Members can deposit checks using their mobile phones, but what about those who want to deposit cash without having to go to the branch?
Linda Bodie and her staff at $33 million asset Element Federal Credit Union in Charleston, W.V., heard what their members were saying and set out to find a solution.
They developed an app—Picture Cash Deposit—that allows members to take pictures of their cash. Members receive immediate credit to their account and have 24 hours to bring the bills into a branch.
It’s all about listening to members, uncovering their pain points, and finding solutions, says Bodie. “Sometimes they stick and sometimes they don’t. We’re not afraid to try. That’s what credit unions need to do. Start being more creative and start thinking about your products and services.”
Often those solutions involve using some type of technology, says Bodie, who addressed the 2018 CUNA CEO Council Conference in Irving, Texas, this week.
Today, people use technology in all aspects of their lives. Embracing technology and using it to improve your products, services, and member experience is key for your credit union’s future.
And using technology is something every credit union can do, regardless of asset size, Bodie says.
“Almost everything anybody does has a technology interface to it,” Bodie says. “You do everything with your device or computer. So you have to have a strong tech component if you want anybody to look at you beyond your brick and mortar. It’s based on what people do and what people use.”
Element Federal’s focus on technology took flight in the mid-2000s, when members were still required to submit physical checks for deposit. With members all over West Virginia sending their checks to the credit union for deposit, Element Federal staff recognized an opportunity to make it easier and faster for members.
The credit union began accepting digital checks that were scanned using a flatbed scanner in 2005. Once the iPhone was released in 2009 and was secure to send check images, Element Federal became the nation’s first financial institution to create a remote deposit capture app.
“We saw the value of trying to make it easier and more secure for members to deposit a check,” Bodie says. “We were just trying to solve problems, pain points, or friction.”
The key to using technology in a way that provides members a fast, easy, and frictionless experience, Bodie says, begins by understanding your members and what they want.
Listen to the comments members make about services they wish the credit union offered, their feedback about processes that aren’t user-friendly, or suggestions on how to make the experience more positive.
“Try to create and offer solutions members are looking for, but also be progressive, stay with the times, and don’t get behind,” she says. “Getting behind will cause problems in the future because you won’t offer the services members want and need, and as a result, you won’t be relevant.”
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