READER QUESTION #1

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Has any member of your panel, whether a vendor or a credit union, identified a particular solution or practice that they believe more than any other has a direct bearing on (improving) member satisfaction levels?

Theresa Benavidez, Chief Technology Officer, USERS, Valley Forge, Penn.

Today, member satisfaction is often equated with speed and convenience, so any initiative that involves electronic service delivery is likely to yield a high return on investment in terms of boosting satisfaction levels. That's why our clients tell us they intend to expand their Internet and other remote services aggressively in the coming year. For instance, we're seeing increasing interest in electronic deposits (the ability to make deposits via home banking-with the hard copy deposit mailed in to the credit union, but the funds accessible immediately).

We're also seeing interest in some of the new, innovative card offerings that deposit a percentage of the consumer's charges into a savings account. The ability to support creative products like these will enable the credit union to meet members' expectations for choice, convenience, and value.

Jim Berthelsen, SVP/General Manager, Harland Financial Solutions, Pleasanton, Calif.

Relationship pricing loyalty programs provide credit unions with the ability to design incentives that tie to member's financial needs and goals, directly resulting in higher member satisfaction levels. When a member meets program criteria, rewards are offered encouraging the member to continue doing business with that credit union, transfer more services from other financial institutions to that credit union, and motivate the member to advance to a higher program level to receive even more rewards and benefits. When a member is receiving rewards for doing normal business, they feel valued and satisfaction levels typically rise.

To ensure success, the technology must be integrated with all channels to accurately gauge member behavior and offer appropriate additional services. To qualify members and advance them to a higher level, the ULTRADATA System's relationship pricing program pulls information from a wide variety of sources (MCIF, credit cards, mortgage, third party providers, etc.), integrates with front and back office, lending, channel programs and CRM, and enables credit union staff to view the value of a member at a glance as well as cross-sell additional services to help him/her achieve the next program level.

David Van Pelt, VP/CTO, IA Systems, Albany, N.Y.

We have heard from our clients that member satisfaction has been improved by seamlessly connecting systems to share member data through the loan origination process. This has resulted in quicker approvals and funding. Additional improvements have been noted by allowing members to apply for loans through any sales channel (DealerTrack, CUDL, RouteOne, CUSO, branch, Internet, Kiosk, etc.) and get instant decisions using consistent decision and rate matrix criteria.

Scott Burwell, Jack Henry & Associates, Allen, Texas

The highest levels of member satisfaction and retention are usually achieved by offering a comprehensive package of competitive financial products and services. Credit unions must customize their offerings based on member demands, the market niche they serve, and the competitive landscape. And credit unions often establish technology partnerships to expedite their speed-to-market with these high-demand offerings. Upost Home is among the recent additions to our product line that is getting high marks from credit unions and their members.

Available through Symitar's re-marketing agreement with eCU Technologies, UPost allows members to make deposits online literally anytime and from anywhere. Members simply logon to the remote deposit solution using established Internet banking user names and passwords. Members enter the dollar amount, account number, and check number. Member accounts can be credited for the remote deposits immediately and members are given a number of days to present the check by mail. This convenience-driven service increases member satisfaction and loyalty, provides a competitively distinct service for remote members, and enables enhanced service while reducing operating costs-the proverbial win-win.

Have a Technology Question For The CU Journal Panel? E-Mail it To fdiekmann cujournal.com

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