Credit unions compelled to innovate as non-traditional competitors take hold

Categories:Press Release
David Damstra

Michigan Legacy Credit Union answers the call to modernize amid fintech disruption

 Media Contact: Lucie Fornasiero; EAFocus Communications;; 248.925.6726

Wyandotte, Mich. — August 30, 2021 — Michigan Legacy Credit Union (MLCU)—with five physical branches in Flat Rock, Highland, Pontiac, Warren and Wyandotte—is answering the call to innovate as more big tech giants and retailers like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Walmart move into the fintech sector to offer traditional financial and banking services. Led by CEO Carma Peters, MLCU has taken several innovative measures to modernize its experience as part of a larger strategic direction that shifts to a smaller physical footprint and offers more digital interaction with members.

“With the rise of neobanks, combined with an increasing number of customers willing to handle their personal finances remotely as a result of the pandemic, brick-and-mortar banking is experiencing disruption, and the traditional bank teller and ATM experience is no longer enough,” Peters said. “The move to fully online banking affirms MLCU’s strategic branching system decision, as we are already seeing the value among our branches that has come with having less square footage of space.”

MLCU is converting all its locations to teller-less branches, utilizing smart ATMs to handle deposits and withdrawals. As part of the teller-less branch, MLCU adopted the Pop I/O video teller platform in which a member can open an account, apply for a loan, close a loan, including mortgage lending, and perform any maintenance such as change of address, fraud disputes and any other cashless services on their account through the video platform. This technology allows members to join from the comfort of their home, vacation or wherever they happen to be from their convenience of their phone. A key objective is to provide one-on-one service utilizing technology in a non-threatening environment, along with non-contact transactions that keep members and staff as safe as possible.

“We saw in-person transactions and member lobby interactions start to decline even before the pandemic, so this strategic decision was easy to make; when the pandemic hit, though, online took off,” Peters said.

In 2020, MLCU had 50,000 more online transactions in April than in March—a 38% increase. More recently, online channels have increased 33% in 2021.

While the call to innovate could be intimidating for smaller financial institutions, it shouldn’t be.

“You do not have to be a large financial institution to adopt new technology at prices you can afford. Most of it is thinking outside the traditional box and finding the ways to make solutions work for your credit union,” Peters notes.

MLCU’s innovation efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. In December 2020, the renovated Wyandotte branch reopened, designed as a nostalgic community gathering spot, reminiscent of a 60s era diner, and complete with a jukebox encased ATM machine. Michigan Credit Union League announced the Wyandotte branch of Michigan Legacy Credit Union as an Innovation Award winner earlier this year.

And the modernization won’t stop there.

“Eventually, our goal is to provide 24-hour service, utilizing staff to be on call for the video platform anytime it is convenient for members,” Peters shared. “We will continue to adapt as our world changes – rapidly.”

About Michigan Legacy Credit Union

Michigan Legacy Credit Union (MLCU) is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative serving members who live, work, worship, attend school, or own a business in the state of Michigan. Michigan Legacy Credit Union is committed to providing quality financial services at a competitive price, delivered professionally and efficiently while keeping member/owners and their needs first. For additional information on MLCU, visit: