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!

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.

7 Credit Union Branch Upgrades for Your Retail Strategy and Budget

August 24, 2021

Phrases like ‘the new normal’ and ‘Zoom fatigue’ are some of the hottest of 2020 and 2021, since COVID-19 hit the U.S.  

Another: The branch is dead. Long live the branch!

Branches have changed and will continue to evolve, but members – regardless of age – will always need them for more consultative financial services. Creating a better return on investment, means smaller real estate footprints with high-tech and high-touch services. Or your credit union may have the greatest location for a branch, but you no longer require so much space.

Here are some best practices for your credit union branching strategy – and wallet – as you prepare your credit union and your budget for 2022 and beyond.

  1. Outsource to experts. Credit union leaders cannot be expected to know everything. Find a solid branch consulting firm and rely on them for advice on locations, size, technology and design or re-design.
Streamlining the Credit Union Branch
  1. Eliminate friction. Leverage technology that can make your branches and team members more efficient, while offering a high-tech and high-touch experience for members. Wescom Resources Group’s Tellergy is a platform that ensures transaction accuracy and security, while also providing your frontline team with more time to focus on members’ well-being rather than entering data. Learn more about Tellergy here!
  2. Decentralize and empower experienced lenders and frontline staff. Consider whether all decisions need to run up the same chain of command, or whether a flatter organization would provide better leadership development, decision making and member service.
  3. Staff appropriately, cross train and think about the universal banker model. Hire your frontline team for character and personality over existing skills. That former Starbuck barista might become your members’ new favorite teller. Members go into the branch for a human experience, so give them what they want. Also, discuss whether the universal banker model is right for your credit union; as an alternative, cross train your frontline staff, so members feel cared for and an emotional connection to that person.
  4. Respect the senses.

Sight: People look left when they enter a building and then turn right. Angled passageways and spaces are more inviting. Design or redesign your branch for humans.

Sound: Low-volume music invites people to stay longer while slightly louder music can hurry them along. Think about which works better for your credit union and membership.

Smell: One study fund that citrus scents decrease impulse buying but increase purchases for more “contemplative shoppers,” which is important when you’re talking about high-dollar purchases like a car or home.

Taste (yes, taste!): Hungry people make less wise decisions, so offer snacks to help curb buyer’s remorse for that loan.

Touch: The sturdiness of your branch fixtures, technology and furniture makes an impression, so make them ones of quality, stability and strength.

  1. Location, location, location. If your credit union has a branch in an ideal spot but finds it has too much space for the technology driven, COVID world, offering up part of your space as a community center for area events or other companies to use provides yet another reason for members and potential members to come into the branch and can help network the credit union for more and deeper partnerships in the community.
  1. Consistency. Branding, messaging and service should be consistent across all your credit union’s platforms. McDonalds didn’t become wildly popular for its great food or customer service – it’s consistent (right down to the broken ice cream machines).

Credit union branches are far from dead but give them the rebirth they and your members deserve to maintain relationships and relevance in your community.

Credit Unions’ Best Disaster Defense Is a Good Offense

July 16, 2021

Credit union business continuity and disaster recovery planning takes time, effort and money – resources credit unions are short on these days. 

But it’s not just credit unions. A recent article from Security Magazine reported that just 54% –barely half – of companies have plans in place. That’s a dangerous proposition for any company, but especially financial institutions and particularly credit unions, which have worked for a century to earn members’ long-term trust.

During our recent webinar, Trends in Credit Union Data ManagementWescom Resources Group President David Cerwinski explained that the volume and sophistication of cyberattacks continue to climb. He pointed to an example of a New Jersey bank that was hacked by a group calling itself Avaddon, which held the bank’s systems for ransom. Midway through the ransomware attack, the hackers backed off for reasons unknown. This attack could have been much worse, but the fact that it happened proves that all business, including credit unions, need to address the problem before it becomes a major issue.

To protect your credit union from cyberthreats, Alex Munro, CIO at Wescom Credit Union, advised those responsible for credit union business continuity and disaster recovery keep in mind:

Prevention: Ensure all your credit union’s cybersecurity software and firewalls are up to date. Additional employee training may also be necessary to avoid potential threats due to human error.

Detection: Being able to quickly detect an attack is paramount. Consider getting some software that detects rate of change, so if anything unusual happens you’ll know right away.

Mitigation: If a hacker is still able to get past your defenses, the next step is to mitigate damage. One option Munro discussed was immutable copy software, which is a static and pristine copy of your credit union’s data that can never be changed or removed. 

Recovery: Once the attack has passed, your credit union can begin steps to recovery. It’s a good idea to have cybersecurity insurance, and don’t be afraid to have professionals review your IT systems and get them back online.

Return To BAU: Business As Usual serving members.

Andy Tripp, TTCU CIO, is “shifting our keeping-the-lights-on mentality to partnering with the business to drive our strategic initiatives.” WRG has been a valuable partner in that, providing the managed core services TTCU requires without the internal resources. “We were hampered by what the core can’t do,” he explained, “and we converted to a modern core.”

As part of its conversion to Corelation, TTCU selected WRG for its credit union-specific knowledge in addition to the day-to-day tech expertise. “Our time up has increase. Our back and failover capabilities have increased. Our security around the core has increased and morale increased.” Ultimately, TTCU is saving 15 hours each week to focus on improving member service and moving TTCU’s business forward with credit union business continuity planning and protection off the team’s plate.

Want to learn more? Contact Kerry at kschiappa@wescomresources.com today!

Technology Is the Future of Credit Union Branches

July 6, 2021

Credit union branches were among the many business outlets forced to close their doors to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now branches are opening back up again! After a year of primarily digital banking, how can credit unions keep their branches relevant?

Credit union branches are alive and well. According to an article from CU Management, one key function of credit union branches is social interaction. No app or digital banking service can replace talking with someone face-to-face for many credit union members. However, your credit union’s frontline can run more efficiently by leveraging technology in the branch. Give your frontline team more time for face time with Tellergy!

Many believe younger members aren’t interested in visiting your branches, but that simply is not the case. When they do, they expect it to be as seamless and stress-free as your digital platforms, so implementing technologies, like Tellergy, that can make transactions more secure in the branch, faster and provide your credit union another marketing opportunity. Millennials and Gen Z coming up behind them may not come to the branch as often, but they do like to work with someone in-person for more complex issues. It’s important to invest in a retail operations strategy to meet your credit union’s needs, as well as the needs of your members.

Technological innovations and automation within the branch enhance your employees’ ability to serve members, supplementing the member experience. Branch automation creates efficiencies for your team, so they have more time to attend to what’s important: your members and their needs, financial, social and otherwise. 

Credit union branches remain critical in today’s digital world; ensure your members’ in-branch experience is secure, savvy and efficient as your digital member experience. After living in lockdown for the last 15 months, human interaction is more important than ever. Spend the time to upgrade your credit union’s branch technology to ensure your credit union’s relevancy for many years to come.

Tellergy from Wescom Resources Group increases security for your members and efficiency for your staff. Learn more here!