Differentiating Your Credit Union With Technology

Originally published in Credit Union Times on April 3, 2015

One of the biggest challenges facing credit union executives, managers and employees is how to continue improving member service without adding significant operational expenses. Theoretically, the multiple systems that make up the IT infrastructure at credit unions are tools for boosting productivity to free up employee time that can then be spent on members. But multiple studies and in-depth interviews with credit union leaders paint a different picture.

In fact, the very systems that should be helping employees are instead often hurting productivity.

For example, a recent survey uncovered that 75% of credit unions are running a document imaging system that is five or more years old. These legacy systems are no longer being upgraded by their suppliers and are widely regarded by their administrators as difficult to maintain and, most importantly, nearly impossible to integrate with newer systems that are the key to the future success of credit unions. These include loan origination systems, eSignature tools and updated core processors. Not surprisingly, these very same systems are the key to future loan growth, member acquisition and retention, and operating efficiency.

Despite the daily difficulties in managing and using these systems, they are often perceived as functional, even though these systems are so obsolete that they require inefficient workarounds that sap employee time and productivity and, ultimately, result in subpar member service levels.

Cabrillo Credit Union, a $213 million credit union based in San Diego, is a perfect example of a credit union that recognized and addressed the problems being caused by their obsolete document imaging system head-on. Frankie Duenas, chief technology officer, and Toby Hayes, vice president of marketing, share the credit union’s story below:

From an IT perspective, the outdated technology prevented any further integration with other systems such as our newly-adopted, modern core (Corelation’s Keystone), our new membership and loan origination systems, and our eSignature platform, DocuSign. Maintaining multiple systems, all on different platforms and with no automated workflows, was a significant burden on IT staff.

From an organizational perspective, we knew we needed to free more resources to enable the delivery of critical member services, plus improving channels through which members access the credit union. Updating our legacy technology was a key strategic initiative to eliminate inefficiencies and yield improved member service and product offerings.

Early in 2014, we implemented FASTdocs from Bluepoint Solutions for enterprise content management (ECM). Within the first six months of use, we’ve realized the following operational and service improvements: a 35% reduction in overall paper usage, a 50% reduction in daily work for e-signed documents, 20% of employee time diverted to member-facing services and a 100% decrease in related courier services.

We’re now also able to support additional projects with significant impact on member service. Currently, we’re rolling out eBranch, our new online banking platform. This new service offers members expanded access from anywhere, while reducing the burden on our IT and member service staff through integration with other key systems.

Cabrillo’s story is not unique, and it serves as an example for other credit unions who are looking to improve member service, automate and streamline internal processes, and alleviate stress on IT resources. Credit unions need to look for problems they may not know they have to find new ways to add value to their member relationships. By identifying and understanding the common pain points associated with obsolete IT systems, they can apply solutions that allow them to stay focused on their members, rather than on nursing legacy technology.

Click here to read this article on Credit Union Times.