3 Ways Branch Technology Upgrades Boost ROI

June 24, 2022
Wescom Resources Group Tellergy Signature Pad

Much of today’s technology talk is centered around digital banking and buzzwords like embedded finance, but your credit union branch network is a prime spot to up your tech game to serve members better and more efficiently.

First, the focus of data security has been around data breaches in the online ether, but in the branch it can be just as dangerous for members’ personally identifiable information and other private data to be breached. Has member interaction in your branches been neglected when we think about data security? As we share in a recent blog, members are coming back to our branches after a nearly two-year hiatus.

Often the first information requested by your team is a member number. The Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) requires financial institutions to protect and implement policies regarding consumers’ personally identifiable information, codified by the Financial Privacy Rule. Additionally, a bipartisan group of congresspeople have introduced new legislation that may or may not be intended to cover credit unions, but it definitely demonstrates legislators’ appetite for additional consumer privacy protections. 

Maintaining compliance with data security is just as crucial in the branch as it is in the digital realm.

Second, leveraging member data privacy concerns can help your credit union deliver on better service for competitive advantage. How many times has your frontline team had to tell a member standing across the counter from them that their balance is negative? That would be incredibly embarrassing for your member to have that information overheard by anyone who happens to be standing nearby, including their neighbor or boss. Or perhaps a retired member is checking the balance of her IRA that has hundreds of thousands of dollars in it. Providing that information verbally across the counter could endanger that member. Being able to deliver that information reliably and securely is critical.

Third, while ensuring security measures to protect member data and privacy is key, increased member service levels also opens the frontline team to develop deeper relationships that can lead to increased share of wallet. When they have more time to actively listen to and engage with members, they have greater opportunities to help (read: cross sell) members based on their actual, current needs.

One platform can help solve each of these tangible opportunities and urgent problems for your credit union and your members: Tellergy. Experience what Tellergy can do for your credit union to better serve members and protect their information in your branches. It securely authenticates members in the branch, accelerates transaction speed at the teller counter and helps your credit union promote promotional campaigns. Wescom Resources Group’s software seamlessly integrates into your credit union’s core system, allowing members to verify their identities with the swipe or dip of a card – with the option for the credit union to also require a PIN. Members can conduct their transaction on the keypad and simply review it on the easy-to-read display. Members can even update their own information within the platform. Finally, display your customized marketing banners to promote your latest activities and specials.

See how BayPort Credit Union is leveraging Tellergy for secure, in-branch transactions!

For credit unions, not much is more important than compliance, security and improved member service. As legislators and regulators continue to dig into issues of consumer protection and data security, updating the technology in your branches is just as important as your digital channels.  

Enhancing Credit Union Relevance in a Quickly Changing World

June 24, 2022
Wescom CU CEO Darren Williams at Corelation

An expansion on Wescom CU CEO Darren Williams’ recent presentation at the Corelation Client Conference by WESCOM RESOURCES GROUP President Dave Cerwinski.

When I joined the credit union movement in 2006, credit unions had about an 8% share of the overall US banking market. Our common view, then and now, was that this share was too small considering the significant advantages we had over banks. In three critical areas – rates/fees, member service, and digital technology – credit unions enjoyed well-established advantages they fought long and hard for.

Wescom CU CEO Darren Williams at Corelation, art sponsored by enacomm

Fast forward to today, and we see a picture we might not have expected. Credit Union market share remains at about 8%. Due to growth, consolidation, and economies of scale, banks have in many cases wiped out the rate and fee advantages we once enjoyed. What’s more, credit unions’ service advantages have apparently eroded. This is difficult to prove, but at least one indicator, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) portrays credit unions’ 9-point advantage over banks (84 versus 75 five years ago) on overall customer satisfaction has flipped to a 76 to 78 deficit – an 11-point swing from 2006 to 2021. This same survey also holds that consumers now rate banks higher than credit unions on such metrics as Quality of Mobile App (84 to 83) and Website (83 to 80). This suggests that our Digital Technology advantage has also evaporated.

By observation, we also can see how consumers have changed the way they vote with their wallets. By Raddon’s estimate, three out of four millennials today claim one of the six big banks as their primary financial institution, up from about 50% of the same group just three years ago. And with millennials increasing their influence in the broader economy, this trend does not bode well for credit unions.

