Why 1 Piece Of No-Frills Technology Is Worth The Change

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Whether it be the state fair, the grocery store-or the snow machine rally-Denali Alaskan FCU ATMs are there.

Riding on the concept that "banking itself is not a destination," Denali's fleet of 36 Diebold ATMs follows members everywhere, according to John Layton, assistant vice president of payment systems at the $336-million CU, extending the reach of the CU's 10 branches.

In less than a half-hour, Layton can set up one of the credit union's roving ATMs in remote and sundry locations, he said.

"We take the ATMs and move them strategically to different events our members attend in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and even Juneau," he explained.

Furthermore, the ATM fleet's new technology guarantees virtually 100% uptime and the "freedom to innovate," as the CU aims to dispense not only cash, but mini-statements, stamps, tickets, gift cards, money orders and money wires, Layton continued.

"We don't view the ATM as just a cash dispenser; we see it as a true delivery channel," he said.

In order to guarantee that the ATMs run trouble-free in every location, the 46,000-member credit union broke free of its previous ATM shared network and brought ATM processing in-house last year. "Previously our ATMs would be down for 12 hours and we weren't notified," said Layton. "We wanted to control our own destiny."

To that end, the credit union deployed a fault-tolerant server, the Stratus ftServer W Series 3300 system, and Mosaic Software's Postilion automated teller and electronic funds transfer software.

"The fault-tolerant server and Postilion allow us to give excellent service to members no matter where they are," Layton said. "We can plunk down an ATM with any configuration and connect with DSL, phone lines or wireless technology, without waiting for the shared network."

Denali has pushed $2.7 million in transactions through the new ATM configuration since it was set up one year ago, Layton said.

Layton's new-found independence with his ATMs extends beyond spontaneous deployments and reliable uptime. He now uses real-time data to instantly research transactions and monitor cash levels and the health of each machine.

For example, cash reports returned by Denali's shared network were 16 hours old. Consequently, the CU kept excess cash in the machines so that they wouldn't run low.

Now, monitoring the cash balance in real-time, Layton is able to reduce the amount of cash sitting in the ATMs by $1.2 million per month.

"We can see how much cash is in the ATMs right now and roll out an armored car just as the cash is depleted," said Layton.

Cash reports weren't the only service limitation Denali experienced when ATMs were driven by the shared network, Layton said.

Layton also struggled to implement Denali's ATM strategy. "The shared network would only allow ATM install on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. A state or screen change could take 90 days or longer.

"We can now enhance the brand identity of our EFT/ATM network without having to wait for everyone else on the shared network to agree," Layton said. "We were ready to take our ATM platform and ATM driving to the next level."

The Diebold-Stratus-Postilion solution runs in the Microsoft Windows environment, uses the SQL Server database and allows ATMs to be set up and configured through a point-and-click interface.

CUJ Resources

For additional information on this story:

* Denali Alaskan FCU www.denalifcu.org

* Stratus at www.stratus.com

* Mosaic at www.mosaicsoftware.com

* Diebold at www.diebold.com

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