PLEASANTON, Calif. -- The member was in a bind. He was running out of time. He needed a hike in his credit card limit and he needed it now.
Using a wireless Internet connection, secured signature and document-delivery solution, 1st United Services Credit Union was able to provide the help needed in this case to pay the bill.
1st United Services uses TotaleAtlasWeb, a server-side digital certificate and secured document delivery tool from Integrated Media Management in Linden, N.J.
"He just logged onto his laptop, digitally signed the documentation we needed for him to sign and we were able to increase his limit," said Randy Cain, loan manager at $670 million 1st United Services.
"He could have been 30 minutes away or anywhere else. It didn't matter. He couldn't come to a branch, and we were able to serve our member when he needed us," he said.
"When Randy told me that story, I just thought it was captivating," said John Levy, IMM's executive vice president. "This is the ultimate mobile membership. Here somebody is on vacation, sitting in a restaurant in Arizona, and they're able to sign documents on a remote connection."
Levy said 1st United Services is one of 30 credit unions using TotaleAtlasWeb, part of the New Jersey-based company's TotaleAtlas suite of document management solutions now in place at more than 650 financial institutions.
1st United Services has been using TotaleAtlas products for in-branch electronic signature, receipt and other document capture since July 2005 and the Web-based version for about a year and a half.
Levy said the Web-based delivery solution is more secure than e-mail; "All credit unions have e-mail security policies but how many are really enforced?" he asked. And the Web delivery has proven to be particularly valuable for credit unions with far-flung memberships.
That includes credit unions like 1st United Services with a lot of traveling military members and others that have road warriors of different variety.
"We have credit unions that serve people with the NFL and have heard how great they thought it was to be able to sign documents and have their spouses handle things at home while they're on the road," Levy said.
Cain at 1st United Services said the 54,400-member CU has been to able to retain members who have moved to, for instance, Kentucky and New York, because they've been able to exchange loan documents without the expense or time of using next-day delivery from Federal Express or the post office.
"It also has saved us a ton of paper," he said. Documents can be printed out for members if they desire, but on the credit union side, they are simply stored electronically.
Cain and Levy both said they see more usage of such technologies going forward.
"We've got baby boomers who've been members for 10, 20, 30 years and when they retire, some have nothing else to but go to the branch in the morning to do one thing and then come back in the afternoon and do something else," Cain said,
"And they read the disclosures!" Levy said.
"Credit unions can continue to serve these members," the IMM executive vice president said, "but they can't put up a branch for $2 million on every corner like Bank of America can if it wants.
"And they also need to compete for the younger members who move away from their infrastructure and to attract and retain that growing group of people who expect to be able take advantage of remote features regardless of how close or far they are from the branch."
Being able to serve both trends--the tenacity of the branch-goers and the expectations of mobile bankers--is key, as IMM and others serving the document-delivery space and their clients are finding, to competing successfully for hearts and wallet share going forward.