Account Switching Greased by Concierge at Texas Trust
For the 66% of account holders who would consider switching their financial institutions if the move wasn’t so painful, Texas Trust Credit Union said it has a plan to make the entire process easier and faster.
The $680 million credit union in Mansfield, Texas, has launched SwitchAgent from Deluxe Corp. Texas Trust said the way the service works is that it will close out old accounts quickly and new members will receive a customized schedule and billing notification for each automated payment and deposit, simplifying the transition process and the transfer of preauthorized transactions.
Texas Trust made note of that 66% figure from a new J.D. Power & Associates study that polled 5,000 customers who shopped for a new financial institution or new account during the past 12 months. Credit unions and small banks beat out larger banks, according to the data.
“We want to give members a chunk of their lives back,” said Jim Minge, president/CEO of Texas Trust. “It can take several months to move these transactions. That prevents many consumers from switching financial institutions.”
The free service allows consumers to transfer preauthorized payments and deposits, such as gym memberships, car loans, mortgages, utility bills, Social Security and payroll deposits, from their old bank account to their new Texas Trust account.
The average consumer has 1.3 automated deposits and nearly four automated payments, according to the credit union.
SwitchAgent aims to automate the process for new members, requiring only 30 minutes of their time, compared to 10 to 20 hours without the service.
Since its debut on Feb. 6, Minge said about 20 new members have used SwitchAgent. The credit union serves 58,000 members in five Texas counties.
The big difference with the new service is the use of a concierge approach to walk members through the transition, Minge said. A financial service agent will give the consumer a form to sign authorizing assistance with moving accounts over to Texas Trust. A Deluxe representative will make a call to the potential new member to collect information and the rest is automated.
“We keep the member in the loop along the way,” Minge said. “The feedback we’ve received so far has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Texas Trust pays Deluxe for the service, which Minge said required very little upfront expenses. The bulk of time was spent on training employees.
The credit union had seen moderate success with traditional switch kits, which rely on members sending their information in. Minge said he understands the frustration with the process.
“It’s a pain to take time out of your busy day to do all of this,” he acknowledged.
Texas Trust first learned of SwitchAgent at an industry conference, said Amber Danford, vice president of marketing and public relations at Texas Trust. Minge said they were sold on the service and didn’t look at any other vendors.
If Minge has one regret, he wished the timing of SwitchAgent’s launch was closer to Bank Transfer Day. The credit union doubled its normal account volume on Nov. 5. New account openings were very strong in December and January considering that those months are traditionally slow periods. Minge said the summer months are the most active time of the year.
“But better late than never,” he said of missing the transfer day tide last fall.
Minge said Texas Trust plans to offer SwitchAgent for the long term, but the credit union will continue to monitor the service to ensure that it remains effective for new members.