Using Video, CFCU Now Open Weekends

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RALEIGH, N.C.-After installing video teller systems in nearly all of its 15 branches, Coastal Federal Credit Union here is moving to now be open seven days a week.

Three branches are currently open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., utilizing the video teller system rather than live tellers. Other CU personnel, such as loan officers, are at the branches during traditional business hours.

The video teller systems were developed by Utah-based vendor uGenius, and Coastal's Marketing/Advertising Manager Joe Mecca explained that the setup "allows for one teller to handle whatever branch wherever they're needed. We can have a small pool of tellers handling all the teller traffic across our branch network and it doesn't matter where that traffic is."

About 40 tellers work at Coastal FCU's headquarters, though not necessarily all at once. The credit union runs a reduced teller staff on the weekends and adds more during peak hours, said Mecca. The new systems enable transactions to be done via video conferencing, including deposits, withdrawals, check-cashing and more, though branches still have traditional ATMs for transactions during non-business hours.

The expanded hours came about after CFCU did focus groups asking members what kinds of services they liked, and Mecca said that one of the most frequently heard responses was a desire to be able to come into the branch on weekends. "Members said they'd use it, and we figured we would roll it out and make that available to them," he said.

He added that since the new hours were instituted, Saturdays and Sundays have been the busiest times.

The $1.9-billion, 190,000-member credit union has 60 of the teller systems spread among the different branches, although Mecca noted that one branch will need to be renovated before the video system can be installed. The widespread use has resulted in about a 40% savings in terms of staffing, said Mecca, as some tellers were lost to attrition, some eliminated and some transitioned into other positions. A portion of the savings also came from speeding up service, "because you don't have traffic jams at one branch while another branch down the road has tellers sitting around not doing anything," said Mecca.

The expanded hours are making their debut via what Mecca called "a staggered hard roll-out," since it's a four-month process to institute the expansion across the branch network. In-branch marketing materials are being used to promote it, as well as direct mail and social media. Mecca added that the credit union may do some TV or radio advertising as more branches transition to the longer hours.

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