Naval personnel often find themselves on the move, so quickly and globally that acclimation is a major part of the Navy's service to its members. Financial services providers in this environment can lose business to competitors pretty quickly if they don't provide the right mix of product, and do so in an easily accessible way.
At Navy Federal Credit Union, much of that responsibility falls on the shoulders of Meghan Gound, assistant vice president of eservices for the 4 million-member credit union, which also serves members of other branches of the Armed Services and their relatives. A ten-year veteran of Navy FCU who has been in her current position for about two years, Gound is responsible for day-to-day operations of mobile and web at Navy FCU. It's a job that has taken on a high profile at the institution as it expands its internal design and member experience development, putting Gound and her team of about 20 people — which Gound says is small by the credit union's standards — in the spotlight as the credit union goes up against competitors such as USAA, which has a long-standing international mobile reach.
The credit union, which first launched mobile banking in 2010 with text alerts, followed up with native iPhone and Android apps, and offering services such as finding branches and ATMs, balance queries, transfers, loan payments, rate checks and calculators.
The credit union has built an internal team to work on design in an effort to match design to the changing needs and geographic diversity of its base.
In an interview on Monday afternoon, Gound discussed that move, the diversity of the customer experience staff and how the redesign work is coming along.
BTN: A lot of institutions look outside banking to recruit talent to drive mobile innovation in a fiercely competitive environment. How have you drawn new people to the internal design and experience team?
Gound: We have brought in people with experience in other delivery channels and in customer service. We have also included people with backgrounds in IT, telecom, mobile technology and project management. We are now handling everything connected to user experience. That includes everything from the early focus groups to testing to development for mobile and web.
Why did the credit union decide to do internal work on design and experience?
Are there recent examples of how the new team has made changes that have impacted user experience?
We removed the requirement that users of the iPhone and Android platform have to register for mobile banking via SMS. [Direct registration] is a more seamless way to register for mobile banking, which is helpful whether members need to access the service internationally or at home. Users can also now save their information for quick access. The site was also redesigned to make it easier to find information. [The redesign appears to have been successful thus far — most of the user comments on the app store on Friday morning were positive.]
What are some of the new features in the pipeline?
We have mobile deposit for iPhone and will be adding that technology to the Android app very soon. We're also adding bill payment, and will also update funds transfers. Currently, the credit union has transfer capabilities on both platforms. We will add the capabilities to transfer from member to member and to an outside financial institution. The credit union will also release an iPad app next year.
Do your members have unique needs that require a different release schedule?
For the most part our members are normal people that are doing their jobs day to day. But all of our members need to access their accounts wherever they are, so we have introduced some features that are particular to military personnel, like currency converters and enabling people to log in wherever they are located… A big part of working on experience in house was to streamline releases. We have developed an agile approach to development that allows us to release updates more frequently.