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'Big Data' Offers Great Promise
MADISON, Wis. (11/22/13)--Many credit unions won't get involved with big data because of a lack of resources, but that's a short-sighted approach.
Click to view larger image When tracked properly, big data allows credit unions to customize service based on members' specific financial situations and needs, according to Peter Halenar, vice president of strategic partnerships for MoneyDesktop. (CUNA photo)
Don't let the magnitude of "big data," or uncertainty over how best to use it, paralyze your credit union's ability to take advantage of its great promise, the Credit Union National Association's Credit Union Directors Newsletter reports.
Large corporations and financial services competitors already rely on big data. Increasingly, they use it to siphon away business opportunities with your members, according to Peter Halenar, vice president of strategic partnerships for MoneyDesktop.
"I would highly suggest that you start to have the conversation internally," Halenar told attendees of the recent CUNA Community Credit Union & Growth Conference. "You can either start to address it now, or after it's passed you by and you have to play catch-up. That's not a situation you want to be in."
The world produces as much data in two days as in the previous 5,000 years, Halenar said, offering a treasure trove of information if interpreted properly. Predictive policing helps departments target areas where crime is on the rise. Netflix analyzes usage patterns of the 31 million customers who stream its movies to recommend other content for their queues. Retailers target advertising to customers based on their recent purchases.
"Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine," Halenar said, quoting Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and global head of research at Gartner.
Financial institutions can use big data to track when members are due for a car loan, or when they need a mortgage. Credit unions also can determine which members bank elsewhere and customize offers explaining how much money they'd save if they brought all their business in-house.
"When you learn to corral that information, and turn it into actions that benefit your credit union, you'll gain wallet share, increase membership, and turn more members into primary financial institution (PFI) members," Halenar said.
Many credit unions won't get involved with big data because of a lack of resources, Halenar said. Personal finance management (PFM) products like MoneyDesktop sift external and internal data sources and provide customized, user-friendly reports without taxing information technology (IT) departments.
Big data can free up your IT department to let it concentrate on other things that are mission critical, he said.
"Put that technology into your hands, so you can parse, slice, and dice the data in ways that are meaningful to you," Halenar said. "It makes your organization more efficient."


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