With Digital Experience Upgrade, Credit Union Poised for Growth


How does a credit union secure continued growth and profitability? Executives at Finger Lakes Credit Union in Geneva, NY, believe the answer lies in a commitment to innovation and the delivery of an exceptional member experience.

Headquartered in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union is currently focused not only on expansion of its membership and reach, but also on organic wallet share growth of its existing members. Knowing the key to meeting those objectives lies in the cultivation of broad relationships, the credit union recently took stock of how its product offerings and strategic initiatives, especially those related to technology, were impacting member growth and retention.

As a result, Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union made the decision to enhance its digital banking and payment capabilities, adding enriched functionality for online and mobile banking and bill pay that positions the credit union to compete against institutions many times its size. With 15,000 members and $100 million in assets, the credit union is clearly poised for growth.

"Whether online or in the branch, our overriding goal is to provide our members with a seamless experience, letting them accomplish what they want to do – pay bills, check balances, transfer funds – quickly and in the fewest number of steps," said Bob McFadden, Executive Vice President, Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union. "When we looked at our digital banking and payment capabilities, we knew we had some work to do to meet that objective."

So, Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union rolled up its sleeves. The credit union set an ambitious six-month plan to convert its core online banking services, including advanced bill payment, and online and mobile banking. The implementation includes personal financial management (PFM) tools, improved integration with third-party solutions and additional enhancements. The powerful new PFM feature is making an impact, with 25 percent of the credit union's online banking users already taking advantage of the service just four months after implementation.

As part of its comprehensive online banking solution, the credit union's members now have access to "family view" capabilities, allowing members to sign on once and view their family's entire relationship across multiple accounts. Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union also introduced person-to-person payments to its members.

"We could have made other choices that would have worked well for us, but we elected to use a suite of digital solutions from Fiserv as a differentiator in a competitive market and a great value-add for our members," said McFadden. "Only a handful of financial institutions offer the advanced personal financial management tool our members now have access to, for example. We believe these types of offerings will be a way to grow wallet share of current members while winning over a new generation of potential new members."

What else does it take to increase wallet share in today's competitive market? For Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union, it means an increased focus on the member experience. Through ongoing staff training, Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union emphasizes providing "above-and-beyond" member experiences, especially when there's a service issue or concern. As more and more members choose to bank digitally, every interaction must reinforce the value of a member's relationship with the credit union.

Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union's efforts are paying off. Although they've only begun to roll out the new and enhanced offerings from Fiserv, the credit union has seen a 50 percent increase in mobile banking usage and a 30 percent uptick in bill pay transactions. At this rate, the credit union will double its mobile banking and bill pay usage well within the first year. Since the move, they've also seen a significant drop in the number of service calls regarding bill pay issues and a sharp increase in eStatement adoption. The credit union expects a similar positive response when it rolls out mobile deposit capture in the second quarter of 2014.

"As demographics change and members move away from in-branch transactions, we didn't want to be left behind by technology. We only have three branches and 34 employees, but we compete on a daily basis with very large entities," says McFadden. "We want to make sure our members are able to benefit from the digital transformation that's taking place in every part of our lives, including the ways we manage and move money."

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