Chuck Fagan, president and CEO of PSCU, reflects on the challenges of 2020 and looks ahead to what 2021 will bring. In “A Look Forward: What Executives Wish for America and the World in 2021,” he shares how PSCU has taken steps to prepare for the shifts in digital habits of credit union members, supporting its owner CUs’ needs for digital modernization by offering a full suite of payment offerings.
2020 was a year like no other, yielding unprecedented challenges as the United States faced a global pandemic and civil unrest, among other unexpected events. Our resilience was tested, forcing the world to unexpectedly adapt how we live and work. It was a year in which the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” took on an even deeper meaning, and it was inspiring to see how our industry came together to help and support CU members and each other.
As we look to 2021, there are a number of key drivers reshaping how credit unions operate and best meet the needs of their members, with digital solutions and innovations at the forefront of these expectations. Even before the pandemic, shifting consumer preferences were becoming apparent in the digital space, with more consumers adopting online banking, downloading payments apps and changing the ways in which they interact with their financial institutions. COVID-19 has fast-tracked these changing preferences, with digital banking gaining traction and contactless forms of payments rapidly gaining momentum. We continued to see this trend take shape in the results of PSCU’s 2020 “Eye On Payments” study, and expect that it will continue to impact what services we provide in 2021.
My wish for America and the world is that we all continue to exhibit the resilience that has allowed us to persist during these unprecedented times. The challenges we have collectively faced this year will not disappear or resolve when the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, 2021. We must remain committed to adapting, adjusting and recovering from any future difficulties we may face, while also continuing to move ahead with a forward-looking approach. With this in mind, we can endure unanticipated events and enable ourselves to innovate and elevate our offerings, services and solutions to advance our industry and meet the rapidly evolving needs and expectations of consumers.
At PSCU, we have proactively prepared for the shifts in digital habits of credit union members, supporting our owner CUs’ needs for digital modernization by offering a full suite of payment offerings. Contactless and digital issuance will continue to be key growth areas, especially in light of COVID-19, while we also continue to expand our self-service tools and other digital solutions. Building on our momentum in 2020, we are confident that our continued strategic investments — along with our own digital transformation — will leave us well-prepared to assist our owners in planning for the evolving, digital-first reality that 2021 will bring.
As we enter the new year, which will undoubtedly bring new challenges, now is not the time to de-invest in technology, innovation or talent. Building on what we have learned in 2020, our industry has an opportunity to play a key role in the successful transition to the “next normal” and to support the economic recovery in a post-pandemic world.