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Top Spreading Software Features for Small Credit Unions

Posted by Fiscal on March 26, 2024

Small credit unions are finding themselves at a crossroads between maintaining personalized member services and embracing technological advancements to enhance operational efficiency. Among these advancements, financial spreading software stands out as a pivotal tool for streamlining small business financial analysis, a task integral to the decision-making processes in lending operations. 

Recognizing the importance of this balance, it’s important to understand the specifics of how tailored spreading software, particularly designed for small credit unions, can redefine the efficiency and accuracy of financial statement spreading. In this blog, we’ll discuss the key features small credit unions lean on when looking for spreading softwares. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Do Small Credit Unions Need Specialized Software?

Small credit unions serve a unique segment of the financial market, often prioritizing a personal touch that larger banks may overlook. This distinct approach necessitates software that provides flexibility for one-off adjustments and prioritizes features that complement existing processes in order to make small business lending straightforward without losing the feeling of personalized service. 

The right software harmonizes time-saving features with the granular control needed for detailed financial analysis.

The Unique Landscape of Small Credit Union Software vs. Big Bank Solutions

When it comes to financial management and statement spreading software, the needs of small credit unions significantly diverge from those of big banks. This distinction stems not only from the scale of operations but also from the foundational values and customer service models that differentiate small credit unions from their larger counterparts. 

So, with this in mind, what are the key features smaller credit unions and banks may prioritize?

9 Key Features To Look For in a Tailored Small Credit Union Software

Understanding these differences is key to appreciating why specialized software solutions, like those tailored for small credit unions, are not just beneficial but essential for their successful operation. 

In our 30+ years serving small credit unions and community banks, here are a few key software features we’ve seen as a priority:

1. Global Cash Flow Analysis

The complexity of many deals, especially those involving multiple guarantors or businesses, demands a robust but flexible solution. Global Cash Flow allows credit unions to view all sources of cash flow on one page, simplifying the analysis process and enabling the evaluation of individual and combined financial health with just a few clicks.

2. Seamless Business and Personal Spreads

Recognizing that small business lending often intertwines personal and business finances, the right software will offer flexible templates for both- streamlining the creation and assignment of spreads. This feature overcomes the challenges of adapting a single Excel template to fit unique deal structures, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring consistency across analyses.

3. Efficient and Consistent Reporting

With access to a suite of standard reports—such as income statements, balance sheets, and ratio analyses—a good software provides credit unions with the tools to generate insightful, customizable reports. The software's ability to incorporate benchmarks and offer narrative reports elevates the depth of analysis, enabling credit unions to make well-informed decisions.

4. Credit Memo Generation

Crafting credit memos is notoriously labor-intensive, copying and pasting not only customer information and existing relationships from your core, but also the financial spreads you just created in Excel.  But it doesn’t have to be this way. A software that features credit memo generation significantly reduces the time spent on this task by automatically populating memos with data from your core system as well as from previous analyses, ensuring consistency and allowing easy updates for Annual Reviews and Renewals.

5. Flexibility to Use What You Need (and Ignore What You Don’t)

Small credit unions often serve a niche or localized member base, necessitating software that can be easily tailored to fit specific needs, and leave behind what you won’t use. Unlike big banks, which may standardize processes across vast networks, small credit unions require software that is adaptable to their current processes and procedures, and can accommodate unique lending scenarios, member needs, and regulatory requirements.

6. Personalized Member Service

The hallmark of small credit unions is their commitment to providing personalized service. Software solutions for these institutions are designed to enhance, not replace, personal interactions. They provide a deeper understanding of members' financial situations and facilitate clear conversations with members; ultimately enabling credit unions to make more informed lending decisions and offer tailored advice, a level of customer-centric service big banks may not care to replicate due to their scale.

7. Operational Efficiency

Small credit unions operate with leaner teams, making operational efficiency paramount. The right software will take on time-consuming tasks like data entry and report generation, freeing staff to focus on member service and strategic initiatives. This efficiency is critical for small organizations to compete effectively with big banks, which have larger resources at their disposal.

8. Cost-Effectiveness

Budget constraints are a reality for many small credit unions. Software solutions tailored for these institutions prioritize cost-effectiveness, offering essential features without the hefty price tag of systems designed for larger banks. This ensures small credit unions can invest in technology that drives their mission forward without compromising financial health or paying for features they simply won’t use.

9. Community Focus

Lastly, the software used by small credit unions often reflects their community-focused ethos, incorporating features that help assess and contribute to the finances of the communities they serve. Unlike big banks, whose technology may prioritize efficiency and profit, small credit union software aligns with the goal of community development and member well-being. This will always come first in their decision-making processes.

Choosing the Right Small Credit Union Software: A Strategic Decision

The decision to integrate a financial spreading software into a credit union's operations is strategic, with the potential to transform the institution's efficiency and accuracy. FISCAL Forward stands out as a solution that not only meets the specific needs of small credit unions but also aligns with their commitment to personalized service.

FISCAL Forward is designed for small credit unions, here are just a few examples:

  • Priced per-user and based on your commercial loan portfolio size, so even the smallest institutions can find a setup that is right-sized for them. Additional user licenses can be added as needed any time.
  • No required long-term contracts, simple annual subscriptions, and minimal up-front implementation fees.
  • Designed and developed to fit with your current processes and procedures, not force you to completely re-work them to accommodate the software.
  • Live training and support available at no additional cost.

As small credit unions continue to navigate the complexities of the financial landscape, embracing solutions like FISCAL Forward can be a game-changer. Offering a blend of efficiency, control, and accuracy, FISCAL Forward is poised to support credit unions in their mission to serve their members better, ensuring a bright future for community-based financial institutions.

If you're intrigued by the possibilities of elevating your financial spreading process with FISCAL Forward, we invite you to reach out and schedule a demo. Let's explore together how we can transform your financial analysis and support your credit union's goals. We invite you to schedule a demo with us today.