As Members Help Selves, It Helps CU

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MONETT, Mo. — Symitar is projecting 2011 to be a good year for credit unions overall.

That's the word from Ted Bilke, the company's president, who pointed to the theme of Callahan & Associates' most recent quarterly TrendWatch, "Make Big Plans for 2011."

"The economy is improving and loan demand is coming back," Bilke assessed. "However, regulations limiting overdraft protection fees and likely interchange revenue will put cost pressures on credit unions. The combination of growth and efficiency will cause credit unions to incent members to move more toward self-service."

According to Bilke, there are a number of technologies available to CUs that will facilitate growth of these "more independent" members:

• Online account opening and loan origination. Bilke said members must be able to easily join a credit union, open new accounts and apply for loans online.

• Member-driven online banking. Members should have the flexibility to determine the information that is important to them and be able to view it on the first page, he declared. "This should be complemented with tools for budgeting and goal setting."

• Mobile banking. Simply stated, members want to see their balance, transfer funds and receive alerts anytime, anywhere.

• Automated lobby. Bilke said this should be available to members when they need or want to use a branch. Routine functions can be handled with imaging ATMs and cash recyclers, while staff can be focused on new products and more complex issues.

To that end, Symitar is offering solutions that include:

• "Opening Act" and enhanced member and loan application modules offer credit unions "powerful alternatives to efficiently add members and originate loans online or in the branch," he said.

• NetTeller serves more than 1,200 financial institutions with an online banking solution that the company said gives members the capability to prioritize and determine what they view along with alerts, budgeting and goal-setting tools.

• "goDough" is a mobile banking offering that Bilke said has a consistent look and feel to Symitar's NetTeller online banking, "making it more intuitive for members. It supports all three modes of delivery; browser, SMS/text and smartphones."

• Symitar said it has third-party integration tools that allow credit unions to effectively connect with a wide variety of suppliers of branch automation hardware.

"We also give clients choice," Bilke said. "While we have great products, we know that one size does not fit all. We provide industry leading integration to competitive products in these areas as well as many other areas."

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