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DALLAS – We’ve seen virtual banking in the CU industry; virtual member service; even virtual voting for board elections; but Atlantic FCU here has pushed the envelope even further – a virtual annual meeting. The $408 million credit union based in Dallas, but which serves members in every state, held what is believed to be the first ever virtual credit union annual meeting this past March. Atlantic FCU is no stranger to using the virtual channel for CU operations. It has a running arrangement with WebEX, a firm that specializes in linking up sites for virtual meetings, training and broadcasts. The CU has used WebEX to train employees in branches away from its Dallas headquarters. Since the CU already had an ongoing relationship with a virtual firm, it only cost about $500 to put the pieces in place for the virtual meeting. One additional expense the CU had was purchasing a high-speed wireless modem. “With all the rebates and deals going on, that wasn’t a big expense,” said Deborah Griesbach, assistant vice president of marketing. From the CU’s Web site (www.atlfcu.org), members were able to view a live video feed of the meeting; vote on agenda items; chat with other members; and view PowerPoint presentations of the CU’s performance and annual highlights. For the CU, it solves a logistics nightmare. “We have branches in Texas, but also in Louisiana, Alaska, and Colorado. We know people logged in from Alaska, California, and Texas,” said Griesbach. Why is AFCU’s membership so scattered? Atlantic FCU’s membership is nationwide, mainly due to its oil industry SEGs. It originally served Arco, but now has British Petroleum, and Phillips Alaska. It also counts Perot Systems among its SEGs. “We have a lot of members stationed in Saudia Arabia,” said Griesbach. Relying on a live video stream is risky business with bandwidth capacity and computer equipment varying from member to member. Add audio to the mix and it’s even riskier. To couch its risk, the CU also had a live teleconference of the meeting. Members could view the video stream online and call in for audio through an AT&T teleconference. Members asked questions via the conference line. By reaching into members’ homes, there were certain inevitable distractions. “A member from Midland, Texas was asking a question while his little dog was barking in the background,” said Brent Sheffield, chief operations officer of the CU. “Members at the meeting really got a kick out of that.” Griesbach said the online turnout wasn’t overwhelming by any means, but the CU’s annual meeting typically isn’t well attended. “It’s not a gala event, but we had about an equal amount of people online that we had present. So we doubled participation,” she said. She estimated that there were at least 50 members logged on for the meeting. Keeping up the high-tech theme, the CU also bypassed printing its annual report this year, instead producing it on a CD card disc (a CD small enough to fit in a typical wallet). Every member household, about 21,000, received a copy of the annual report card disc. Griesbach said doing it the high-tech way was slightly less expensive than the traditional print format. “We were also able to produce our report with richer content because of the medium we selected and were able to deliver the solution at a lower cost than printing,” said Gary Jester, President/CEO of FCU. Jester said members can download the annual report from the CU’s Web site, and for members without PC-access, they can use one of the CU’s PCs at any of its 10 branch locations. [email protected]

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