“Our vendors are finding pricing levels where small institutions can play,” said Daniel Simon, a regional sales manager with San Diego, Calif.-based Mitek Systems, owner of a variety of key mobile RDC patents. The Mitek business strategy is to sell through partners, which include Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv, Henderson, Nev.-based BluePoint Solutions and Monett, Mo.-based Jack Henry. And, suggested Simon, several of its partners have been aggressively pursuing deals with institutions that might not have shown up on their radar a year ago. Now, however, as Mitek seeks to broaden its footprint, the chase is on for more institutions and that is shining a spotlight on credit unions with assets below $500 million and often well below.
At Vertifi, the Burlington, Mass., CUSO operated by corporate credit union Eascorp., Alan Bernstein, president of the CUSO, indicated that they, too, can claim successful mobile RDC installations in smaller credit unions. More proof that the financial barriers to entry seem to be eroding.
One case in point is the $108 million Torrance Community Credit Union, which is based in the Los Angeles suburb. The 7,000-member institution has had mobile RDC since January 2010, said its CEO Steve Stoppel, and that made it one of the country’s first credit unions of any size with mobile RDC.
Torrance Community is using Vertifi’s tools, in part because Vertifi “was willing to work with our core processor to make this happen,” said Stoppel. “They also offered us a very low implementation fee.”
About 250 members currently use the mobile RDC app, said Stoppel, who indicated around a dozen checks a day come in that way. He added that members seemed to have more problems scanning checks (using desktop scanners and multifunction machines) than they do with the Vertifi app. “We have had very few member reports of difficulties with the app,” he said.
One irony is that the small Torrance credit union does not currently have a mobile banking app, although Stoppel said he hoped to roll out one in the next 30 to 60 days.
Over at McHenry County Federal Credit Union, a $42 million institution based in Crystal Lake, Ill., CEO Gregory Rowlett said he rolled out mobile RDC to his members because his debit card processor made him an offer he could not refuse. “They waived all start up fees,” said Rowlett, who is using the Mitek technology.
McHenry County pays no fixed monthly fee. It’s only cost is $1.25 per mobile deposit and, right now, Rowlett is charging his members $1 per deposit. He indicated he understood that few credit unions presently are charging for mobile RDC, but at McHenry there has been no member pushback over the fee, he said.
In the first two months of the offering, McHenry County got 38 members to join and, collectively, they have deposit around $14,000, said Rowlett.
“The image quality from the mobile scans is really good,” said Rowlett who acknowledged he was surprised by how good the smartphone pictures are.
Similar, upbeat reports are heard from Bonnie Mascaro, a vice president at Atlantic Financial, a $100 million institution in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Atlantic Financial debuted mobile RDC in June and has signed up about 150 members, said Mascaro, who noted that mobile RDC fits with the credit union’s tagline, "Always Where You Are."
“I don’t know of any other credit unions in our area that offer it,” added Mascaro, who indicated Atlantic Financial’s mobile banking vendor, Jack Henry, found a way for the credit union to afford mobile RDC.
Important as the adoption of mobile RDC by a number of smaller credit unions is, experts caution that too much cannot be read into this. Mitek’s Simon stressed that by his count, perhaps 150 credit unions total now offer mobile RDC under the Mitek patents, “and we have a 90% market share.” By that arithmetic, around 7,000 remain without it.
Gary Brand, a Fiserv executive, stressed that what his company sees is the upside. “The excitement around mobile RDC continues to build. There’s no slow down.”
Brand added that his company has been working on ways to sharply lower the costs of implementing mobile RDC. mainly through finding more efficiencies in integration, and as the costs fall, credit union enthusiasm rises. “We are offering a mobile RDC solution at a price point that appeals to many credit unions,” stressed Brand.
“And now we are seeing growing adoption.”