Ala. CU Believes In Marketing Via ATMs

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A web-driven ATM is a better ATM, believes one credit union here.

The reasons? Marketing is enhanced and members may benefit from a "richer ATM experience," according to Sherry Swinford, manager of automated operations at Redstone FCU.

The $1.3-billion CU hosts four full-function, web-enabled ATMs, with a fifth planned for a forthcoming "state-of-the-art" branch, Swinford said.

The web functionality, which will be fully deployed this fall, complements Redstone's strategy to increase membership penetration of Internet-based services, she said.

"We want our members' experience at the ATMs to be more in line with their Internet experience," Swinford explained. "And with these ATMs, you've opened up the capability to do anything that you can do on the Internet."

The web-based transaction technology offered by the five Fujitsu 8030 through-the-wall and kiosk ATMs make it possible for the CU to collect and process member data. That's particularly important for a CU that did more than three-million ATM transactions last year.

"The big benefit of the 8030 is marketing opportunity," Swinford. "Our goal is to use the data to segment our membership, and then personalize our ATM transactions."

The 235,000-member CU plans to market to segments of its SEGs via transaction receipts and the ATMs' LCD screens.

A "favorite transaction" feature will allow members to customize their ATM visit. Members can specify receipt backgrounds and transaction amounts, for example.

"Through our homebanking site, a member can pick a favorite transaction," said Terri Bentley, assistant vice president of technology at Redstone. A member can say "I want to always get $40, and my background is always the beach scene," she said.

The CU may also speed up transactions if members use their favorite transaction at the ATM.

Because the LCD screens incorporate HTML and JavaScript programming and the ATMs relay data via XML tags, marketing campaigns are faster and easier to develop, said Bentley. "We have people in-house that can do all the HTML, JavaScript and XML for us," Bentley said. "We'll cut out a third party in developing all that in the legacy environment, so the time to market is faster. And, there will be reduced operational and IT costs."

Bentley added that the credit union will stick to the "45-second rule" when running marketing campaigns on the ATM screen.

Ads that are 45 seconds or less will ensure quick ATM transactions and keep members' interest, she said.

The credit union has already started pushing a simple marketing message-members see a floating stamp when they arrive at one of the drive-ups that dispenses postage stamps.

"Stamp sales is one way we can actually get our members to use the ATMs as opposed to the traditional branches," Bentley said. "Because buying stamps at the ATM and getting cash at the same time is convenient, members won't need to go to the post office. We're making a richer member experience."

"People are using the lane with the postage stamps more often than the other lanes," Swinford added.

Redstone, Alabama's largest CU, started installing the Triple DES- and ADA-compliant ATMs a year ago as it transitioned from the 911 and 912 switches to the Frame Relay and TCP/IP communication that will support Web connections.

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