It begs the question: How do we remain relevant to consumers for our services in the years ahead?

At Wescom CU and Wescom Resources Group, we don’t fancy ourselves as futurists or visionaries, but we are definitely realists – able to look this challenge in the face and see a path to success. We don’t think for a moment that our solution at Wescom is a universal one. Our situation as credit unions is probably more like a memorable scene from the movie City Slickers in which the character Curly declares, while holding up his index finger, “There’s onesolution to life,” and when asked what that is, he responds, “It’s up to you to figure that part out!”

That said, imperatives faced by every credit union exist in which Wescom Resources Groups can play an instrumental role in carving their path forward.

One imperative is the need for scale. Across all areas of credit union operations, we must find ways to tap into the benefits of greater scale – in systems, platforms, transaction volume, and other processes. The six US mega-banks that have three-quarters of millennials as customers all possess significant scale in their operations. At Wescom Resource Group, we provide our credit union clients access to a platform and hosting center that serves credit unions with an aggregate of more than $23 Billion in assets – and we’re only at 25% of our capacity in that center. This means our platform scales to nearly $100 Billion in assets! This is not the same size as Chase or BofA, but with the diminishing marginal returns the mega-banks get past a certain point it puts us really close! Therefore, a small credit union outsourcing to Wescom Resources Group gets access to platform efficiencies and economies that equip them to compete with confidence.

A second imperative we all face is a need to invest in our people. In today’s market, we need innovators in every area of credit union operation. This includes in traditional areas like lending, member service, and marketing. But in our modern era we also need innovators in areas like data analytics, contact center, and payments. As we grow, we need sufficient organizational size to achieve a breadth and depth of talent in wide areas. We can’t do this single-handedly, we need to do it through leveraging our expertise among each other. The good news is that there’s a sweet spot in organization size when it comes to innovation. Too small, and you can’t afford all the talent you need. Too big, and your people get lost in bureaucracy. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot, where innovation reaches is biggest impact. So to compete effectively with relevance against the largest banks, we don’t need to be their same size. We can run swiftly and more effectively at a smaller size, just so long as we’re in the sweet spot.

Wescom Resources Group helps its clients occupy the sweet spot by providing the breadth and depth of our people’s talent across wide areas of IT operations and management, including Computer Ops, Network/Telecom, Enterprise Server Management, Database Architecture, App Development, Business Analytics, and more. A Wescom Resources Group client’s investment in our services enables them to tap into this talent at a small fraction of the cost of fielding this team on their own. And the investment unlocks the ability to redirect their strategic focus into other areas of growth – either through in-house resources, or hopefully via collaboration with another CUSO in different operational areas.

We don’t presume to have all the answers to the hard questions around enhancing our relevance. But we definitely have some of the building blocks. Over more than 20 years as a CUSO, we’ve worked with dozens of clients to arrange these building blocks, sometimes in unique ways, to ensure that in the areas of data processing and management, they have access to an innovative team that large banking competitors would envy! It’s good to have those advantages, and we should take them wherever we can!

Benefits of IaaS for Credit Unions

May 13, 2022

Credit unions, as cooperatives, are already familiar with leveraging economies of scale through collaboration. Your digital infrastructure is no different.

Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, allows credit unions to securely scale technology and capabilities at a fraction of the cost through service providers. Typically, IaaS includes everything from servers to storage to networking and operating software – the entire stack. This can be used exclusively or in combination with on-prem technologies.

All seeing eye representing comprehensive technology for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for credit unions

Credit unions can enjoy many benefits of this model. First and foremost is scalability; add and subtract based on your needs without taking up space and wasting resources. Use what you need and eliminate management tasks by outsourcing them to your provider. Think of what your IT team can accomplish when they are no longer responsible for the mundane, frequent patching and testing. Consider the security of having experts solely dedicated to preventing and monitoring for internal and external threats and acting quickly and automatically when a threat is detected.

And at a fraction of the cost!

IaaS also improves the reliability of your technology for your staff and your members. No more stressing about your systems going down. IaaS can provide data backups and automatic failovers to keep your member data secure and the credit union up and running!

