Mobile banking and melding credit union cultures following mergers will be two of the most pressing issues facing the movement in the coming 12 months.

Those were the messages from Rudy Pereira and Jennifer Lehn, chairs of the CUNA Technology Council and OpSS Council, respectively. The two councils’ annual conferences were co-located for the first time last week in Las Vegas.

Pereira, who also is senior vice president of operations and technology for $7.2 billion Alliant Credit Union in Chicago, warned credit unions they cannot ignore mobile banking any longer. “If they don’t have plans in the next six to 12 months, they will be behind the curve,” he declared. “Credit unions will need to offer mobile banking in the next 24 months.”

Mobile deposits are going to be the killer app of 2011, he predicted, because “anyone who can take a picture with a cell phone can deposit a check. This is a powerful metaphor for crossing all age groups.”

Lehn, an executive vice president for $1 billion Numerica Credit Union, Spokane Valley, Wash., told PaymentsSource sister publication Credit Union Journal she foresees “merger mania will continue – which on the service side means melding two cultures.”

In many mergers, Lehn noted, a hard-charging, successful credit union absorbs one that is less successful, for any number of reasons. Integrating the two sets of employees can be “painful” for some, she said.

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