After reading a story about Nationwide Money Services, Inc., in CU Tech Talk,
a credit union newsletter, Jeff Thompson, Web product marketing manager for
Bronco FCU, Franklin, Va., called them about placing an ATM in the lobby of
one of their select employee group hospitals. It was the beginning of a beautiful
Bob Colabrese EVP of Nationwide Money Services (www.nationwidemoney.com)
which is the exclusive provider for ATM and ATM related products in Food Lion
supermarkets suggested that Bronco co-brand three of them as well, Nationwide
has placed ATMs in 700 of the1,400 Food Lion stores and owns or operates 2500+
ATMs in 38 states. “It’s a proven marketing advantage for credit
unions because all shoppers are exposed to their branding and it gives the look
and feel of a much larger institution. Beyond that, customers have greater access
to their money. Convenience is a huge draw, and we can deploy in under 30-days.”
Bronco now has 9 ATMs in Food Lions (soon 10) a chain big in the Southeast.
But the number of Food Lion ATMs may rise conspicuously if the chain buys up
any of the nearly 400 Winn Dixie supermarkets earmarked for sale owing to that
company’s bankruptcy. Another large chain, Publix, will soon discontinue
surcharge free transactions unless the financial institution is a member of
NMS will only work with a branded partner because “that’s the best
model for everyone,” said Colabrese. Thompson likes that the ATMs give
Bronco a greater presence in large member population areas and introduces the
CU to new ones, particularly in low-income areas where it is expanding. The
CU provides cash settlement (using Brinks at $150 per month) and first line
maintenance, while NMS owns and drives the ATM and provides second-line maintenance.
“We monitor each ATM over the Web in real time using software NMS provided,”
said Thompson. The cost of deploying ATMs this way versus standard ownership
and depreciation over 3-years was a clear advantage he added.
Other CUs have similar partnership arrangements that have proved to be beneficial,
like the “no brainer” decision Tom Reimholtz described about Abbott
Laboratories Employees Credit Union’s deal with Thillens Inc., (www.Thillens.com.)
“We don’t want to be in the deployment business,” said Reimholtz,
citing Thillems nationwide deployment capability and price-fixe $700 fee per
ATM. “We couldn’t do it for less than that so partnering was the
sensible thing to do.” Seven of ALEC’s 20 ATMs are partnered and
Reimholz wished he’d worked with Thillems sooner. For that flat fee, Thillems
does it all: keeps it stocked, maintains it, insures it, surcharges non-members
at a suggested CU rate and shares 66% of that revenue.
“The branding is also key,” stressed Reimholtz, who was pleased
that only ALEC’s logo is on the machine. New security required by VISA
and others, known as Triple-DES (software upgrades) also portends added costs
that ALEC needn’t worry about.
The now ubiquitous ATM started as an adjunct to branches, but is now a required,
24/7 accessibility service and there seems no location unfit to install one.
The most obvious site, especially for American Airlines FCU, is inside airport
terminals. Fifty-eight of their 117 ATMs in 19 terminals have 24/7 access and
now support the CU’s TIP/Air Transportation charter.
AAFCU’s Chief Operations Officer Carol Brown noted that hefty concession
fees and increased security requirements at airports made partnerships, especially
those with other CUs beneficial. The CU partners with Western FCU in Los Angeles;
Delta Employees CU at Dallas/Fort Worth; Mountain America FCU in Salt Lake City
and LaSalle Bank, Seaway National and Alliant (formerly United Airlines) CU
in Chicago’s O’Hare.
“These partnerships help us get through the local political hurdles,”
said Brown. AAFCU uses eFunds for processing, Diebold for maintenance and Loomis
for cash replenishment, said Brown, adding that all location choices have to
make financial sense. “We put them where we have a good membership population.”