The Power of a CUSO

And with a CUSO, all of that is even better because IaaS is built specifically for credit unions by credit unions. Product support is optimized for credit unions’ data management needs, like routine job automation and processing, network load balancing and firewall, storage area network, data backup and ransomware protection.

Plus, subject matter experts for credit unions in Information Security, Host System Programming, Server Administration & Engineering, Network & Telecommunications and Host Computer Operations. Copious, highly specific expertise can be obtained at a much-reduced rate than a single credit union would invest to staff up, thanks to the power of collaboration.

The Power of Wescom Resources Group

Our people, products and processes provide credit unions with access to the scalability, security and reliability they require to thrive in an ever-changing, digitally driven world. Wescom Resources Group’s experts deliver 24/7 focused support, making your credit union’s systems ultra-secure and highly available. 

We can make that claim because our Unitri data management features:

  • Two separate data center locations
  • Primary system capacity for client-provided servers or leased access to our shared systems
  • Failover system capacity via leased access to our shared systems
  • Numerous system hosting features.

And Wescom Resources Group’s team updates, tests and has those systems audited on a regular basis to ensure our clients’ business continuity for their members. We save your staff a tremendous amount of time by handling repetitive work activities, allowing them to stay focused on strategy and innovation. Learn more about Wescom Resources Group’s Unitri Data Management here!

Member Facing Updates to Welcome Them Back to the Branch

April 28, 2022

It’s been a couple of years since some of your members came into your credit union branches on a regular basis, thanks to COVID 19. How are you welcoming them back?

According to a survey by software company EPAM Systems, even during the pandemic, 79% of consumers used a branch in 2021. And it’s not just your older members: 40% of 18- to 24-year old consumers visited a financial institution’s branch at least once a month in 2021. These statistics show that news of the death of the branch has been greatly exaggerated.

The definition of member experience has certainly evolved. It’s not just a friendly greeting and a smile at the frontline. Constantly improving the member experience – and your credit union’s bottom line – is crucial to maintaining relevance in their lives. Welcome members back with new user-friendly, time-saving technology – and, yes, a smile, too!

  1. Nurture existing relationships. Share how you’ve missed them with a heart-felt welcome back message on the signature pad at the teller station. 
  2. Improve the security of their data with signature pads that tie securely into your core banking system, so their personal financial information is protected from eavesdroppers
  3. Protect your members’ assets from fraud with card authentication at the signature pad
  4. Market offers in your signature pad to increase campaign awareness and increase wallet share
  5. Gain insight with a member satisfaction survey right at the signature pad, so you can take action and keep members happy

As your credit union is considering its technology projects, be careful not to neglect your branches. Even your mobile app users need a branch! In fact, 36% of consumers used their financial institution’s mobile app to find a branch or ATM, according to ValuePenguin. 

Member-facing updates provide great bang for the buck. Wescom Resources Group’s Tellergy Branch Automation helps improve member service efficiencies on both sides of the teller counter. Its member verification feature means the member is authenticated quickly and securely – without your members speaking their account numbers across the counter nor tellers telling them their account balances for potential fraudsters to hear and take advantage of. Tellergy also offers marketing communications options, so you can get your message in front of your members at every touchpoint. Finally, it will help brand your credit union as tech-savvy and convenient.

Products like Tellergy, built by CUSO Wescom Resources Group, have not been readily available beyond the big banks until now. To differentiate your credit union with Tellergy, contact us today!

Spring 2022 Connections Newsletter

April 18, 2022

In this issue, Wescom Resources Group clients will enjoy:

  • President’s message from Dave Cerwinski 
  • Wescom Resources Group is Back on the Road, and we hope to see you soon!
  • Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud Data Management White Paper
  • New Partnership and Client spotlights and more!

Sincerely,
Wescom Resources Group

Seven Steps for Cybersecurity During Times of Heightened Risk

March 30, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had ripple effects around the world, from the testing of NATO to even higher prices at the gas pump. Credit unions themselves are not immune as the administration has warned of increased cyberattack risk in retaliation to the sanctions levied in response to the ongoing conflict.

cybersecurity concept; preventing cyberattack

“This is a critical moment to accelerate our work to improve domestic cybersecurity and bolster our national resilience,” President Biden said in an official statement. “ I have previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we’ve imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners. It’s part of Russia’s playbook. Today, my Administration is reiterating those warnings based on evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks.”

