Imaging Tempers Branch Traffic at Navy Army
The 119,000-member, $1.8 billion Navy Army Community Credit Union has a problem: its members love the credit union too much. Or at least they love its branches.
The Corpus Christi, Texas-based credit union’s members prefer to use tellers, particularly for making deposits and cashing checks, Chief Operating Officer Dana Sisk said.
The credit union has 12 branches and Sisk said it’s on target to see more than 2 million teller transactions this year.
“It’s not that we don’t want to see our members,” Sisk said. “We love to see them. We would just rather see them for other, different, transactions and business other than cashing checks and making deposits.”
To relieve the burden, Sisk said the credit union has been implementing a digital strategy over the past 24 months that includes having 12 of its 14 proprietary ATMs accept imaged deposits as well as, eventually, having members be able to make deposits over their mobile phones.
Sisk said the credit union has overcome some obstacles on its way to interacting in a more digital way with its members. First, it didn’t roll out the ATM imaging capability to members until it was on all 12 of the machines, a development that took some months. Then, she said, they had to get members to use them.
Sisk said many members weren’t used to making deposits through ATMs, so in one particularly busy branch, credit union staff rolled ATMs into the lobby and invited members to leave the line to receive a guided first session with the check imaging machines.
“We found the biggest hurdle was getting our members to just try it for the first time,” Sisk said. “Once a staff member showed them how and once they saw their receipt had a copy of the deposited check posted on it, it got easier.”
Sisk said the credit union decided to use the number of teller transactions per member, per month as the standard by which to judge the program, rather than the number of total transactions.
She is optimistic about the program’s success, saying that even with only minimal marketing, Navy Army had already seen the year-to-date deposits made through ATMs climb to more than 8,300 as of June 30, 2013 from 3,465 one year earlier.
And she is firm about the program’s value. While she would not divulge her exact cost, she said Navy Army paid only a fraction of the cost to process an imaged check compared to a paper check.
Gary Brand, director of source capture solutions for Fiserv, was not surprised by the impact check imaging has had at Navy Army.
“Check imaging is just one more step in the direction of helping transactions become steadily more streamlined and easier,” Brand said, adding that a credit union that deploys check imaging at an ATM or over a mobile phone is simply broadening its range of potential contact with members, expanding access methods.
Brand said his firm did not see a conflict between check imaging at an ATM or over a mobile phone. Just because mobile phone check imaging is available doesn’t mean members won’t want check imaging at the ATM, he said.
“Consider that even now, not everyone has a mobile phone,” he said. “And even if they did, not everyone is going to be comfortable with using the application. But there will be some people who may want to use both.”