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Credit Unions Set 2023 Testing Agenda for The Lab at Filene

During the first ever Lab Symposium held in San Francisco, five ideas were selected for further exploration among The Lab’s sponsors.

The Lab at Filene takes the next step in innovation by testing new products and ideas to help credit unions grow and make a positive impact on their members and communities.

At the first ever Lab Symposium held this month in Visa’s San Francisco innovation center, credit union sponsors and stakeholders convened to set Filene’s 2023 testing agenda, share perspectives on emerging innovation opportunities and establish connections among the group of innovation-minded organizations.

"Being a founding sponsor of The Lab at Filene provides ELGA Credit Union an opportunity to work with other forward-thinking credit unions to support and shape future solutions that have the potential to improve the financial well-being of our membership,” said Terry Katzur, CEO/President of ELGA Credit Union. “We are honored to be part of such an innovative group of credit unions and partners and look forward to working with them."

2023 Testing Agenda

Sponsors of The Lab voted on which ideas they wanted to pursue further testing on from a menu of options identified through Filene’s ecosystem of academic talent, communities and strategic partners. Five ideas rose to the top as having high potential to fuel growth and maximize member and community impact while addressing key yet-unanswered questions:

  1. Financial Wellness as an Engagement Strategy
    • How can credit unions expand member relationships by providing tailor-made plans to improve their financial well-being?
  2. Re-thinking Physical Space
    • With digital transformation of financial services, how can credit unions leverage physical space to create value for members and communities? 
  3. Subscription-based Packaging Model
    • Could a subscription model for banking products and value-added services increase engagement with existing and prospective credit union members?
  4. Digital Engagement for Indirect Lending
    • How can credit unions best relay what they can offer to indirect members and successfully expand their relationships?
  5. Virtual Credit/Debit Cards
    • Can virtual credit/debit cards help reduce fraud and create a “sticky” member service?

UPDATE: Testing for concepts 1-4 above will commence in January 2023 with The Lab's sponsors. The fifth concept for Virtual Credit/Debit Cards will be postponed until future testing is possible.

The Lab Sponsor Community

“We’re thrilled to reach this milestone and excited to work on these tests. We also look forward to continuing our work with The Lab sponsor community,” said Filene’s Senior Director of Incubation, Josh Sledge. “We have some fantastic leaders, innovators, and supporters in the mix.”

Filene is an incredible partner in helping us gain knowledge, insight and innovative direction through the research and testing they do on behalf of credit unions.

“Filene is an incredible partner in helping us gain knowledge, insight and innovative direction through the research and testing they do on behalf of credit unions,” said Tonita Webb, CEO of Verity Credit Union. "This type of work sets credit unions up for success, pairing resources (that none of us have time to build out individually) with actionable results that enable us to better serve our members. We’re excited to utilize The Lab on ‘rethinking physical space’ to look at our own branches and implement updates that address the needs and concerns of every member in our community.”

Next Steps for The Lab

Next steps for The Lab at Filene entail creating detailed plans for each of the five test concepts and assessing which Lab Sponsor organization will test which concepts. From there, The Lab will conduct tests and produce actionable insights for credit unions to adopt proven solutions and expand their capacity for innovation.

April Clobes, President/CEO of Michigan State University Federal Credit Union*

"Visions Federal Credit Union is excited to be a sponsor of The Lab at Filene because we are passionate about the betterment of all credit unions,” said Chad Williams, Director of Enterprise Project Management, Visions Federal Credit Union. “Having a central hub for ideas to be tested and vetted will help all credit unions support members. In the end, that is what we are all here for, the members we support and serve." 

Each test identified through The Lab’s first round of testing opportunities provided a solution within one of four categories: new and expanding relationships, new ways to open credit access, remixing the value proposition, or competing for share of wallet. 

The initial meetings of The Lab group left me feeling energized and excited about the tremendous results that will be produced for our Members.

“Royal Credit Union appreciates the opportunity to work in partnership with Filene and other leaders in the credit union movement to advance The Lab’s 2023 agenda and positively impact the financial well-being of our Members,” said Colin Boone, Vice President-Digital Experience at Royal Credit Union. “I am inspired by the opportunity to collaborate with this amazing group of credit unions and stakeholders. The initial meetings of The Lab group left me feeling energized and excited about the tremendous results that will be produced for our Members.”

*Photos by Romulo Morishita

Thank you to The Lab at Filene sponsors

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