Sep 20 2018

Mobile Video Banking Might Be Ready to Take Off

Pioneer Federal Credit Union is among a small vanguard of early adopters. Here’s what happened.

With 50,000 members and 14 branches in Idaho, Pioneer Federal Credit Union might seem an unlikely candidate to be leading the digital vanguard in financial services. But the Boise-based credit union is doing just that with a mobile video banking solution that it deployed this year.

“It’s extremely important at Pioneer that we’re building relationships with our members and that we’re with them through every phase of their lives,” explains Tracey Miller, Pioneer’s vice president of operations. Delivering a video banking option, available 12 hours a day, six days a week, accessed through customers’ mobile devices, is part of meeting that mission, Miller says.

Using technology from POPio Mobile Video Cloud, Pioneer’s members can access any service through the video application that they would ordinarily get at a branch, with the exception of cash transactions. That includes finding account information and making account changes, applying for loans and home equity lines of credit, requesting cash transfers and more. Bank representatives can inspect drivers licenses for identity verification, and members can even sign documents right on their phone.

Via the video app, Miller says, “we can do anything except hand you things.”

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Video Banking Poised for Rapid Growth

Pioneer Federal is an early adopter of mobile video banking, but it’s not alone. Banks and credit unions have been eyeing the technology for a couple of years as a way to make banking more convenient to customers.

Some are deploying in-branch video — essentially, ATM machines with screens and a live teller who can answer basic account questions. Such machines are popular but limited: Customers must still travel to the machine’s location, and they’re intended for short transactions of just a few minutes, not the kind of complex services and consultation that can delivered via an app in a customer’s living room.

But whether in-branch or mobile, the video service has proved popular for institutions that offer it: Some 85 percent of consumers who have tried video banking say they’d try it again, according to a survey of more than 4,400 consumers in North America and Europe by Vidyo, a provider of video banking solutions.

The technology seems poised to grow rapidly among financial institutions over the next several years. Fewer than 20 percent currently have a fully operational video banking service, and only 15 percent of consumers say they have used video banking. Yet some 82 percent of institutions say they plan to offer the service if they don’t already.

Video Banking Offers Benefits to Diverse Customers

For Pioneer, which is now handling more than 500 video calls a month since quietly unveiling the service in February, customer satisfaction rates with the service have been outstanding — and the use cases have been heartening, Miller says.

There’s the disabled former rodeo performer who can now bank on his own terms without needing to be driven to a branch. There are the young parents who now have one less place they need to drive with the kids. And there are the elderly members for whom mobility is difficult and who find that video banking feels both more personal and safer.

“Some of the members really want to see and know who they’re talking to,” Miller explains. “It gives them peace of mind that they’re not being defrauded.” For members who are hard of hearing, the application includes an option to text the representative during the video call.

On the other side of the call is one of 10 specially trained employees who work in Pioneer’s video contact center, which the credit union opened in 2014 when it began deploying video ATM machines. Those machines are still in operation, but the mobile application allows Pioneer to offer more robust services via video.

Miller said she’s been fielding questions from credit union peers about how Pioneer is using the technology. She tells them that the sky is the limit.

“The capabilities of the video platform are limited only by who is doing the strategic planning for the platform,” she said. “When you bring this platform on board, the only limitations are your own. If you meet your compliance and meet your internal procedures, there’s really nothing you can’t do with it.”

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