ViewPoint – Hitting a Technology Home Run

To keep members you have to be out front on the technology curve. That means offering anything a branch can, but with speed and ease.


ViewPoint – Hitting a Technology Home Run

To keep members you have to be out front on the technology curve. That means offering anything a branch can, but with speed and ease.

What is your most precious commodity?
What do you truly, deep down, value the most? If you really think about it and are honest with yourself, your answer will probably be ‘time.’ Does anyone ever have enough? Well, if that is your answer, what about your members’? As a society, we are moving at breakneck speed, where we feel we have no time, want all of our answers yesterday, and all of our needs and services taken care of right here and right now! If you can’t provide what your members want, when they want it, do you think they are going to stick around very long?
Banks and credit unions are in competition for the same consumers...people who are more educated, more exposed to demands on their time and, more used to conducting every aspect of their business on-line, in order to optimize their lives. If you can’t meet their service expectations, you are no longer an option.

You Have to Play to Win

A mere presence on-line is old hat. So too is the ability for members to view their account balances or pay their bills on-line. So, how do you improve your competitive edge? To be a member’s primary financial institution, you have to be on the cutting edge of financial services; as a whole, you need to have complete representation of and access to all your services, accessible any time, anywhere your members want and desire. In other words, you need to be a virtual butler. Your virtual branch is at their service!

If you are not at the cutting edge of technology, where all the leading credit union and big bank players are, you might be able to retain one inning of your members’ desired services game, but you will not remain nor become their primary financial institution. The benefits go both ways. If your credit union has a true virtual branch, you can offer members any and all services on-line that are offered in your brick and mortar branch. This, in return, offers the potential to retain a member who might have taken a portion of his monetary game to a competitor that was offering a service the member wants and was in a position to purchase. The flip side is that there is also the time and speed element, which, as we all know, equates to the money.

Up Your Game!
To keep yourself in your members’ financial game, you need to offer the same services on-line that you have in your physical place of business…but you must also offer those same services in such a way that it makes it an easy decision for your members to keep playing ball with you.

If you look at the big picture, it can be overwhelming and intimidating, because there are so many nuances to keeping this game running smoothly. There are the laws and regulations, security and privacy issues, and GLB, NACHA, NCUA, FCRA, EFT and more. Fortunately, there are a variety of options for you to make sure everyone is outfitted in proper safety gear. These pieces of armor include such things as:

• Eligibility verification – is the applicant able to be your member?
• ID verification – is the applicant’s personal information valid?
• ID authentication – is the applicant who they say they are?
• Patriot Act Compliance and OFAC check – meet your compliance requirements.
• Risk Management – what is the risk profile of the applicant?
• Account setup in core system – real-time set up in your host system.

Now the benefits start accruing to the credit union. You’ve got your members on-line and active at a time convenient for them and when they are most interested in the credit union’s services. If you can make it possible for them to switch more relationships to you, it becomes a homerun for your team. With a proper technology partner, you can offer your members more services such as:

• Cross sell – Up sell – what are the best products for this member?
• Deposit and loan products – real-time decisioning on all the products you offer.
• Online Funding – real-time funding of accounts.
• Switch Kit – online switch kit to initiate the switching of other financial relationships.

Becoming an MVP
In your evolution from an on-line information portal to a transactional destination, you need to get two things right. One, your information architecture needs to make it easy for your members to find what they need from a full-service financial institution. Second, you need to make it absolutely painless to do business on-line. Re-engineer your on-line service, not to just replicate what you do in your branch, but to give them your special touch of service that will separate you from all those “me, too” players in the banking world.

The world does not need one more “INGDirect” service provider. The way to help your existing members open new accounts has to be simpler than for those who are just visiting you for the first time. You can offer them red-carpet treatment. For extra convenience you can take care of switching all of their previous relationships to your institution. Make it simple, painless and maybe even enjoyable, and your members will not only feel like you’re their MVP, you just might become their PFI!

So, are you in the game or are you on the sidelines, just watching? All you need is the right coach.

uMonitor provides financial technologies to leading credit unions that enable more effective member service. Solutions include online new account setup with complete Patriot Act compliance, loan application processing, online account funding, funds transfer, account aggregation, and customer relationship management. These solutions are integrated with the credit union as both online and in-branch services to improve member services, efficiency, and productivity.




July 28, 2008



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