State Employees Credit Union of Lansing Michigan's Bank-to-Bank E-Transfers allow members to electronically move funds between SECU and other financial institutions 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a mere keystroke, and it's a very popular service, said David Carson, now a SECU consultant and its former E-Commerce development specialist.
Carson has moved to Tennessee but still oversees the program he helped initiate with a team put together from Electronic Services, ACH, E-Commerce, Information Systems and Marketing. ''Initially there was a group of four, but as the project grew, we incorporated more departments, such as Marketing to promote it, Branch Services to offer to staffers and so on.'' Internal support now falls on ACH because that is how the electronic funds are processed, he said.
SECU began offering Bank to Bank (B2B) transfers, or Account to Account (A2A) transfers in January 2003, only nine months after it looked into providing the service to members, a relatively short time for a new and somewhat complex service, he allowed. ''At first we looked at the option of doing this in-house, but through the research, we discovered that there were third-party vendors who perform this service.''
Time and cost were kept to a minimum by finding the right local vendor, and the company, Magic Wrighter in Grand Rapids, was already supplying SECU's ACH software. ''A key component was that the B2B transfers would integrate with this software already,'' said Carson.
Looking for ways to add value to its membership services while encouraging Web usage, SECU wanted a way to allow members to deposit funds to SECU electronically. ''Yet we realized members were going to want to be able to transfer funds away from SECU as well,'' Carson said.
B2B transfers are done through SECU's Internet Banking program called Personal Branch, so transactions are secure, and logins are easy. Visit SECU's B2B page at: http://www.secu.org/internetbanking/banktobanketransfers.htm
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and online help ease users through it and Carson reported that they love the convenience. They surely must like that the service is free and funds typically take one or two business days to be accessible. SECU does not hold funds, said Carson. There is a limit of $500, but increases are easily approved on request.
SECU encountered no implementation problems or technical hurdles, said Carson. ''We had to set up procedures for the processes, but the regulations are all covered under current ACH Regs. Because ACH is already an electronic transfer of funds, accessing this through the Web falls under the same guidelines.''
CUs now thinking of offering B2B transfers have many more vendors from which to choose, he said, and there is a track record at some CUs, that like SECU and Wescom CU, Pasadena, were early adopters.
The service has been very successful, said Carson. From the initial launch in January through March 11, SECU has had:
300 Accounts Approved
220 Transfers Completed
Average Dollar Amount: $225
Average 7 Transfers Daily
B2B transfer services are featured on the SECU homepage (www.secu.org) in e-mail marketing and in the CU newsletter. ''The usage and adoption rate continues to increase every month. SECU feels that it is a very valuable service,'' Carson said. ''How can you price the value of members going to your site and using your services? Making that a popular option is my goal.''
In our March A2A Internet Strategies webinar we explored the latest information available on this important emerging trend, and heard from three CUs who have launched this cutting edge technology to their online membership. Join us this month as we explore how leading credit unions have implemented this new e-service! Click here for more information on our Thursday, July 10th webinar.