Point Loma CU Finds Kiosks Can Do Almost Anything

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This kiosk is on steroids.

Members scan their fingerprints for positive ID and then videoconference in with tellers as they apply for loans via Internet banking and print pictures of their cash deposits.

"I've never seen a kiosk that does all that," said Matt Mower, IT director at Point Loma Credit Union. "Our virtual branch is kind of a mesh between a teller, homebanking and an ATM."

Point Loma CU's one-of-a-kind "virtual branches" unite the CU's delivery channels, allowing videoconferencing with tellers, ATM functions from withdrawals to check image printing, and integration with some of the CU's Internet banking services.

The $530-million CU installed two teller kiosks about one year ago, one attached to a branch and one as a stand-alone.

"We wanted the kiosks to help members feel like they are interacting with a credit union representative and getting higher level services than they can at an ATM," he added.

And just by picking up the kiosk phone, members actually do interact with a CU agent, who appears live on the kiosk's video screen. The kiosk phone automatically connects members to PLCU's call center, where a representative answers and sees the member and a shot of the kiosk screen.

"The picture of the kiosk screen allows the representative to walk the member through a transaction," Mower explained.

The personal touch is just one of the features the virtual branches offer to incorporate "all the major functions of a brick-and-mortar branch," he said.

Members can choose to verify identity by using biometric fingerscanning instead of cards and PINs, Mower continued. "And if the fingerscan doesn't work, the system can be instantly reset to accept the member's PIN."

The reset option comes in handy: About 30% of members who try to use the biometric authentication are rejected because their fingerprints can't be read, said Mower.

Biometrics isn't as successful for older members, whose worn fingerpads stymie the fingerscan technology, he explained.

The virtual branch is Internet-connected. The kiosk screen interfaces with PLCU's Internet banking services, including loan applications, pending ACH transactions, checking-account holds and VISA and mortgage account summaries, said Mower.

On the ATM side, members can print checks, get cash, make deposits, check balances and print images of cash and check deposits.

The virtual branches get "pretty high usage," Mower continued. Members used the stand-alone kiosk about 850 times in August, for example, and non-members used it more than 60 times, he said.

During those sessions, about 175 users printed out receipts. "Although printing out receipts and statements is instant at the kiosk, you have to actually order copies if you're at the teller," Mower said.

The videoconferencing feature is used about 20 times per month at each kiosk, he said.

Point Loma Credit Union doesn't have plans to add more kiosks. "We need a couple years under our belt," before expanding the kiosk concept, he said. PLCU worked with Norfolk, Va.-based Real Time Kiosks to transform a kiosk system into a virtual branch, Mower said.

CUJ Resources

For info on this story:

* Point Loma CU at www.plcu.com

* Real Time Kiosks at www.realtimekiosks.com

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