One of the many “buzz” technologies in credit unions these days continues to be the promotion and use of online enrollment tools that make it easy for someone in cyberspace to become a member of your organization with a few simple clicks. In fact, most recent technology surveys indicate this is high on the list for most organizations that have not already invested in online enrollment tools.
But let's get back to reality, shall we? When you make this investment, what portion of your membership growth do you really think will occur online? My guess is that if you get more than 20% of your new members each month you are doing pretty well – and even very technologically-savvy credit unions that really push online enrollment rarely do more than 30% of their new memberships through this channel.
Sure, online enrollment is an important technology designed to capture the market that won't walk through your door. But what have you done to invest in the 80% of your enrollment activities that happen the old-fashioned way – face-to-face? If you haven't asked yourself this question in a while, here are a few simple questions to help you assess whether you might be a candidate for some improvement in this traditional area:
- Does it take more than 10 minutes to become a member?
To sit down and capture name and address info, determine which accounts to open, run all the background data checks (credit, debit fraud, OFAC, etc.), and then set up the membership and accounts on the host should take less than 10 minutes. What is your time?
- Do you enter any piece of data multiple times?
Many credit unions capture the applicant information and then enter that same information into multiple systems to get all the data they need to process the application. Not only does this take a lot of time, it is prone to human error as the same data is re-typed over and over. It doesn't have to be this way.
- Can anyone on the staff help take an application? Anywhere?
What tools does someone need to take an application? Do they have to be at their desk or can they use any terminal that is part of your network? Going further – many credit unions conduct membership drives in communities, at schools, at employers, etc. Can these staffers enroll memberships easily at these locations as well?
- Are you creating paper or electronic files?
In most enrollment processes there are several pieces of information: the application itself, the credit check, the debit fraud check, identity information – and possibly more. Are all of these items paper-generated? Or are you “going green” and capturing everything electronically at the point of the application, incorporating an efficient cost-effective process?
- Are approval decisions made consistently across the board?
By now, you have obviously developed a standard operating procedure that ensures certain pieces of data are captured, certain scores are checked, and certain background checks are made. Do you have absolute proof that your procedure is being followed – or is it open to the interpretation of the individual? A systematic approach can help you ensure the process is being followed properly.
- Do you have an audit trail of who did what in the process?
Sometimes an application cannot be approved on the spot. When that occurs and there is a deviation from the “norm,” do your tools help capture what occurred? How about who overrode the automatic process?
- Can you get reports on how the process is running?
Member enrollment is like any other process. Do you have the data that can tell you how many applications were started/completed/in-process during this time period? Or how about how long they all took – or who processed the most? This kind of information is essential to keeping tabs on what is going on in the credit union.
I recently hosted a visit by some credit union executives at one of our client sites to review how some of the software tools we build are being used in real life. During the overview, the client sat down to process our new membership application based on a paper form that had been mailed into the credit union. When she completed the process, the visitors were ecstatic that it had taken just under 10 minutes to enter the information, do all the background checks, and create the membership and account records on the host processor – all while explaining what she was doing along the way. The visitors then went on to explain that those same steps often take 30 or 40 minutes in their organization today.
That kind of savings is what I'm talking about. With up to 80% of new memberships still being processed through your branch, it's still vital to address this population to ensure their happiness and your credit union's growth is secure with an efficient application process. Streamlining your not-so-online enrollment processes can also save you serious bucks in labor. Not to mention the most important part – your new member probably didn't really want to sit there for 40 minutes waiting on you to get the job done either.
For more information on enhancing the efficiencies of your traditional membership application process within your branches, feel free to give us a call at 317.612.3350 or visit us online at www.fivision.com.
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