Kentucky CU Employs Multimedia To Train Staff, Appeal To Members

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Multimedia to train and entertain-that's one way Commonwealth CU is using technology at its new 60,000 square-foot branch.

"The place is alive," with 14 plasma-screen and four LCD multimedia placed throughout the lobby and call center, according to Gary Wallace, CEO of the $505-million, 86,000-member CU.

Designed to inform and motivate members and employees, the plasma screens advertise promotions and rates to members while reminding call center employees of the same, he said. "When I have a car sale, I can immediately put that out to members and staff.

"The four large LCD units give you a panoramic scene of a mountain or lake, which then change to marketing announcements," Wallace continued. "I see the members looking at them, and I think that they've got to be absorbing a certain amount of information."

The technology also provides a distraction from any wait times in the lobby, he said. "Members don't feel like they're in the teller line very long."

Each screen can present a unique message, while alternating pictures of members and employees, as well.

In the back office areas, the multimedia display information about employee benefits, motivational messages and company and community events.

The train-and-entertain technology is part of a 20-year design and merchandising partnership with Chicago, Ill.- based NewGround Resources, Inc., an international branding and design/build firm for the financial services industry.

In addition to the plasma-screen multimedia, Commonwealth CU has worked with NewGround on three design/build projects totaling more than 120,000 square feet since 1983.

NewGround also provides streaming media services from its data center to an organization's lobby displays. From its centralized data center, it pushes real-time news, stock information, and other custom data.

Wallace sees the multimedia and design/build techniques as a way for CUs to expand market share and total assets.

"We passed the $500 million mark in assets recently, and NewGround was part of the reason why," Wallace said. "Members are impatient today. NewGround helped us speed up the branch experience for members by improving the environment for employees. Employees are the backbone of ground-floor member service, and when they are given a workplace they enjoy, they can concentrate on members. Service improves and employee turnover decreases."

Employee attrition at Commonwealth CU has been about .05% annually for the past two years.

"Commonwealth likes that our architects, engineers, and technology experts never lose sight of their primary goal, which is creating environments consistent with the client's brand," said Kevin Blair, president and COO of NewGround.

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