Credit Unions Embrace Tablet Technology to Improve Member Service

The story of how a Father’s Day gift helped to transform member services at Unitus Community Credit Union in Portland, Ore., is now well- known. Former Business Development Manager Brett Wooden took his new iPad to a busy member’s office instead of having her come to a branch to service her accounts.

It seems that started a revolution—sorry, reLOVEution—nationally in the credit union movement.

Unitus quickly saw the benefit of Wooden’s outreach and started using iPads in and out of branches to assist members conducting transactions. These days, tablets are also used in business development meetings that engage members and help development officers determine what resources the members need.

Unitus also finds internal benefit, using tablets in director and executive meetings.

“No more printing volumes of paper since we can assess board reports and other documents via our iPads,” noted Laurie Kresl, Unitus’ vice president of planning and business development. Tyndall Federal Credit Union in Panama City, Fla., is also using tablet technology to make director and management meetings more efficient.

Those credit unions’ innovation is featured in a White Paper recently released by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Technology Council. The study finds use of tablet technology to be both collaborative and efficient.

Another best practice shared in the CUNA study showcased USC Credit Union on the campus of University of Southern California. In August, when students were busy registering for classes and moving into their dorms, the credit union used tablets to enroll new members in the same location where they were meeting with financial advisors.

Security concerns are addressed in the study as well, with recommendations that credit unions develop sound employee procedures as well as adopt mobile device management (MDM) policies controlling security. Names of companies providing MDM solutions are provided in the report.

Use of tablet technology falls in line with part of the nine-point action plan recommended by Dr. Neil Goldman after he surveyed nearly 900 Northwest consumers for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). The object of the research was to determine what credit unions should do to become primary financial institutions more members will enthusiastically recommend. Addressing both virtual and physical convenience, and having technology that allows members to better control their finances, are key recommendations.

As rapidly as the technology is taking hold, some credit unions may not be pausing long enough to conduct return on investment studies but are instead weighing the cost of not keeping up with member expectations, the CUNA survey reports.

Credit unions not using tablets and other technology to enhance the member experience may run a risk of being left behind; their members are tech savvy. The NWCUA survey found that 69 percent of respondents own and use Smartphones. A survey by the Online Publishers Association found 3 percent of the U.S. internet population—74.1 million people—owned a tablet, and that number is expected to swell to 117 million by 2013.

CUNA Council members are eligible to receive complimentary copies of more than 300 white paper studies, and non-members can purchase them online.


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Posted in Advocacy News, CUNA, NCUA.