May 25, 2011
Credit Union Management magazine’s Web-only “Tech Time” column runs the fourth Wednesday of each month.
Imagine reducing your credit union’s enrollment and account opening process from 40 minutes to 4 minutes. Sounds far-fetched, right? Yet one credit union really did just that when it incorporated new account opening software into its operations.
$1.2 billion Truliant Federal Credit Union with 173,851 members and 18 branches in the Winston Salem, N.C., area implemented the accountWORKS account opening technology from fiVISION, Indianapolis, just over 18 months ago. The CU’s goal was not only to streamline new member account opening, but also make the process much simpler for staff.
The outcome of dropping the time to open a new account by more than a half hour (or 90 percent!) says a lot about how well the CU attained both goals.
Truliant FCU’s account opening process supports the CU’s process for determining what information to collect and how to set up a membership decision matrix that incorporates information from credit bureau, fraud, and Office of Foreign Asset control checks to give credit unions a predictable process.
accountWORKS’ enrollment and account opening technology supports applications regardless of where they come from: online, in the branch, from the call center, or through the mail. The idea is to provide a platform that allows opening memberships and accounts the same way throughout the organization.
According to Donnie Peaks, director of deposit services at Truliant FCU, the old way of opening accounts was cumbersome, unpredictable and time consuming. It took 35-40 minutes to open a new membership account by running a series of background checks, reviewing the information and re-entering the same data to create the membership on the credit union’s host processor, XP2 from Fiserv, Brookfield, Wis. (not to mention all the paper it created). With accountWORKS, the redundancies of re-keying member data have been eliminated and background checks are now automatically conducted. The whole process can be completed in four or five minutes.
“The ultimate goal was to shorten and streamline the whole process to make account opening incredibly easy for new members,” Peaks says. “We’ve been running this new technology for over a year now and the average time to open an account online at our credit union has been well under 10 minutes – which is a far cry from what it was at 30 to 40 minutes.”
Truliant FCU also needed an account opening process that was consistent throughout its 18 branches located in four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Ohio. For example, accountWORKS runs each application through a series of automated fraud, credit and other security checks and compares results to an approval matrix defined by the credit union. Depending on the results, each application is automatically approved or is placed into a review queue for further scrutiny. Even with these added steps, Truliant FCU receives a predictable, familiar and short process.
Speaking of productivity, during the first four months of 2011, the credit union entered 5,063 applications and completed 3,850 of them. Just over 76 percent of applicants became members based on these numbers – saving a whopping 1,925 hours of staff time in the process (and shortening the member wait time by about the same number of hours). Almost all of the remaining applicants were either declined by the credit union because of their credit history, or the applicant declined to pursue membership when one of the accounts they requested was not approved.
This account opening technology is now being expanded to fulfill two additional capabilities: offering new membership enrollment online to eligible consumers, and helping existing members open additional accounts through the security of home banking.
“Established home banking members can easily open new CDs, savings and checking accounts, and more in just a few minutes, day or night,” Peaks says. “And for potential new members, we want this process to be as easy, thorough, and quick as possible so their first impression of our credit union sets a positive tone from the get-go. We believe accountWORKS has played and will continue to play an important role in achieving this goal.”
Mike Lawson is principal of the PR/marketing firm DML Communications.