Aug 14 2017

Credit Unions Tap Video Tech to Connect with Customers

Video tellers increase efficiency for credit unions and convenience for customers.

Banks and credit unions have used video tellers for several years now, but the trend among credit unions seems to be accelerating.

Credit unions are turning to cloud-based video and other collaboration technology because it helps them meet customers’ demands for convenience, increases efficiency and boosts safety of staff members.

Credit unions cite a variety of reasons for deploying the technology and variants of the new IT. But adoption is on the rise across the country. According to a recent survey by Vidyo, CUNA Strategic Services and Efma, 19 percent of survey respondents have deployed at least one form of video banking, 42 percent are piloting a video service and 83 percent are planning to offer video banking in the future.

Baxter Credit Union Embraces Video

Baxter Credit Union (BCU), based in Vernon Hills, Ill., manages more than $2.8 billion in assets and has more than 200,000 members. In late June, it announced plans to deploy a video banking service using Vidyo’s cloud-based video collaboration technology, with the goal of launching several video-only branches this year.

“BCU members use video to remotely connect face-to-face with credit union representatives and knowledge experts, from their homes, mobile devices or in-branch, for improved self-service and a better overall experience,” the credit union notes in a statement.

“Digital disruption is happening so quickly,” BCU CIO Jeff Johnson tells BankNXT. “Our members are just demanding so many different things. We need to have an agile, flexible, extendable infrastructure. So, we’re going cloud first.” BCU is about halfway through a migration of its infrastructure to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, he says.

BCU plans to partner with Vidyo to launch the self-service, video-only branches in remote locations, since more than 65 percent of the credit union’s members are not located near a branch.

Carey Price, BCU’s chief retail officer, tells BankNXT that the new branches will be smaller than typical credit union branches. Customers will be able to engage via video with BCU agents based in Vernon Hills about things like consumer loans, mortgage loans and service requests in a small, private area.

Vidyo’s solution is both cloud-based and secure, Johnson says, and Price adds that Vidyo’s technology helps BCU execute its mobile-first strategy.

BCU is also working with another partner, Enlighten, to create the home-screen user interface for the interactive experience, Price says.

Price says BCU decided to push forward with the video strategy to help it serve its select employee groups — employees of Cardinal Health, CDW and Boston Scientific. “We are primarily a SEG-focused credit union,” she says. A SEG partner asked BCU to set up branches in remote locations where it did not make a lot financial sense to do so.

“This was an option for us to still promote our brand, to still engage with these members, in a way that we felt we’d still be able to serve the needs of the company, because they wanted financial education and services for their employee group, but then we’d still be able to offer a different point of presence to those members,” she says.

BCU will also put the video technology into small, one-person offices, so that if the BCU employee is away from the office, members will still be able to engage with the credit union.

Credit Unions See Multiple Benefits from Video Tellers

Nationwide, credit unions are turning to video tellers to help improve the customer experience. 

In July, NEFCU, a credit union on Long Island in New York, opened a second branch location with interactive video teller machines and no live tellers, Newsday reports.

The credit union’s new Deer Park branch opened nearly 10 months after its first branch without tellers in Bay Shore, the newspaper notes.

Carmen Effron, president of bank consulting firm C F Effron Co. in Weston, Conn., says video tellers will become more of the norm. “This is much more affordable for a bank, and for customers it won’t be dramatic,” she tells Newsday. “We’re all about fast. We’re all about convenience. It’s inevitable that more banks will do this.”

Consumers Credit Union, based in Kalamazoo, Mich., doesn’t have any live tellers at its Grandville and Plainfield Township branches, though both locations have employees who can handle more complex transactions.

“I think that there is always going to be a need for person-to-person interaction,” Adam Leavesley, a regional manager for Consumers Credit Union, tells Wood TV 8.

Interactive teller machines (ITMs) are expected to cut down on the likelihood of robberies and lead to more accurate transactions since they essentially eliminate money-counting errors.

“You can rest assured the computer hasn’t made a mistake yet,” Leavesly says.

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