Using two separate platforms for online banking and electronic bill pay services led to unnecessary hassles for the $1.3 billion American Eagle Federal Credit Union.
Under the dual platform model, members had to navigate from the East Hartford, Conn.-based credit union’s online banking site to a separate Web page for electronic bill pay services. American Eagle said it also faced the inconvenience of calling two different vendors with their support questions.
In 2010, the credit union chose ORCC, a Chantilly, Va.-based technology company that works with a billers, merchants and financial institutions to handle its conversion to a single online banking and bill pay platform. American Eagle FCU began on ORCC’s Command platform and in 2011, migrated to Architect, the firm’s newer, re-branded version of Command.
Nearly 50 financial institutions use Architect and approximately 35 of those are credit unions, said Jeff Chambers, vice president of professional services and development for ORCC.
Pam Villanova, American Eagle FCU's vice president of deposit products and services, during the credit union’s vendor review process, said that ORCC’s platform stood out for its sophisticated, user-friendly feel and marketing tools, as well as the expedited billing offered through the platform’s bill pay solution.
Since beginning the partnership, American Eagle, which serves 100,000 members, has enjoyed a number of benefits, Villanova said. First, the Architect platform’s administrative site allows credit union managers to solve members’ basic online banking dilemmas without contacting the vendor, explained Teresa Knox, senior vice president of retail delivery and operations for American Eagle FCU. For example, if a member becomes locked out of his or her account, a credit union employee can fix the problem by adjusting settings on the administrative site.
Targeted marketing is another Architect platform tool favored by the credit union. This allows it to create a list of members who are likely to be interested in a particular American Eagle FCU product, such as a mortgage or car loan, and set up a rule that triggers a banner advertisement for that particular product to appear when one of those members logs into his or her online banking account, Villanova said.
American Eagle FCU's online banking and bill pay adoption rate data shows hard proof of the platform’s success. Since implementing ORCC’s platform, the credit union has increased member adoption of online banking by 19% from 26,000 users to 31,000 users, and grown member adoption of bill pay by 23% from 6,000 users to 7,400 users. The credit union has promoted the new technology through a marketing campaign that includes in-branch posters and banners.
Villanova attributed the adoption uptick to the platform’s ease of use and a new e-statement service, which can only be used by members who sign up for online banking.
“Any member who logs into online banking can easily navigate the system, and that means they’re more likely to use it,” Villanova said. “We’ve really been talking it up, promoting it and trying to introduce members to it.”
Reporting is another benefit of the Architect platform, because it has the ability to produce reports on members’ bill pay activities, Villanova said.
Chambers names top priorities for the financial institutions on ORCC’s Architect platform as consolidating multiple services into a single vendor platform and gaining control over their platforms.
“A common thread among our clients is that they’re looking to consolidate their channels,” Chambers said. “They also want control; they want to be able to manage their platforms themselves. Once they have that control, they’re in a position for growth.”
Architect places control in financial institutions’ hands in a number of ways, Chambers said. Aside from the targeted marketing tools used by American Eagle FCU, the platform includes a disclosure manager tool that allows financial institutions to present specific disclosures based on users’ online banking and bill pay actions, and the ability to determine when multi-factor authentication is required to proceed with certain online banking activities. ORCC also offers a software development kit for clients who want to develop features that the platform does not already contain.
American Eagle FCU's relationship with ORCC has led to the implementation of additional electronic services with help from the vendor including a mobile banking app, a personal financial management module and online account opening. The credit union is currently working on developing bill pay accessibility straight through its mobile banking app.
Knox and Villanova agreed the partnership has positioned American Eagle FCU to reach its online and mobile technology goals down the road.
“ORCC seems to continuously be developing the next level of service,” Knox said. “They provide a good road map of where we can go in the future.”
Villanova said mobile technology is the wave of the future. “We want to be a part of that. We feel that ORCC can help us achieve that goal.”