’ digital payments and applications. For digital banking, Visions collaborates with Q2. This partnership, says Novak, was particularly beneficial during COVID, as Visions had to implement rapid and continuous changes to help members. The massive increase in digital banking adoption and active use has been exponential. The second quarter played a key role in Visions ‘ability to seamlessly support channel growth and educate members on convenient features, such as Card Controls and FinSavvy, Visions’ personal money management tool.
“Extractable, a San Francisco-based digital strategy and UX design agency, is another key partner in our success,” continues Novak. “We worked with them on a comprehensive digital transformation strategy to build our digital business roadmap beyond our first generation strategy. This will include a fintech collaboration framework that will make it easier for us to partner and do business with fintechs as member needs evolve. It will also allow us to set up a fully defined payment strategy which is critical to the ongoing cash flow use cases. Because of our partnership with Extractable, we are focused on growing a fully digital organization, not just a financial institution. There is a new normal because of COVID, and so we need to be ready for it. “
There is no doubt that Visions will be ready. In terms of digital banking and digital organization at large, under the current leadership, the organization has been embarking on its plan for several years. “Accelerating digital usage and improvements in other areas of the business is still in its early stages, but that’s where this comprehensive, comprehensive digital business plan comes in. on a digital branch or business unit, we need to plan, execute, and deliver as an agile organization to a greater degree than any fintech or tech company, and this is an extremely exciting proposition due to the trust that we have won with our members.