The Oxford Dictionary defines convenience as “being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty.” The financial sector has been on a mission to redefine the experience they provide, chasing new channels, faster technologies, less friction in the customer journey, and any other innovation to reach the holy grail of convenience.

But are there unintended consequences to this singular focus on convenience? As engagement becomes easier are credit unions and members growing further apart? In other words, has the focus on growing a particular category (membership, credit cards, etc) affecting efforts to strengthen member relationships, leading to a “miles wide inches deep” scenario?

Look at auto lending. Credit unions traditionally won loan decisions based on lower rates and fees. Banks on the other hand, typically won business based on dealer relationships and/or recommendations. The boom in auto lending over the last few years shows these dynamics are changing.

In 2012 indirect loans accounted for 43% of total outstanding credit union auto loans. By 2017 that figure had risen to 58% and is projected to reach 61% by 2021. Clearly, credit unions have made inroads at the dealership – traditionally bankers’ turf.

That would be a nice story – if it ended there. However, a deeper look at the numbers reveals two critical issues for credit unions. Read more at CUNA Mutual Group.