At a time when skepticism toward financial institutions is high and banking is trusted less than any other industry, credit unions across North America have stayed strong by making a convincing pitch to consumers that they provide a fairer, more client-friendly alternative. There are a number of reasons for why Credit Unions are held in comparatively high regard in the financial world, but the flexibility and willingness to adopt novel solutions that many Credit Unions have displayed in the decade since the financial crisis has unquestionably played a significant role in building customer trust.

In particular, Credit Unions have developed a reputation for being more willing to innovate than the major financial institutions that dominate the banking sector in North America. Because Credit Unions have a more direct relationship with their members, and because they cannot always command the same degree of leeway than their larger counterparts, Credit Unions have needed to be both more responsive to member needs and more protective of assets and information.

A key example of how Credit Unions have led the way is the widespread adoption of board management software in Credit Unions across North America. Board management software is a tool for facilitating information sharing at the highest levels of an organization, and has played an important role in reducing the risk of data breaches and targeted hacks. Board management software creates an electronic portal through which board managers can share documents, memos, reports, and other vital but sensitive information with board members anywhere in the world. Not only does it allow board members to access the data they need in order to make informed decisions around board governance, it also gives them the opportunity to annotate and discuss the documents in advance of the meeting itself.

Portal software is particularly useful for Credit Unions. Because portal software is protected by some of the most sophisticated encryption on the market, board members can share large amounts of sensitive information without worrying about whether or not it might be hacked. This gives board members the freedom to easily access and share the data they need without having to navigate more cumbersome cyber security systems. Once a member has been given access to the portal, they can find all of the information related to board governance through a single, easy-to-use application, and can even securely download documents to read offline.

Recent data indicates that Credit Unions are now three times more popular than banks, with a significant percentage of new customers noting the most significant factor in their decision to move to a Credit Union was their perception that Credit Unions were safer financial institutions. With high-profile instances of cyber attacks costing banks millions of dollars, and data breaches putting the personal information of customers at risk, Credit Unions’ reputation for careful stewardship will likely continue to attract customers who want to guarantee the security of their money and the privacy of their personal information.