During the past five years, Wright-Patt Credit Union in the Dayton suburb of Fairborn, Ohio, has gained almost $1 billion in assets and 100,000 new members.
To accommodate its rapid growth and prepare for future expansion, the $2.6 billion, 250,000-member WPCU recently became the first financial institution in its area to roll out
Working with Atlanta-based NCR Corp, the CU installed APTRA Interactive Tellers at two newly built branches in Springfield and Springboro. Members use a touch screen to activate the machines and interact with a video teller. For more private conversations and increased security, members can use the touch screen and phone. To withdraw cash, members must show an ID.
The machines speed transactions by roughly 33% compared with an in-person transaction, according to Brian Bailey, vice president and general manager at NCR, who said the machines can perform 95% of typical member transactions.
“What you’re seeing at Wright-Patt Credit Union through their use of Interactive Tellers is more than just branch transformation, it’s a transformation of their entire retail network,” Bailey said. “By incorporating interactive video into their network, they are truly innovating in the area of customer experience, expanding their reach and making their members’ everyday lives easier.”
To facilitate the use of PTMs, WPCU is providing concierge service in which employees are assigned to show members how to use the new technology.
“Members are discovering that the Personal Teller is really no different from a service standpoint than using a WPCU representative located in the member center,” said Darrick Weeks, WPCU’s chief operating officer.
“Members are saying the experience is easy, convenient and enjoyable. Comments range from ‘It’s like a live ATM’ to ‘wild, cool experience.’ Members also appreciate the feeling of security a PTM offers when making deposits and the ability to withdraw amounts over the standard ATM cash withdrawal limits,” he said.
“What we’re really trying to do is to be able to continue to meet the member’s expectations of growth at a lower overall cost,” the WPCU COO added.
The tellers serving the PTMs are housed at WPCU’s Fairborn headquarters, allowing them to work virtually in multiple branches. Not only does that bolster operational efficiency, Weeks said, it improves accuracy and security. Another big benefit of PTMs, he said, is that the technology enables CU employees to focus on meeting with members, closing loans and selling other products and services.
Weeks said the PTMs do not replace tellers. To oversee the new service, WPCU, which has about 550 employees, created a new department – the Personal Experience Center – and added seven new (full-time and part-time) positions.
“We spent a lot of time making sure we hired the right people for these unique positions,” Weeks said. “We knew our Personal Experience Representatives would have to be our ‘best of the best’ because they would need to delight members through a live video feed, which is not always easy to accomplish. To hire staff, we conducted video interviews and incorporated scenario role-playing. We also spent three months preparing staff for their debut on the PTMs, which involved team-training components.”
Other operational changes included upgrading bandwidth to ensure WPCU could manage the video and transaction capacity and creating processes for rolling out and testing the PTMs and servicing the machines.
Since the NCUA announced last fall that it would allow video tellers to count as service facilities, the new machines can help WPCU expand its field of membership and serve underserved areas.
(At left, This bank of personal teller machines awaits do-it-yourself members who will interact with staff at the credit union's headquarters.)
To qualify as a service facility, a video teller must be physically located in the service area, provide real-time, face-to-face video access to credit union or shared branching employees during regularly scheduled hours, and allow the member to conduct all transactions, according to NCUA guidelines.
Weeks said WPCU’s investment in PTMs is an important part of strategic plans to expand its geographic footprint. Recently, WPCU announced plans to move into the Columbus, Ohio, market.
“Our goal is to roll additional PTMs out in areas where we plan to expand or fill in our service delivery footprint,” Weeks said. “This is not a cost-saving initiative for us. It is an initiative to better serve our members convenience needs in a more efficient way. We will gain a return on our investment as we continue to roll out more PTMs out and gain economies of scale.
“We will also be able to cut down on member wait times for transactions by more efficient deployment of our Personal Experience Representatives. Any cost savings that come as a result of this initiative will be redeployed in effort to continually exceed our members’ expectations.”