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A Simple Gift

Sometimes the world gives you a gift, no rhyme or reason. It just does. The recent decision by BBVA USA to close the virtual doors of

Simple is one of those gifts. Simple, known initially as BankSimple, was a neo bank founded in 2009 and then acquired by BBVA USA in 2014. Simple provided checking accounts accessible from a Visa debit card, and the funds were managed via or mobile app. Simple had no branches and only one mission, to make the making experience well, simple. And they did. The online interface was beautiful. Easy to deposit checks, create goals, search your transaction history by hashtags as well as location and it offered a "round up" feature that helped increase savings for its customers.

While it is hard to get an accurate read on the total numbers of customers ( the figures range from 30,000 to 100,000), they had some traction.

Why is the closure of Simple a gift?

1. Acquisition Opportunity

Of course, this is the obvious gift. There are a substantial number of Simple customers who are now part of a HUGE traditional bank (BBVA), and they may be just ripe for a credit union about right now.

2. Bringing a little bit of simple to your member's world

Reviewing the clean and simple language that Simple gave to banking has permeated most banking parlance from the big to the small. But credit unions could also leverage the clarity and nearly obsessive focus on user experience and enfold it into their efforts. Specifically, reduce member friction.

Here are four actions a financial institution can take to accomplish this.

Action 1: Get data (survey)Gather perceived data on the member experience's current state. Seek this input from leaders as well as those close to the member. A great starting point is to identify external end-user friction (member/ customer) and then identify internal friction (the friction business units have interacting with each other.) This provides a perceived friction landscape to start with.

Action 2: Map the MUX

This can be accomplished with software or a simple process map. The key points are to identify critical phases in the member journey and identify the friction points.

Add any data as is available to each phase that either supports or refutes the perceptions.

Member/Customer Friction examples

Members may encounter friction along the journey. In this auto purchase example, common frictions are 1) low awareness of credit union financing in channels they use. 2 ) few or non-existing evaluation tools provided by credit unions, 3) challenging to engage online for the loan, must come to a physical office. 4) little or no engagement with the member post-purchase. 5) few channels are provided for advocacy. 6) repurchase efforts suffer from the application process.

Action 3. Analyze your findings.

A list of frictions will appear, and they need to be prioritized. The best lens to prioritize is what will have the most significant impact on the member with minimal effort. The "friction list" can be divided into short and long term projects.

Action 4: Friction Roadmap

Build out the road map looking at it from the timeline with work streams that include people, products, and processes.

Understanding your member's friction should be a strategic goal, if it is not, make it one now. To learn how THRIVE leverages friction to improve members' lives, please click here.


Is there a book out there that can help my enterprise reduce member friction?


Written for credit unions by a credit union expert, Big Data/Big Climb: A credit Union playbook for leveraging data and talent to achieve revolutionary member relationship has been hailed as a "must-have". The book cuts through techno-jargon and translates data transformation concepts into a playbook filled with real-world examples, assessment guides, and other tools needed to reduce member friction, analyze actual competition, and identify disruption to improve the lives of its members and gain competitive advantage.


What if I want something more interactive than the book?

For the same time that it takes to enjoy your lunch, you could be learning about building innovation capabilities, human-centered design, and agile execution. Click here to learn how to access the recorded session on this topic.


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