Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the MAXX Conference in Spokane, Washington with our team from ModusBox. This year’s conference brought together thought leaders and industry experts who inspired us and helped their colleagues understand the latest happenings at national, regional, and state levels in the credit union space.
The NWCUA (Northwest Credit Union Association) is comprised of credit unions from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho who are focused on need-to-know topics in the credit union industry. This includes emerging technologies, digital solutions, leadership development, and strategies to successfully advance the credit union vision. Our team had the opportunity to meet with our current customers who expressed their thoughts on the digital future. We also took time to chat with and listen to leaders from many other credit unions who were able to share their insights on the industry.
ModusBox partnered with SRM, Cook Security, and Kohl Analytics to host a dinner for over 20 local credit unions. From the smooth taste of local bourbon to the “highly competitive” cornhole tournament, the atmosphere of the event was top notch. It was great to be part of an event where vendors worked together and it was inspiring to witness the astounding collaboration between the credit union leaders. This comradery illustrates how closely knit these institutions are and how they truly care about each other’s success and the success of the NWCUA as a whole.
I think there were several key takeaways from the MAXX Conference.
The number of financial institutions in the US is decreasing. Credit unions are merging with other credit unions, acquiring community banks, or being purchased by large banks at a record rate. In the early 2000s, there were about 15,000 financial institutions in the industry. Acquisitions picked up significantly after 2014 and today, there are fewer than 10,000.
Why are the “Big” eating the “Small”? As it turns out, it’s less about size, and more about speed. The “Fast” are eating the “Slow”.
The speed of innovation in today’s world continues to grow. It’s challenging for Community Financial Institutions (CFIs) to come out with products and services that compete with the big banks when they don’t have the resources or budget to do so.
Let’s also not forget that credit unions aren’t only competing with banks. The rise of Fintechs such as Venmo and Zelle has sped up the consumer demand for real-time payments.
After events like MAXX, credit unions are beginning to understand what they are up against. In order to survive, credit unions MUST leverage innovative solutions and implement an architecture that accelerates growth and innovation.
This is a make-or-break moment for many credit unions. However, after the MAXX Conference, I’m not worried. Our team saw a sense of community and investment in each other’s success. The thing that makes credit unions strong is their willingness to band together and a determination to drive innovation in their industry.
It’s time for CFIs to take charge of their digital future and become trendsetters in the banking industry. Our white paper, “When the Banking Core Falls Short,” is a great resource to learn more about the forces that hold back today’s credit unions and community banks and what it takes to overcome these challenges. Additionally, you’re interested in attending one of our invite-only events in the future, check our events page and contact us about an invitation.