20 to Watch: Technology

Read about one credit union’s efforts to wire a city, a bank’s ability to put deposit services in the home and how a credit union is changing the way its community communicates online.


Wireless in Kingsport
In May, Eastman Credit Union ($1.8 billion) in partnership with the Greater Kingsport Alliance for Development (GKAD), Appalachian Electric Power and other interested businesses and community organizations, launched a free “wifi cloud” over downtown Kingsport, TN. While other credit unions and CUSOs, have investigated this opportunity, Eastman is the first to launch such a project. Their purpose is to demonstrate the credit union’s willingness to assist with community development especially in lower income areas of Kingsport where broadband access is limited. Local partnerships are critical to success. The community’s support has been overwhelmingly positive from the police department, to the school system and to private businesses. The network is in the very early stages of monitoring usage and impact. The credit union manages the home page which users first see when logging on. As data is developed, it will be interesting to watch the impact this new media channel has on credit union usage and community awareness.
The homepage for the wireless effort is: www.kingsportwireless.org

A New Definition of “Home Banking”
USAA has redefined member convenience by launching a truly “personal branch” with Deposit@Home. How does it work? 1) Enter details about the check, 2) scan the front of the check, 3) scan the back of the check, 4) confirm the transaction, 5) destroy the check. Done. This is one of the first efforts to put this capability in the hands of the average consumer, not just the business community.
Read more from the credit union community about this offering at www.nextcu.com

Changing the Way We Communicate
Global communities built upon Internet-technology are undeniably a remarkable feat in human history. However, the Internet has been only mildly successful at enabling local communities to engage with themselves. Vancity Credit Union (Vancouver, Canada) is looking to change all that with ChangeEverything.com. The credit union is attempting to leverage its position within the local community to more clearly differentiate the credit union’s identity in the broader financial marketplace. The concept is relatively simple and based on Web 2.0 community principles: provide a platform for both current and potential members in the community to communicate about the needs and opportunities that matter specifically to them.




June 26, 2007



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