When it comes to stopping fraud, the $9.6 billion Boeing Employees Credit Union is trying to stay two steps ahead of scammers attempting suspicious transactions.
It is critical to have the ability to stop crime in real time, said John Snodgrass, security risk manager and Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering compliance officer at the Tukwila, Wash.-based credit union.
For nearly three years, BECU has used the Falcon Real Time fraud detection tool from CO-OP Financial Services. The product aims to protect members from debit and ATM card fraud by allowing credit unions to detect high-risk transactions before the authorization decision occurs.
“It’s been a huge benefit for BECU because it allows us a lot of flexibility,” Snodgrass said. “We have something in place in real time that just doesn’t catch transactions on a couple charges that come through. We can tell it to look for certain transactions, which has helped us.”
Snodgrass said before real time access, charges would come in and a fraud detection score would be assigned to them. Sometimes the scores were not high enough to justify taking a closer look. In some cases, a second evaluation may not occur until up to the fifth charge. Even after the review, BECU would have lost money on the other charges.
Now, the credit union can deny the charge at the actual point of transaction, Snodgrass said. He offered the example of transactions coming in from other countries known for certain money scams. They may be immediately blocked. If specific test authorizations also come in, those are also blocked in real time.
“The cost savings are hard dollars. We’ve seen a decline. We tracked the totals early on to justify the product use, and we’re talking several hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Snodgrass said.
BECU worked with CO-OP on different scenarios to determine how much would be saved at different score levels. Snodgrass said the member impact of it all was nothing and in the end, that coupled with the savings. resulted in the best strategy to combat fraud.
CO-OP has 22 national relationship managers who meet with credit unions and identify ways to improve operational efficiencies in their relationship with the CUSO, said Eric Porter, executive vice president of business development and marketing at CO-OP.
With more credit unions trying to get the most bang for their buck, they’re looking for solutions that will allow them to build on current systems, he added.
“In any business, you want to try to generate business and reduce costs,” Porter said. “Credit unions are more open to finding ways to maximize their systems–companies that can provide products that tuck in and fit within their current environment.”
Catching fraud earlier is top of mind for many credit unions, Porter noticed. There is also more of a need for outsourcing of call centers for those that don’t have the personnel hours to man a 24/7 connection with members. Others are seeking ways to generate revenue from their least involved members, for instance, through online channels versus branch visits.
CO-OP’s reach also extends beyond helping its more than 3,000 credit union clients with the appropriate products and services. Porter said the CUSO has been active in the debit interchange fight. A bill that would have delayed implementing the Federal Reserve’s interchange debit fee cap was recently defeated in the Senate. The Fed's proposed interchange regulations, which now seem to be on track for at least the fee cap provisions to go into effect July 21, would limit debit card transaction fees to as little as 12 cents per transaction, if adopted as proposed.
In addition to webinars and writing comment letters to legislators, CO-OP provided its credit union clients with ways to calculate the impact of the interchange to their respective institutions. Porter said as more in the industry contend with ways to operate more efficiently, he pointed to a Guest Opinion article he wrote last August for Credit Union Times that discussed performance and profitability in a post-Durbin world. In it, he wrote that credit unions still have the power to do some thorough portfolio analysis to find pockets of opportunities for maximizing interchange revenue. n