Amy Baker was a little alarmed recently when she logged onto her familiar online banking website, and it didn’t look so familiar anymore.
"I panicked for a moment, actually," the Atlanta attorney said. But the panic turned to pleasure when she realized her recent transactions weren’t missing but instead were now on the new site she was directed to by Associated Credit Union.
"I really like it," Baker said. "Everything’s together now. They used to have separate websites, for instance, for banking and another for my mortgage, and I used to have trouble updating from places like Mint where all my consolidated information was.
"Now I have everything on one page, all my loan information, checking and savings accounts, and you don’t have to click through a bunch of pages to get your information," said Baker, who primarily practices commercial real estate law for credit unions and banks. "I also only have to log in once."
The $1.2 billion suburban Norcross CU is an early adopter of the revamped online presence just rolled out by Intuit Financial Services, which has been providing Internet banking services to Associated beginning in 2000 as Digital Insight.
Both IFS and Associate have seen a lot of change since then and the new Web functionality is a particular kick for Glenn Anderson, the 153,000-member CU’s veteran senior vice president of marketing.
"Our members have just embraced this new page phenomenally," Anderson said. The site combines the FinanceWorks personal financial management tools with standard functionality such as balances and transactions history, and added in bill pay and a rewards program that Anderson said already has returned more than $11,000 to debit card users who bought from targeted online and physical merchants.
"It’s a pretty good deal," Anderson said. "The other day I got 94 cents back from my lunch for $5.50 at Burger King."
He said he also finds the integrated budgeting functions particularly useful.
"I’m looking at my landing page right now, and I can see that I’ve already spent $656 on groceries this month," he said. "That’s good information. I also have an expensive little dog who has to go to the vet a lot. I was able to code all the various bills and special food and this and that in there and see exactly what he’s cost me this year."
Anderson said he’s also heard from Gen Yers who told him they found the budgeting and goal- setting functions a good way to keep their spending on track, though it did hear from one member who asked that the FinanceWorks part of the site be turned off so it didn’t automatically display.
"She told me she didn’t want her husband to see it every time he logged in," Anderson said.
That family aside, IFS said its stats show that 110% more members have used FinanceWorks for the first time at Associated since the launch of the new integrated platform last September, that 13.2% more actively use it to aggregate and manage their finances and that the credit union’s online banking adoption has gone up 5%.
California-based IFS said nearly 3 million consumers are now using the new platform at client banks and credit unions and said that bodes well for those businesses, citing its recent annual Online Financial Management Survey that found that 52% of banking customers said they would leave their current financial institution for one that offers better money management capabilities.
Another study commissioned by Intuit found that PFM users are more profitable for financial institutions, they have a 98% retention rate, they log in more and they use bill pay more.
At Associated, Anderson said about 17,000 members are using bill pay, a number he said is increasing 2% to 4% month.
"Of course, we’re trying to get that number up because it’s such a sticky product," he said.
Attorney Baker is exhibit A. "I’ll more likely to use it now that the bill pay seems more user friendly," she said. "It’s never easy to change who you’ve been using for bill pay for a long time."
She also said she’s looking forward to doing more business with Associated. "I’m very happy with them," she said. "And I really think people are looking to credit unions and community banks more, especially now that they can get the same technology and bill pay and things that you can from larger banks.
"I know this feels like a big bank website to me," she said.