Being a small credit union out in the plains of West Texas doesn't mean you can't offer high-tech services to your members. In fact you better, if you have "Tech" in your name.
Texas Tech Federal Credit Union realized that and knew something had to change if the $70 million, 14,000-member Lubbock institution was going to be the financial institution of choice for the tech-savvy university staff and students it aimed to please.
In August, Texas Tech FCU went live with a new online banking platform that also included mobile banking, bill pay, alerts, notices and e-statements through the WebFederal3 suite from PM Systems Corp. of Chapin, S.C.
The CU also is now providing 24/7 loan decisions and account opening and said it became the first local institution to offer an iPhone banking app and Web-based mobile banking through any cell phone provider.
Debit card services, including real-time capabilities and new instant-issuance services, also have been added from Fiserv Inc. through the credit union's use of its XP2 core processing system, said Ellen Hein, Texas Tech FCU's CEO.
The new solutions also made it possible to eliminate such clunky service requirements as making members contact a credit union rep directly for an address or password change, something that created enough work for a full-time employee doing just that. And it couldn't happen on weekends.
"What we're trying to do is make our services to our members both more convenient and more personalized," Hein said. For instance, students in general would rather bank by Internet than brick-and-mortar, while the older staff might prefer going to the branch. And they both have choices.
"You have to serve both preferences and either way you have to have personalized choices. Our previous platform was good when we put it in 10 years ago but it no longer did what we needed it to do," Hein said. "And they have a lot of choices where to take their business."
The choices from Texas Tech FCU also include two full-service branches-"We're probably the only credit union I know that has its own building right on the campus," Hein said-and several ATMs around the 30,000-student campus and its health sciences center, with more to come.
"We can act quickly now when we have to. For instance, the basketball arena asked for an ATM, and we had one up and running in 30 days," Hein said. And on the virtual side, online banking is hosted across the country at PM Systems' data center but is controlled in-house, for instance, allowing the credit union to create a consistent look and feel across its various services.
The credit union had been running an online banking solution from S1 Corp., the Atlanta company that bought PM Systems last year and now is operating it as a wholly owned subsidiary. Hein said she and her board were aware of the previous system's shortcomings and the complaints it generated and are now considering where to expand its new services.
"There's not a lot of water left in the sponge to squeeze, but there are some things they can do," said Robert Broadwell, PM Systems' general manager. "They can move into instant deposit products, for instance, and P2P and they may want to. A lot of these kinds of products are becoming what I'm now having to call 'get virtual or die' things that you may have to do."
Hein said her credit union will continue considering new services, recognizing that tech-savvy nature of her FOM, but adding, "We don't have to be tech-savvy just for the sake of it. What we're trying to do is stay member focused and listen to what our members want. Mobile banking was definitely one of those things."
The numbers showed that, she said. Of the 14,000 members, 3,200 are home banking users and 1,150 already have signed up for mobile, the majority through Apple devices. That's all while primarily marketing to the Texas Tech community in Lubbock.