Bank Transfer Day, the November 2011 consumer driven effort to move money from large banks to credit unions or community banks, inspired the three finalists for this year’s CO-OP Financial Services THINK prize.
The $10,000 prize for an innovative idea that helps credit unions and their members, prize will be awarded at the CO-OP Financial Services THINK conference this year in Chicago from April 29 to May 2.
Robert Baron, marketing director for the 5,000- member $40 million Technicolor Federal Credit Union entered a plan for a way credit union members could interact with credit union member service reps remotely through their computers, mobile phones or tablet devices.
Baron, explained that he came to the idea for application that would allow that interface after noting that members often wanted to come in to the credit union’s two branches but often could not due to work conflicts or difficulty getting there.
“I realized that members and potential members still needed to come into the credit union for different things, but that they couldn’t. Having a virtual teller system would let that interaction happen, even if they couldn’t make it in the door.”
In addition to enabling more regular transactions remotely, the virtual teller would allow the credit union to do things like enroll new members remotely as well as more easily handle loan acceptance and signing.
Deborah Larson, a branch manager at the $56 million 3,600- member Dakota Plains Credit Union, headquartered in Enderlin, N.D., entered an idea for a single, easy to use app that would help consumers switch accounts from a bank to a credit union.
Larson, said the idea came to she and her co-workers during the furor over Bank Transfer Day in late 2011. “It occurred to us that one of the biggest obstacles to people moving their accounts were all the direct debits that many have set up on their account,” Larson said. “It would really help if there were an easy application that would help member move those from one account to another.”
Andrée Kirk, online service administrator at the 30,000-member $800 million San Francisco Federal Credit Union, submitted an entry that looks forward to a time when credit unions all over the country might be able to use the same Web portal to recruit and sign up new members.
Kirk said the kernel of the idea for the new portal arose as she and two other executives at the credit union were reviewing the impact of Bank Transfer Day and thinking of ways it could be expanded In Kirk’s idea, credit unions would pay a nominal fee to participate in the site to help cover costs but would be able to submit videos about their credit unions to help introduce them to nonmembers and be able to generate and take membership applications from the portal site.
“The idea was to make it as easy as possible for consumers all over the nation to find out about and join their available credit unions,” Kirk said.