Looking for ways to make operations more efficient at your credit
union? Then let your members take over.
According to John Best, Director of Technology for Wescom Resources
Group, he says to allow your members to take over, you have to teach
them how to use your Web-enabled services like account maintenance,
fund transfers, check verifications, bill payments, etc.
''It goes back to the old saying, 'Give a man a fish and you've
fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and they won't call your
call center,''' explains Best. ''Do this with your members
and you empower them, which frees up time for your staff that can
be reallocated elsewhere.''
Best adds, as a result of teaching members to use the financial
services on your credit union's Web site, you cut down on calls
to your call center, your day-to-day operations run smoother, and
your members receive better service because staff has more time
for them. In the long run, your credit union saves money.
Best has developed five ways your credit union can enhance its
efficiency through home banking: account maintenance, imaging, ACH,
separate processes via home banking, and infrastructure stability.
1. Account maintenance performed online saves time. Members
can perform address changes, phone number updates, add or change
e-mail addresses, transfer funds between savings and checking, etc.
''Who knows first when they've moved?'' Best asks. ''Your
members do. Wouldn't you rather have them update their new information
online than send them two or three address change requests in the
mail? This saves time and money.''
2. Extend your check imaging capabilities to your members.
In other words, provide your members with the capability to view
their checks online should they ever have a question with their
''It's much easier and quicker for a member to view a canceled
check online than it is for a member to call or come into a branch
and request to see one,'' he explains. ''Members can login
to their online home banking service and simply see the check in
question. It's quick, it's easy, and there's no hassle.''
3. Automated Clearing House (ACH) through home banking allows
members to transfer funds online between financial institutions.
In the past, many institutions devoted large departments to ACH
transfers. But today's technology allows members to do it themselves
at the click of a button online.
''This used to be a very tedious process for financial institutions,''
Best says. ''With the advances in the technology, it's time
to get the members involved instead of having them call in every
time. This is a real time saver.''
4. Separate the financial processes through home banking.
In other words, place as many of your available products and processes
For example, eStatements is a recent service that's migrated online.
It's a huge cost-saver and time saver. Members can receive their
statements online on the first day of the month rather than a week
or more through the mail. eStatements also saves credit unions postage
per member each month. If you have 15,000 members opting in for
eStatements instead of the mail, that's a saving of $5,550 per month
at $.37 per statement . This cost doesn't include the envelopes,
stock and labor involved to mail the paper statements.
''Any product can be exposed to the Web for your members,''
Best states. ''You just have to have the infrastructure in place
to make sure you can integrate them.''
5. Invest in your infrastructure because this will build
stability within your credit union and enable you to apply more
products and services toward home banking in the future. In addition,
anything you devote to the Internet for your members should be available
to your staff via the credit union's Intranet. This allows staff
to better serve the members.
For example, Best recalls story about a member coming into a credit
union that had just implemented check imaging capabilities. The
member wanted to verify a signature. The teller accessed the check
image through the credit union's Intranet and was able to verify
the signature on the spot by comparing the canceled checks with
''This process saved everybody a lot of time,'' Best adds.
''And it was a great idea from which everybody benefited.''
According to Best, home banking creates a beneficial cycle for
both members and staff. Home banking in general allows members to
receive a better return on their money because they're getting better
service from the credit union staff. Staff benefits because they
perform tasks more efficiently, which frees-up more time for them
to provide better member service.
''The more online access you can provide your members in regards
to products and services,'' Best says, ''the more they'll
eat them up. All you have to do is teach them. Home banking services
make life more efficient for everybody, which is most beneficial.''
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