Why being cool isn’t enough
It’s not enough to offer some cool, new app—it also needs to address a particular pain point if you want to see robust adoption that makes a real difference.
SURE, THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT – BUT if a financial app doesn’t address a real need or pain point, it’s not likely to catch on.
That’s why Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union and Virginia Credit Union stayed focused on meeting a specific member need. With that in mind, Southwest Financial wanted to offer an interactive, face-to-face mobile video banking app, while Virginia CU wanted to give members the ability to securely apply and track their mortgage applications.
“We have been looking at phasing into more of a teller-less environment,” said Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union’s CEO Melanie Kennedy. “So we were looking for integrated teller solutions.”
The CU worked with Dallas-based POPIN Video Collaboration to make it happen. “This was even better than an integrated teller solution for us because you didn’t have to go to a designated spot,” said Kennedy adding that the CU is the first FI in Texas to offer this mobile face-to-face banking solution. “You can be anywhere and do anything with the exception of cash.”
The $65 million Dallas-based Southwest Financial FCU serves 10,768 members. Of these members, roughly 6,000 are combined active mobile and online banking users.
POPIN Founder and CEO Gene Pranger said Southwest Financial FCU will soon be joined by two more Texas-based credit unions that are currently in beta testing phase.
“The biggest pain point in the credit union industry is for the smaller institutions and the reason is they cannot afford a brick-and-mortar retail distribution strategy because of the cost,” said Pranger. “This [POPIN] is an excellent way to create reach among members as well as effectively serve them at the moment of need.”
Depending on how a credit union is configured and how much beta testing is required, Pranger said the POPIN Video Banking Collaboration solution can be integrated in as little as two weeks or as many as three months or more. Kennedy said that the process, which required board approval, testing, document uploading and training, took roughly nine months.
The Cu-branded app will be available on PCS, iphones and Androids. As of late November, the solution was still being tested by employees and 10 selected members.
“We think it will be mostly used for account openings and loan closings, but there are so many more uses, such as stop payments,” said Kennedy.
MORTGAGE APP MILESTONES
In an effort to provide members with real-time notifications of loan status, while streamlining communication with loan officers and enabling secure documents uploading, Virginia Credit Union (VACU) developed a mobile mortgage app. “Most of the technology these days is moving into the mobile space, but the mortgage application process really lags behind,” said VACU’S Technology Innovation Manager Heather Meaker.
To help meet the demands of its 263,000 members, Meaker and her team began looking into app options in April 2016, eventually partnering with the Lehi, Utah-based Simplenexus, a firm that develops mobile apps for loan officers.
“By giving members certain tools to utilize, they can be more in control about their mortgage,” said Simplenexus Chief Marketing Officer Joe Wilson. “So it works on both ends and is a benefit all around.”
Meaker said the app, which was a finalist in the 2017 Gartner Eye on Innovation Awards, is being expanded to all VACU’S mortgage applications.
Approximately 220 VACU members were invited to the pilot with roughly 50 members closing their mortgage using the app. VACU has 160,000 active online banking users and 129,000 active mobile banking users.
“Forty-three percent of the app users used the document upload feature; several sent more than 25 documents. This was a much wider use of that feature than predicted,” said Meaker who added the app has reduced the average completion time of a mortgage by 10 days. “We also learned that many members had already provided needed documents prior to app download, which identified a process opportunity for us.”
Though security is always a concern, Wilson said a strong track record has already been established. “We process up to 300,000 documents from borrowers to lenders each month; so several million borrowers have used the platform and we haven’t had one document kicked back to us from a lender for any reason,” said Wilson.
Looking forward, Meaker is expecting to add an additional 160 loans to the CU’S portfolio in 2018 “without staff increases.”
A Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union representative uses the CU’S video chat system for members.