The NCUA’s letter to credit unions explains the need for heightened awareness around cyber incidents with a particular focus on phishing. Phishing uses email or websites to elicit personal data or to entice victims to download malicious software by posing as a trustworthy entity. Smishing is similar but carried out via text.

To avoid your credit union becoming a victim of a cyberattack:

  • Review the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Shields-Up website, which provides information about cybersecurity threats, including several resources and mitigation strategies
  • Assess your credit union’s cyber-preparedness using NCUA’s Automated Cybersecurity Evaluation Toolbox
  • Ensure your staff are aware, trained and regularly tested. The human element is often the riskiest
  • Mandate multifactor authentication and strong passwords
  • Perform comprehensive audits of your credit union’s software patches
  • Backup, backup, backup
  • Employ failovers to ensure your credit union can continue serving members should a cyberattack break through your defenses

And if all that – and a lot more – seems like more than you’d like to handle, Wescom Resources Group is here to help with the solutions to simplify your credit union’s data management. Our Unitri solution allows your credit union to maintain the control you desire and get the help you need from experienced experts who manage credit union IT systems 24/7. 

Reorient your IT staff’s time toward strategic, member-focused solutions. Reallocate physical, financial and human resources. Reimagine your technological infrastructure at scale, regardless of your credit union’s size.

CRMNext and Wescom Resources Group Join Forces to Provide Seamless Financial Services CRM Solution

March 14, 2022

CRMNEXT to offer market leading CRM platform hosted on Wescom Resources Group private cloud for seamless, high-availability financial services solution

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, March 9, 2022 — CRMNEXT, a global CRM solution provider for financial services, and Wescom Resources Group, an advanced technology solutions provider for credit unions, have announced a strategic partnership to benefit Credit Unions.

Credit unions are always looking at ways to streamline their IT operations. Because of the enormous advantages related to reduced CapEx and OPEX, along with faster time to market for new applications and services, cloud adoption is on the rise. 

In addition, credit unions are often looking for differentiated, cost-effective, and streamlined customer relationship management (CRM) solutions built to break down internal silos and deliver a superior member and employee experience. 

This partnership between CRMNEXT and Wescom Resources Group will provide credit unions the best of both worlds – a best-in-class CRM solution designed for financial institutions, and hosted in a top-tier private cloud solution that takes into account key quality, security, compliance, and regulatory requirements.

“For over 20 years Wescom Resources Group has managed clients’ core systems,” says Dave Cerwinski, President, Wescom Resources Group. “As credit unions increasingly deploy CRM systems to more fully manage member data, it’s a natural fit and a great value proposition for us to provide a reliable and secure cloud-based environment for a CRM system.”

“Historically, credit unions have existed to be a better banking alternative for their members,” says Mark Monsees, Product Manager, Wescom Resources Group. “What I like most about this partnership is that we are providing the technological resources and data management solutions so that credit unions can more efficiently and effectively serve their members.”

“We are excited to be partnering with WRG,” says James Gilbert, Head of Marketing at CRMNEXT. “The combined power of CRMNEXT’s advanced CRM platform, along with WRG’s private cloud solution will provide credit unions with a powerful, comprehensive, and seamless solution for simplifying work, driving growth, and delivering on experience.” 

To find out more about CRMNEXT’s CRM platform, go to www.crmnext.com. For more information on WRG’s data management and IT service solutions for credit unions, visit wescomresources.com.  

About CRMNEXT

CRMNEXT, Inc., is the leading global CRM solution provider in financial services. A Gartner Magic Quadrant Challenger company, CRMNEXT picks up where traditional CRMs leave off providing work simplification, robotic automation, immediate results and greater empowerment for both team members and customers. It eliminates the artificial barriers between human and digital channels, enables innovation and world-class, omnichannel customer interactions from a single, unified platform. With more than one million bankers and one billion customers globally, CRMNEXT has become the largest CRM in financial services by effectively recalibrating the potential for both large and small organizations to grow assets, quality relationships, profitability, service and innovation. For more information, visit www.crmnext.com.

