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NIELSEN: But with that, the level of expertise you need in the brick and mortar has increased dramatically. A lot of investment and training goes into making sure that they are capable of handling more complex transactions.
ADAMSON: The size of the branch and how close the branches are spaced will all change. We’ll see them spread out farther and be smaller because you’ve got fewer people coming in to do the basics.
LUND: People like relationships. They like to know who they’re dealing with. If they do have an issue, a problem or a more complex transaction, they want to know a name and a face and have a friend. So those relationships are extremely important and will continue to be important, even with the technology.
VANAUSDEL: Do you think that’s changing with the younger generation, however? As they expect more online and as technology improves, you can have a pretty good experience now getting a loan online and making a mobile deposit online and so on. I’m probably odd, but I’d rather do it electronically than go into a branch.
How many of the younger generation have that same understanding—that you will still always need that relationship for certain situations?
HOFELING: Brick and mortar still counts when they’re doing a major purchase. At least 95 percent of all our loans are done in person, if it’s not a signature loan. If I’m going to buy a car or a house, those are big things. I’ll deposit all my checks, I’ll move my money, all that—but now this is a big thing, so I’m going to sit down and see you. I want you to tell me it’s all OK, the paperwork’s all right.
LUND: A lot of times you just don’t want to be hassled, you want to get through your transaction and get on with life. But there are other times in other circumstances where you want a choice.
VANAUSDEL: Technology doesn’t allow us to do everything electronically. For an automobile loan, you still have to have a title. If the state of Utah would catch up to the rest of the world, we could do other things electronically, like mortgages. We think more and more of that’s going to be done electronically because it will be faster. It’s quite the process to get a mortgage loan. You have to go in, you have to provide this, this, this and this. But technology will allow you to do away with that, perhaps.
HOFELING: I don’t disagree with you. I think it’ll come to that point. But right now, there’s still that human nature part of it that wants somebody to rub our head on a big purchase and say, “You did the right thing.” I don’t think our consumers have changed on that.
GOURDIN: One thing to realize, 25, 30 years ago we were all told that checks were going to disappear. Well, maybe they’ve gone down. But each additional innovation or service that’s been added is just an addition, it’s not a replacement. If you look at e-mail and texting—my inbox attests that e-mail is still alive and thriving. As generations adopt something, they’re going to stick with that as they continue to get older. People that are used to online banking on a PC as opposed to the phone are going to stick with that for as long as that service is offered to them. Checks aren’t going away. EFTs aren’t going away. Online banking is not going away. They’re just additional ways to interact with your credit union.
LONDON: That’s going to make our jobs a lot harder in the future. Instead of offering two or three ways to do something, we’re going to have 15 or 20 ways of doing it.
ADAMSON: Getting everybody on the same technology, so we can use the same system to transfer money—that’s going to be the hard part. Because the government requires that checks can be deposited. Same with cash. I don’t know if a new system came in, if they would be able to get the growth across the industry. Electronic payment has been talked about for five, six years, and I don’t think it’s moved anywhere. PayPal you can use online and it’s been out there forever. And now there’s a number of other ones. So I don’t know if checks will ever go away. I don’t think cash will ever go away.
Everybody knows the regulatory environment that we’ve dealt with the last four, five years. Have you noticed anything positive in the last six months or so?
PAYNE: There have been a few delays in enforcement. Delays in effective dates.
MOODY: In our experience over the last several years, the regulators were a non-issue. They stayed out of the way. But now it feels like a knee-jerk reaction over what’s taken place over the last several years. And that’s a bit surprising to me. I would have expected those things a couple of years ago—the things they’re focusing on—versus today because of the improvement.