Don’t be quick to dismiss the iPad as just a fad.
According to Celent Senior Analyst Bob Meara, with their distinctive attributes like mobility, ability to operate in both online and offline environments, rich video delivery capability and a platform that encourages interactivity between staffers and consumers, tablets may be a game changer for financial institutions savvy enough to adopt them.
Meara suggested that financial institutions explore the use of tablets, like the iPad, in future branch initiatives as it reinvents the experience.
"Currently, most banks rely on branch staff to engage customers as directed by staff-facing CRM systems or no system at all," said Meara. "Using a tablet interactively with clients holds the promise of a more engaging interaction–one in which branch staff interact alongside clients as coaches. In the process, much paper can be eliminated and workflow efficiency much improved."
That certainly has been the case for Unitus Community Credit Union Business Development Manager Brett Wooden, who has used his iPad for everything in the field and in the office–taking notes, presentations, opening accounts, taking surveys and even just showing it off. He said the iPad has helped drive the credit union’s promise of convenience by enabling him to open accounts on the spot. He said it’s not only a solution to grow membership through applications in the field; it also creates a unique positive member experience. At Unitus, iPad use has expanded from the business development and mortgage teams to senior executives and the boardroom.
Wooden, who is a self-proclaimed Apple enthusiast, said he feels like he has still only scratched the surface of the tablet’s potential.
"Imagine a young couple that’s found their first potential home with a Realtor eager to make an offer. A quick call to their credit union and a loan officer comes to them while they are still looking at the house to take the application on an iPad, and the couple gets an approval for the asking price on the house in a matter of minutes," said Wooden. "I’ve found that the more you use it the more you realize you can do with it."
Before going out to buy your own iPad, a few technical basics must be in place first.
"You need to make sure you can open an account online, so go to the Apple store and play with an iPad. Check your website out, make sure your products and rates can be viewed then try to open an account and experience what your members experience," said Wooden. "At Unitus, ‘Opening Act’ allows members to open accounts online and fund online via ACH or debit/credit card. Wanting to create a ‘help the member in the moment’ feel, it was important to us that members could fund the accounts onsite without having any time between the account openings." Credit unions eager to get their own iPad should download a few applications (which cost $9.99 each) to get started, including Keynote, Pages, Numbers and DocstoGo. As far as accessories, Wooden advised investing in a case, VerizonMiFi and a projector cable. Credit Union Times asked Wooden to share his Top 10 iPad Uses for Credit Unions.
- Going out in the field to open accounts and funding them as well. It’s great because you can show potential new members mobile banking in action or with a shared branching app exactly how many credit union branches/ATMs are in the area they can use.
- Eliminate the costs of printing huge 100-plus page board packets by having them on the iPad. Prior to and during the meeting, sections can be highlighted, bookmarked, fonts can even be made larger so they are easier to read, and board members can add comments as they go through it and e-mail the packets directly from the iPad.
- Load all seminars on the iPad rather than lugging around a laptop and tons of printouts–you can simply plug it into the projector and begin.
- Save time when you travel because the iPad doesn’t have to be removed from your bag, so going through security is a snap. In addition, you can get Wi-Fi from the airport and if allowed access by the credit union use VPN to access your work e-mail, calendar and more.
- If you have a stylus pen you can load PDFs, which can be edited and if you are a loan officer allows documents to be signed electronically.
- Save time in marketing by viewing flyers, brochures and campaigns on the iPad, make corrections and approve instantly rather than printing them out.
- Show members your website and any promotional information instantly. It makes such a big impact rather than passing out a rate sheet or a brochure. The result is you’re selling more on value than saying "here are our rates." It shows there is so much more to our credit union than just a rate.
- Create, load surveys for instant member feedback. We take our iPads to events and ask members their opinions or what brought them, etc. The information is all generated electronically while talking to them so there’s nothing for members to fill out and put in a bowl or mail back to us.
- With presentations there’s an app that allows you to write notes that serve as cue cards in your presentations. Or when referencing or talking about the latest management book during a meeting. It can be downloaded in iBooks and reviewed in real time, and notes can be added and shared instantly.
- Load pictures from events right away instead of having to download them when you get to the office. You can also view CRM on it, update social media through Tweetdeck and Facebook so you’re operating in real time rather than waiting until you can get into the office.
"What’s funny is a lot of credit unions I talk to buy an iPad and just aren’t sure what to do with it. And I say get your feet wet by taking notes on it, you can automatically forward your notes in an e-mail and you’ll be surprised how timesaving it can be," said Wooden. "Another big thing is to make sure your sales people are able to sell. They can’t be too timid to use it. It’s a new, sexy sales tool and you have to have the right attitude when you’re using it especially for sales. So really just start using it and get comfortable with it."