While even the thought of implementing new technology can make many credit union people break into a cold sweat, it’s not just all in a day’s work for Michele Smith, it’s the favorite part of her job.
Smith, vice president/chief information officer at $172 million asset Discovery Federal Credit Union in Wyomissing, Pa., thrives on the challenge of ensuring technology enables the credit union to deliver the best member experience.
“I really enjoy seeing a new system or process save time, improve efficiency, and exceed expectations for our members or employees,” she says.
She’s inspired to come to work to tackle daily challenges, solve problems, and champion innovation.
And she never settles for the status quo.
“Technology changes so rapidly, and there are so many new ways to serve the membership,” Smith explains.
She has been instrumental in leading the credit union through a major core conversion, two online banking conversions, multiple product and service enhancements, and three mergers.
Her technical expertise enabled Discovery Federal to nimbly meet the challenges of the pandemic. Smith not only helped equip the credit union’s 21 employees with the technology they needed to work from home, she also trained them to ensure they could continue serving members effectively.
Other initiatives include video banking and an online appointment scheduling system to enable social distancing, as well as virtual meetings for the credit union’s board and staff. Discovery Federal continues to use remote access technology during its office renovation project and a closed lobby. It will use tablets to process transactions curbside.
“We’ve had to be flexible and always keep the member in focus,” Smith says. “We need to serve our members in the way they want to be served.”
Fittingly, Smith led these initiatives remotely from her home office in North Carolina. She joined Discovery Federal in 2000 and has been telecommuting since 2007.
“Remote work wasn’t something you heard much about in credit unions at that time, but working in IT and other back-office roles fits nicely into the remote work model,” Smith says.
She was confident from her personal experience that remote work could work well for the rest of the team.
Smith’s heroes are her credit union team members. “I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing people who are service-minded, caring, empathetic, and strive to go beyond expectations,” she says. “These are all critical qualities in supporting the credit union’s mission.”