Idaho Central Credit Union Chief Information Officer Mark Willden.

Idaho Central launches bitcoin services

Partnerships allow members to buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrency.

February 3, 2022

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Idaho Central launches bitcoin services

Idaho Central Credit Union has partnered with NYDIG to offer bitcoin services through the Alkami Technology platform. Members of the $8.3 billion asset credit union in Chubbuck, Idaho, will be able to buy, hold, and sell bitcoin within its mobile app and online banking platform. 

“Idaho Central can now offer a cutting-edge bitcoin solution,” Idaho Central Chief Information Officer Mark Willden says. “This solution is seamless and safely accessible to all. End users will gain access to a crypto dashboard with their bitcoin balance, market value, activity, and educational content. 

“Our online platform provider supports cryptocurrency account type permissions, transaction limits, eligibility checks, and seamless onboarding for new bitcoin holders,” he adds.

Idaho Central will receive a percentage of the transaction fee on each trade. The credit union anticipates the integration will further drive end-user acquisition, retention, and engagement. 

According to a survey conducted by NYDIG, about 22% of Americans own bitcoin, while 80% of bitcoin holders would store it with their bank or credit union if they had the option.

“Although broad adoption likely remains a few years out, a growing number of Idaho Central members are demonstrating interest in cryptocurrencies,” Willden says. “An integrated bitcoin solution will present Idaho Central a unique opportunity to provide a cutting-edge, value-added product to online and mobile banking.” 

Before launching the product, the credit union established partnerships with NYDIG and Alkami. The credit union also ensured the solution met all compliance requirements, obtained a legal review, performed quality assessments on the technical solution, and developed policies and procedures. 

To launch the bitcoin solution, Idaho Central’s only technology requirement was integration with Alkami’s online banking platform. Through the platform, credit union members can manage bitcoin products and solutions alongside traditional accounts via a secure, regulated, modular platform.

“It was important for us to choose the correct vendor, communicate with and educate our members, and to put all the processes in place to manage the program,” Willden says. “We provide educational information to remind members of the risk that comes with holding bitcoin shares.”

As the cryptocurrency space continues to develop, Willden sees Idaho Central’s bitcoin solution as an opportunity to get involved in a new market.

“We will continue to evaluate the program to see what we can do to make it even better for our members,” he says. “Some enhancements may include making bitcoin redeemable for Visa rewards points, using it as collateral on loans, and allowing members to set up recurring purchases.”

Willden’s advice to other credit unions interested in getting involved with cryptocurrency is to have a great partnership with an internet banking provider, as proper vendor management and understanding of compliance requirements are critical to a successful solution.