For some time now, I have been writing, tweeting, posting, etc. about the credit union industry’s need for technological advancements and the advantages and disadvantages that come with it. Technology has been transforming credit unions around the country in recent years; however, it was not until this afternoon that I experienced major innovation in technology for myself.
I have been a credit union member for three years and have had nothing but positive experiences with my credit union (except for that one time they were all out of fresh-baked cookies when I arrived 5 minutes before closing). Then, life happened; I got married, moved out-of-town, and started a brand new career. My local credit union was no longer in a convenient location; however, it was certainly not difficult to find one close by!
Filling out an online application for my husband and I was quick, easy and done on the comfort of my couch. The next day, a customer service representative gave me a quick call to let me know that my application had been approved. All that was left to do was to fund the account with the required deposit.
Until today, I had never seen the inside of the branch. Walking in, I thought to myself, this is a little strange, there are only two people working here and a number of members have gone in and out.
I heard a couple other voices on the other side of the wall and made the assumption that additional representatives were simply out of my sight.
I made the gentleman aware of the purpose of my visit and he guided me around that “secret” corner. To my surprise, right in front of me, stood, not two people but machines (looked like ATMs) with a dividing wall in between. What is this? The gentleman asked if I had ever used a virtual teller before and began to walk me through the process. I have heard, published, tweeted and posted about virtual tellers and the credit unions of the future and was finally going to experience the technology for myself.
So I pressed the start button and there to greet me was a friendly CSR! I could hear her, could she hear me? I found out quickly that she could as she asked how she could help me and acknowledged my response. Yes, I did feel a bit silly at first; however, within five minutes time, I had typed in my account number, made my deposit, received change, signed for the transaction and said farewell to my new friend in the computer. The little things excite me . . . so you could say I was thrilled!
What was even more intriguing was something I overheard at the end of my transaction. The woman next to me was finishing up as well and said to the representative, “It was nice chatting with you again. I am sure I will be in again soon.”
Virtual technology does not have to take the place of building personal relationships in the credit union industry; in fact, in this case, the relationship had already been built between member and representative all through a computer screen.
Although I found the advantages of this system abundant, I could see how it could pose a bit of difficulty for the older generation not as savvy with technology; there is a bit of a learning curve involved.
After my transaction was complete, I let the gentleman who assisted me know how great I thought the combination of virtual tellers and in person representatives was. Although I could not shake hands with the teller who assisted me, I was greeted when I walked in and assisted by a real person . . . the personal connection was still there.
Have you had a similar experience at your credit union? As technology transforms our credit union we would love to hear your stories; we encourage you to leave your story in the comments below.
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Written By: Amanda Keefe