Partners Federal Credit Union: Embarking on a Magical Digital Transformation Journey

by John Janclaes 0

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There’s a perfect storm brewing in the financial services industry, driven by increasing consumer demand for digital banking services and stiffer competition by big banks, Fintech startups and digital native companies such as Amazon.

Times have changed for all of us. It wasn’t that long ago that credit unions distinguished ourselves by providing personalized service and competitive rates. However, in a world that’s becoming more digital, we are now faced with a challenge: How do we differentiate ourselves and translate personal service across both physical and digital service channels? How do we continue to leverage our key asset – superior attention to customer service – in a digital age where human interaction is significantly decreasing and demand for digital services is increasing?

Partners Federal Credit Union has an incredibly diverse membership. For over 50 years, we’ve been serving more than 150,000 cast members of The Walt Disney Company, which includes employees and families of hundreds of companies, such as ESPN, Pixar, Lucas Entertainment and, of course, Disney Parks and Resorts.

In order to remain relevant to our members, we needed to be agile and keep pace with the changing world of digital banking. We’ve long understood that we need to extend our member services beyond our brick-and-mortar branch locations in California and Florida by utilizing digital channels. In addition, based on our members’ and staff’s feedback, we had to innovate at a faster rate.

Our mission became clear: With digital demands outpacing our internal ability to innovate, we needed a bold plan to transform Partners FCU by significantly improving our digital capabilities. This strategic direction would impact our entire organization – everything from people, process, technology and culture. To accomplish this mission, we knew we needed knowledgeable, trusted partners who could walk alongside us and help us be successful on this digital transformation journey.

Our “Digital 2x” initiative focuses on accelerating the rollout of new digital banking services that better meet our members’ expectations. To be successful, we knew we needed a digital master and an industry-leading partner that was capable of driving rapid innovation and continuous value. We found that partner in Kony, an organization that thrives in digital delivery. With its extensive experience in helping leading brands of all industries leverage digital innovation to transform their businesses, it was the obvious choice for us. We also partnered with The Boston Consulting Group for their expertise in helping companies tackle thorny issues and become more agile.

As we transform Partners FCU to address our members’ needs, we’re doing something truly unique – sharing our experience through a documentary series. The goal is to help others learn from our experience, share insight and avoid any pitfalls as they all embark on their own digital journeys.  You can watch part one of the series here.

To address the new competitive storms and challenges that we are facing as an industry, we need to be bold and approach our digital initiative with a sense of urgency. All along the way, our motto has been: “We’re going for progress, not perfection.” The key is to make incremental improvements at a rapid pace. I believe this approach is what will propel Partners FCU into an agile credit union continually evolving to deliver unmatched member value.

John Janclaes is President and CEO, Partners Federal Credit Union. Partners Federal Credit Union serves The Walt Disney Company cast members and their families. That includes hundreds of diverse companies and partners that are part of The Walt Disney Company.

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