Alleviating The Madness

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Tellers at Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union (HVFCU) just can't keep up with growing transaction volume.

As a result, ATMs with advanced functionality are filling the gap, according to Tony Rohrmeier, vice president of delivery systems and technology.

"I'd hate to think of what would happen to our teller lines if we didn't have the ATMs," said Rohrmeier.

And HVFCU can't consider adding human tellers to support transaction volume. "We can't add teller lines at any of our branches because we're physically at capacity," Rohrmeier explained. "And it's so critical for us to keep teller lines down. For that reason, we've added ATMs in four branches, and additional drive-up ATMS in two other branches.

Bolstering The Workforce

The $1.4-billion Hudson Valley continually bolsters its teller force by expanding its advanced ATM network, which now comprises 39 machines and handles about 270,000 transactions per month. At one branch alone, the CU has deployed four ATMs.

Indeed, Rohrmeier said that tellers must be substitutable with ATMs-enough, at least, so that HVFCU's 125,000 members can get everything done at an advanced ATM that they can in a teller line.

The machines offer almost everything but fries with each transaction, including coin dispensing and check cashing to the penny at on-premise ATMs, mini-statement printing, consumer loan payments, and local marketing delivered on screens and receipts.

"We want to try to offer as much as we can at an ATM so that a teller doesn't have to do all the routine check- cashing and depositing functions," he said.

In addition, all ATM functionality is free to members. "We do not charge any fees for our members to use our ATMs, because we want to encourage members to use our ATMs," Rohrmeier explained.

Seeing as HVFCU's ATMs perform about 15% more transactions every month than its tellers, it seems that members have adapted to the CU's tellerless banking fleet.

"One direct result of offering advanced functionality is that we do a lot of volume at our ATMs," he said.

In fact, HVFCU's ATM volume is almost double that of the national monthly average. For example, the credit union's on-premise ATMs do an average 9,200 transactions every month, said Rohrmeier.

In contrast, the industry average is 4,500 transactions per month, according to the Co-op Network's 2002 ATM Deployer Study.

Since 1996 when the credit union began enhancing ATM functionality, transaction volume has continually increased. In 2002, for example, volume increased by 4.3%, even though no new ATMs were deployed, said Rohrmeier. In 2001, volume increased by 12.3%, "partly because we deployed a couple ATMs in key spots," he said.

Cash Remains King

Although Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union does not track statistics of various ATM transactions, "the vast majority of the transactions are still cash withdrawals," Rohrmeier said.

HVFCU's data contrasts with a recent TowerGroup study, which reported that financial institutions will soon be forced to add advanced ATM functionality because cash transaction volume is dropping.

TowerGroup also predicted that non-traditional financial services designed to increase revenue, such as postage stamp and movie ticket printing, and wire transfers, for example, will become part of the advanced functionality scene for ATMs.

But Rohrmeier doesn't see it. "We don't have plans to add that type of functionality, although we keep it in the back of our minds. Those types of services increase the burden on the ATM, and we want to make sure the ATM is functioning properly to accommodate those members who want to base their financial transactions at the ATM."

Hudson Valley FCU fleet comprises Diebold 911 and 912 ATMs, with intercept processing provided by Moorpark, Calif.-based XP Systems' Controller for Automated Tellers (CAT).

CAT enables in-house control and customized functionality of ATM networks at 240 CUs nationwide, as well as real-time access to any switch or network.

At HVFCU, CAT operates on an online interface to the credit union's core processor, Harland Financial Solutions' ULTRADATA System.

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