news.cuna.org/articles/116118-how-apis-improve-member-relations
How APIs improve member relations
LSC's Kunal Keshav (far left) works with his team on application programming interfaces.

How APIs improve member relations

This technology streamlines the access of data for users.

June 5, 2019

The strength of credit unions resides in their phenomenal ability to develop positive and productive member relationships. Yet, even the best players need to constantly search out ways to advance.

Technology is a key element to the enhancement of the member experience. When properly employed, it increases convenience through added efficiency and service flexibility, benefiting both credit unions and their members.

Enter the application programming interface (API).

What’s an API?

API is simply a software-to-software interface that enables applications to talk to each other without any user knowledge or intervention. Using API integration, a user will only see one interface.

Behind the scenes, however, many applications are working together. This type of integration is seamless because the user never notices when software functions are handed from one application to another.

In short, APIs streamline the access of data for users.

How does API benefit credit unions?

Imagine the business of the holiday season. Credit unions that offer gift cards will see growing madness as teller lines flood with members wanting to purchase these cards for friends and family.

It’s times like these that the advantage of increased teller line efficiency is the most recognizable. Integration with an API empowers a credit union’s employees to increase the speed of their service by conducting a complete transaction from one touchpoint.

A credit union service employee gains the functionality to manage inventory, check card balances, and complete real-time fund loading and reloading.

A sample of how this works can be seen on LSC’s prepaid access website that all participating credit unions use to manage their prepaid programs. Our larger-volume customers expressed interest in conducting the sale and loading of funds directly from their core system without having to access this website.

Technology lays the foundation for future innovations.

In response, LSC developed an API to provide direct integration between the existing credit union core and the LSC prepaid system. This allows credit unions to remain in their own system when interacting with members, which decreases service time.

When credit unions extend this integration to home banking, they increase the flexibility of fund management. Credit union members, for example, can perform tasks associated with prepaid cards like reloading and checking balances in real time, or ordering cards from the comfort of their home outside of business hours.

This adds significantly to member convenience.

The value of APIs goes beyond the basics of teller efficiency and access to home banking. By implementing this technology, credit unions can lay the foundation for future innovations that will continue to enrich the banking experience and advance good member relations.

LSC is working with partners who are developing modifications to core systems to incorporate the LSC prepaid API.

It will be available to credit unions enrolled in the LSC prepaid programs as each partner incorporates this functionality into their core system.

KUNAL KESHAV is assistant vice president/chief technology officer for LSC.