Robert Baron, a finalist for the CO-OP THINK Prize 13, believes credit union members should be able to interact with service reps remotely through their computers, mobile phones or tablet devices.
The CO-OP Financial Services payment CUSO has offered the prize every year since 2000 to help foster credit union innovation.
Baron, marketing director for the 5,000 member, $40 million Technicolor Federal Credit Union in Burbank, Calif., explained that he came to the idea for an application that would allow that interface after noting that members often wanted to come in to the credit union's two branches but often could not due to work conflicts or difficulty getting there.
“I realized that members and potential members still needed to come into the credit union for different things, but that they couldn't. Having a virtual teller system would let that interaction happen, even if they couldn't make it in the door,” he said.
In addition to enabling more regular transactions remotely, the virtual teller would allow the credit union to do things like enroll new members remotely, checking their picture identification against their image on screen just as if they were there, as well as more easily handle loan acceptance and signing.
Baron's idea is in the running for the $10,000 prize against an idea for an application to help consumers more efficiently switch to a credit union and another which streamlines the loan application process for multiple credit unions.
In the event his idea does not win the prize, Baron said he will continue searching for an app developer who might be willing to build it, either as a standalone application for Technicolor or as a technology that could be licensed to other credit unions to use.
“I would like to this become something that would help credit unions move ahead in their competition with large banks,” Baron said.
The winners will be announced at the THINK conference April 29-May 2 in Chicago.