About Wescom Resources Group

Backed by Wescom Credit Union, a credit union with over $5 billion in assets and over 200,000 members, Wescom Resources Group provides credit unions with technology solutions that simplify the management of their data. With over 80 clients, WRG offers one of the most robust managed services platforms in the credit union industry. In addition, WRG’s TellergyTM  solution provides branch automation for today’s modern credit union. For more information, visit www.wescomresources.com

Wescom Resources Group Press Contact

Sarah Snell Cooke

Cooke Consulting Solutions

E: sarah@cookeconsultingsolutions.om

C: 443-472-6276

CRMNEXT Press Contact:

Kristina Keene

Marketing Manager

E: Kristina.keene@crmnext.com

C: 801-232-4925

How does your credit union’s brand present to your members?

March 7, 2022

Brand is more than a logo. It’s not transaction marketing simply sent to provide a shot in the arm to get loans flowing. Your credit union’s brand represents who you are, what you do and why you do it.

Digitization and transformation are increasingly critical for efficiencies, capabilities and yes, brand. When a member walks into your branch, do they see something straight out of the 1970s, or a sleek modern design supplemented by technology where they can receive high-tech and high-touch service?

A report in the The Financial Brand found that consumers and credit union executives still believe branches are necessary to providing a comprehensive member experience. It continued that the branch represents one way to establish your credit union brand and identity, allows for deeper member relationship development and remains the most effective sales channel. 

“Some credit union executives feel strongly that their member base wants face-to-face interaction and have continued to open new branches even during the pandemic,” according to a study by WestMonroe. In fact, the company said that fully 60% of credit union and bank executives find the branch to be their sales leading service channel, because it allows for more meaningful time with members.

Just ask your members what they see and experience with they enter the branch. What would they like added or subtracted? Maybe decreasing wait times in long lines. Perhaps an all-around more efficient and modern experience. Some may be on the fence about your digital offerings, so use their time in branch to educate them on how to use those tools, which are simple and seamless, and the security they can provide.

Tellergy Branch Technology for credit unions

Frictionless, digital service channels are a key piece of presenting a modern brand to your member. What about modernizing their in-branch experience, too? Wescom Resources Group offers our Tellergy Branch Technology platform that provides privacy, security and an efficient experience that also gives your frontline staff more time to chitchat, learn about members’ lives and cross sell a product or service that suits the members’ needs. Plus, it provides a slick, modern experience that reinforces your credit union brand as being built for the future. 

The WestMonroe report emphasized, “Those that are slow to embrace digital will find themselves in a difficult position, if not now then not too far into the future.”

Millennials and Gen Z are digital and mobile natives, and Gen X’s independent streak means it isn’t too shabby in its technology adaption either. Even boomers have learned to use their smart phones to catch up on their grandchildren’s pictures posted to Facebook and the occasional Zoom family holiday. Modernizing how your credit union’s brand presents to your members with current design and up-to-date technology is what your members want and need, and therefore, so does your credit union.

Choosing Credit Union Data Management Models: Public Cloud versus Private Cloud versus Hybrid 

March 7, 2022

Of the many hosted services and applications your credit union runs for serving your members or supporting employees, each of them are in various stages of evolution toward the cloud computing model. Much has been published about the general benefits of moving to the cloud across industries. But in credit union data management, there are unique aspects to consider. 

hybrid cloud versus private cloud versus public cloud computing for credit union data management

To help you sort through the noise, here’s a quick primer on the pros and cons of private clouds, public clouds, hybrid clouds, and traditional in-house IT infrastructure, specific to credit union data management and processing. As we go along, we’ll also mention the areas that WRG supports credit unions in.

A public cloud platform is provided by…

Contact Wescom Resources Group today to learn more about how our Unitri platform can help your credit union with data management, allow IT more time to work at a strategic level to grow your credit union and better serve members, and save time, money and headaches.

Winter 2021 Connections Newsletter

December 20, 2021

In this issue, Wescom Resources Group clients will enjoy:

  • President Dave Cerwinski’s message 
  • Wescom Resources Group is Growing!
  • A Tellergy Case Study with TTCU.
  • An Employee Spotlight on Senior Project Lead, Jennifer Foyer, and more!

Sincerely,
Wescom Resources Group