Increasing Member Safety and Teller Productivity Through Remote Teller Systems
Many credit unions are turning to remote delivery options as a way to provide greater access and convenience to their members. When compared to full-service ATMs and kiosks, remote teller system implementation has many credit unions divided. While remote teller systems are not the right option for all credit unions, there are credit unions that have found success with the technology and support the benefits it brings to the credit union and its membership.
Dow Louisiana Federal Credit Union ($135M in Plaquemine, LA) is one example of a credit union that chose to adopt a remote teller system (RTS) as their remote delivery options. For Dow Louisiana, there were key aspects to an RTS that made it the right option for the credit union.
Remote Teller Systems Provide Increased Member Security
As Dow Louisiana began to expand their membership base, their branching strategy had to follow suit. They were looking for a way to handle large volumes of transactions as they worked through the process of increasing their staff levels. While any of the remote delivery channels can help in this regard, the one area where an RTS stood out for Dow Louisiana was in security. They knew that based on the location of some of their branches, robberies might be a concern. By adopting an RTS they were able to discourage robberies, and tellers would not be put in danger. Dow Louisiana was even featured on the local news as local law enforcement officers who were interviewed endorsed their strategy.
Since implementing this technology, Dow Louisiana has yet to be robbed, despite other financial institutions in the immediate area having security issues. On top of the police endorsement, other facets of the community seemed to respond positively to this increased security as well. Recently, one of the largest women's groups in Baton Rouge voted Dow Louisiana as "The Safest Place to Process Financial Transactions."
New System Allows for Streamlined Member Interactions
One of the most common concerns when adopting an RTS is member reaction to interacting with a teller remotely. Yet Dow Louisiana received positive feedback beyond the security benefits. Contrary to expectations, Dow Louisiana saw adoption and acceptance levels with this new technology were relatively constant across age groups. Increased media coverage of this emerging technology, coupled with employees spending time with the members to help them get used to the technology and its features, allowed Dow Louisiana to implement the systems without seeing members reduce their business or move accounts due to the installation.
Dow Louisiana has been pleased with their adoption of the remote teller system as they feel it allows them to better serve their member base. The technology allows them to keep all teller stations open, avoiding the perception of "closed" windows. The data they have collected shows that they have some of their highest transaction counts in the areas where an RTS system is in place, yet they are able to manage the transaction volume with less staff than they have in a traditional branch. On top of increased access to tellers, members' privacy concerns were also addressed, as they were able to hold private conversations through the hand-held receiver. The increases in teller management, security, and privacy helped return the benefits of the system to the credit union, as well as its members.
Since the initial adoption of the technology, Dow Louisiana has continued to make further strides. Despite understanding that an RTS system was a more expensive option, an internal analysis showed Dow Louisiana breakeven point between 2 and 3 years after implementation. As the system has allowed for more efficient teller management, as well as been a factor in the credit union's double-digit member growth, the higher cost is offset with the benefits it provides. As their branching initiative continues, they hope to open all future branches with an RTS system, as well as add the system to their main facility.