With "technology" as your name and Silicon Valley as your home, you'd better be able to serve up the goods when it comes to offering your members leading-edge banking products.
That’s why the $1.5 billion Technology CU in San Jose, Calif., devotes so much brainpower to its own in-house development of modern necessities, such as its online banking platform, and now is jumping right over desktop remote-deposit capture to the still emerging Check 21 mobile channel.
"We’ve had a lot of members ask for remote-deposit capture but haven’t heard anyone ask for it on desktop scanners. It’s coming from mobile users," said Gabriel Garcia, mobile strategist at Tech CU.
Tech CU expects to go live in June with the mobile RDC service from Bluepoint Solutions Inc. of Vista, Calif., whose marketing and communications director, Andrew Tilbury, said he’s seeing others considering the same move themselves.
"We’re beginning to see a kind of leapfrog effect, a paradigm shift of sorts, where credit unions first adopted consumer RDC through the desktop and Internet browsers and now others are going right to the mobile phones," he said.
While branch and teller capture of checks have been standard fare for several years, it’s the smartphone with the camera that’s driving this latest trend.
"We still don’t know how many people are really going to use it frequently, but there’s definitely a sizzle factor to it," Tilbury said. "It’s cool and people are responding to that, both for the members and the executives and managers themselves, whose credit unions give them smartphones and then they want to see what they can do with them. That’s what we’re seeing from our side."
As for Tech CU, before the mobile RDC goes live, Garcia and his colleagues are busy launching a new mobile banking application that will work on a wide range of smartphones and tablets, including BlackBerrys, Androids and iPhone platform devices.
"The growth of the iPad is driving this a lot," said Lisa Fettner, Tech CU’s vice president of marketing. "So many of our members use those and iPhones that we felt we had to add value to that experience for them."
They’re also enhancing the current Web-based WAP online banking service and SMS text service, another move the credit union is making, Garcia said, to stay current with the likes of JPMorgan Chase and USAA in a very competitive marketplace.
"And they wanted a true native application," he said. Tech CU was up to the task, turning to Access Softek Inc., a mobile developer and integration partner of Bluepoint Solutions, for the platform and drawing on its own experienced crew of four developers and vice president of e-commerce, Victor Smilgys.
The back shop had already built its own online banking system using Fiserv’s Multi-Point Integrator middleware and now is using its experience to develop its mobile channels to synch with its Symitar Episys core platform, Smilgys said.
"We’re really happy with how this is all working. We can do a lot of our own development and our own changes, which is nice, and we have more control," he said.
Staying ahead of the pack with tech tools is a bit of a tradition at Tech CU. "We were one of the first around to go live with mobile banking when we did it in 2007," Fettner said. Enhancing the current offering as well as rolling out new native apps "will make the experience for our member much better and add such things as bill pay and cross-member transfers."
The 74,000-member credit union said it has 38,000 active users of the 50,000 members registered online. About 3,800 of them are using the mobile WAP technology now and more are expected to sign on when they can use platforms built just for their smartphones.
Tilbury at Bluepoint said next up for his company is mobile person-to-person, which he said will be particularly attractive to West Coast credit unions with large numbers of Asian members looking for a convenient way to send money to their families.
Fettner at Tech CU said that kind of leading-edge functionality sounds right up her credit union’s alley, too.