For 66 years, Financial Center First Credit Union (Financial Center First) has been serving its members and the community of Central Indiana. Financial Center First sets itself apart from the crowd by providing its members with financial education, tools, and resources.
In a continued effort to provide all members with an exceptional and convenient member experience, Financial Center First identified areas where they could improve overall operations. They identified five objectives:
Make the payments process easier for indirect borrowers
Improve member experience by reducing queue size and call volume
Provide a self-service method for members to make payments from external bank accounts
Reduce inefficiencies in contact center
Increase new online and mobile banking enrollment
Prior to adopting the SWBC Payments solution in 2018, indirect borrowers and members of Financial Center First had to contact the credit union solely by phone to complete payment transactions. Since today’s consumers expect easily accessible payment options through their preferred channels, this did not make for a winning member experience.
Not having a convenient payments system was a particularly critical challenge for Financial Center First because a significant portion of their consumer lending portfolio comes from their high volume of indirect loans. They needed to provide these indirect borrowers with a self-service payments method so they could easily make payments from accounts at other institutions.
Additionally, due to high call volumes from taking payments exclusively by phone, the internal staff at Financial Center First’s contact center was unable to provide the most attentive customer service experience, and their members suffered the inconvenience of longer wait times.
The SWBC solution
In order to meet the evolving expectations of consumers’ payment preferences, streamline the member experience, support their growing indirect portfolio, and facilitate easy online payments on their new eServices platform, Financial Center First was eager to offer their borrowers a web-based payments tool.
In July 2019, Financial Center First launched their new eServices platform, and they decided to partner with SWBC Payments to provide a consistent platform for external payments in another self-service option. Since their new platform was internally developed, integrating SWBC’s payments component into their platform provided a ready-made payment-processing system, which allowed Financial Center First to focus their development resources on other features and tools to help benefit their members.
Today, the Financial Center First eServices platform provides its borrowers with an easy, fast, and secure way to pay their loans online. The payment functionality is integrated into these channels in a way that allows the user to complete transactions seamlessly, without having to leave the branded experience of the channel.
While the eServices platform is hosted by Financial Center First—allowing their team to gather more comprehensive data on a visitor’s journey, including transaction activity—full reports related to the settlement and posting of transactions are available through SWBC Payments. This reporting enables them to quickly and easily access important details like the status or source of a payment, as well as a higher-level rollup of all payment activity over a period of time.
By the end of 2019, 93% of Financial Center First total funded transactions were processed through self-serve channels—a 161% increase. In addition, the credit union saw a 57% increase in the total funded amount of loan payments processed exclusively through their online channel, and a 7% increase in the amount of loans processed through IVR. While the majority (80–87%) processed their payments online from January 2018 to the end of 2019—more people opted to process their payments through IVR vs. a live agent following the introduction of IVR in August 2018.
SWBC Payments also helped Financial Center First significantly reduce processing time and inbound calls to their contact center. “We have shorter wait times and are better able to serve members who are calling for non-transactional requests,” said Marla Tackett, vice president of strategic development at Financial Center First.
According to Tackett, one of the greatest benefits Financial Center First has experienced since the implementation of SWBC Payments is the superior service to its members.
SWBC Payments has helped Financial Center First significantly reduce processing time and inbound calls to their contact center, resulting in reduced call volume and length of queues. This has freed up the internal staff at the contact center to be more attentive and provide better service to their members.
Since partnering with SWBC to launch their eServices platform, the credit union has continued to see a rise in payment volume each month, as more borrowers engage with a system that rises to their level of expectation of ease and convenience when it comes to making payments.
If you’re interested in learning more about how SWBC’s enterprise payment platform can help you better serve your members and create efficiency for your staff, request a demo today.
Jeff Schneider is Financial Institutions Account Vice President at SWBC.