If there is one thing World Council of Credit Unions' President and CEO Brian Branch doesn't take for granted during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is having the privilege to work from home.
"My heart goes out to all those people who don't have that option, or they lose their work, and very often these are the people who are turning to credit unions to help them get through this crisis," Branch told CUInsight Editor Randall Smith on the latest edition of the CUInsight Experience podcast.
Despite the challenges facing credit unions around the world, Branch said it is instinctive for them to help their members navigate crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, which generates a tremendous sense of loyalty.
"And the return will be, as we get through this recession, a tremendous membership growth and savings growth. And we expect to have a very large resurgence of credit union systems and a tremendous growth around the world," said Branch.
And credit unions are adapting to the situation by providing more digital services.
"They really took to heart our Challenge 2025 (initiative) about digitization of the global credit union system, because they saw-in this time of pandemic-people want to feel safe. And when they're in crowded banking halls or when they're doing face-to-face transactions and passing cash back and forth they feel less safe than when doing digital transactions. And so they really upped their game," said Branch.
World Council is also working to up its digital game. Initially hosting webinars at the beginning of the pandemic to connect credit union professionals from different countries to talk about how they are responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19, our digital focus is now shifting.
"Now we've moved more to how do we provide training and technical assistance virtually? So, if our folks can't get on a plane and be there, how do we do that over virtual communication means," said Branch.