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TAYLOR, Mich. – It’s bandied about all the time in the industry, “Small credit unions can use technology to offer big credit union services.” Digital Dialogue here thinks it has what it takes to get small CUs on that path. Digital Dialogue recently unveiled the D2 Small Credit Union Module. It includes 24 x 7 call center operations; a toll-free dedicated number for members to access the center; a Web-based lending application with call center integration; instant online lending decision using individual CU scoring models; cross-sale capabilities; and state and federal compliant loan documents. This is being offered to the 7,000 or so CUs with under $20 million in assets for a flat fee of $500 a month. “We basically act as a 24-hour call center and 24-hour lending service. We’ve packaged this particular product for credit unions with less than $20 million in assets. With the flat pricing, they don’t have to be concerned about transaction volume pricing, ” said Howard Hoemann, Digital Dialogue’s vice president of sales and marketing. This whole program began in earnest, said Hoemann, at CUNA’s GAC last year when thriving small CUs were found to have one thing in common – an active lending program. It was further validated by a CUNA Mutual Group survey about the barriers small CUs face in getting into e-commerce. The most intimidating barriers were found to be cost, technical expertise, and cost. That’s what Digital Dialogue aimed to snuff out, said Hoemann. He said the company nailed the cost issue with the $500 flat monthly fee; obliterated the expertise issue by making this a plug and play ASP piece that is manned by Digital Dialogue’s call center reps; and the security has been honed by Maxxar, an established IVR firm in the CU industry, and Dialogue Marketing, an existing call center. Digital Dialogue is jointly owned by these two firms. Despite the low price, Hoemann said the small CUs should expect a robust offering, including online lending approvals in less than 10 seconds. Call center reps also answer the phone using each individual CU’s name. They identify what CU members are calling from by the toll-free number they are using. A key aspect of the program was getting members to complete the loan applications. “ Studies show when someone goes online they fail to complete the applications because they don’t have help. Our agents are available by phone, e-mail, or Web chat to help them fill them out,” said Hoemann. It’s not just a remote service, said Hoemann. Some CUs are using the application within their CU at the loan officer’s desks or as a stand-alone application on a workstation where members can come in and complete an application. One of the firm’s CU clients is even using it on an indirect lending basis at a Harley Davidson dealership. Hoemann knows a thing or two about working with small CUs. Over 25 years ago he worked with CUNA’s community development CU component, which helped organize small CUs in rural and urban areas. Prior to that he was a credit union volunteer helping organize credit unions in South America. [email protected]

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