The machines came from the $985 million Altura Credit Union, headquartered in Riverside, which decided to make their older coin machines available to the smaller CUs as part of the Shapiro Group program run by California and Nevada Credit Union League when the CU decided to upgrade to newer models. The Sharpiro Group program pools the resources of the credit union community to help smaller credit unions operate efficiently and effectively.
One of the recipient CUs, Ketema Federal Credit Union in El Cajon, Calif., is a $2 million, sole-sponsor credit union serving the employees of the Ketema Aerospace Co.. The second, El Futuro is an $8 million CU headquartered in Porterville, Calif., that was founded in 1966 to serve primarily Hispanic farm workers.
But while each credit union stressed their gratitude for getting the machines, they each reported they had not come without their own challenges.
Altura reported that it upgraded the machines because the new ones are more efficient, less prone to jamming, easier for staff to service, more user-friendly and in general have more bells and whistles than the older machines, which were first generation machines.
And those have been some of the problems the smaller CUs have discovered, a problem with jamming, the fact that the machines don't sort coins, only count them, and difficulty working with them.
Lorna Stafford-Bentley, CEO of Ketema, said the arrival of the machine has already boosted foot traffic in the small CU space located on site in the Ketema facility, but she also reported that the CU might charge members a fee of 2% of the total counted for using the machines to cover the cost of having to have an employee sort the coins afterward. Other similar machines in retail locations in the area charge 9%.
Raul Pickett, CEO of El Futuro reported that while El Futoro had been grateful to have the chance to have the machine, the persistent jamming meant that the CU would probably not be able to use it.
"It's a shame it didn't work out because it took us like a six-hour round trip drive over their to pick it up," Pickett said. He added that the machine would have been more of a gimmick anyway and that more of his members had been excited by the CUs expansion of its volunteer income tax assistance program, which helped them qualify for the federal government's economic stimulus program.
But Stafford-Bentley reported their machine was working more or less OK. "Given our resources, this is never something we would have been able to purchase," she said.