Breaking the Mystique: Neighbors CU Interview Case Study
Neighbors Federal Credit Union
Rolling out NCR ITMs
6 out of 9 branches
Neighbors employs a full-time greeter at all ITM branches and have a teller pod with cash recycler that is not regularly manned for transactions that aren’t appropriate to the ITM (for large commercial deposits or money orders, for instance).
Remote tellers are set up off-site in a call center with specialized screens that allow tellers to always be looking directly at the member even while they’re viewing their own computer screen.
The main case study was their Denham Springs branch after the 2016 area floods. The branch staff was reduced from 11 FTEs to 6 and the branch has 3 lobby terminals, 2 drive through machines. In other branches, Neighbors is rolling out 1 retrofitted machine inside each branch so members can get used to the transaction platform, including having one at the Walker High School student branch.
Currently, 25 ITMs are being run by 12-13 remote tellers, but in the beginning, they needed 1 teller for each machine as tellers and members started to settle into the new routine. The goal is to go from 55 full time tellers to 30 across the board.
Other branch staff at the ITM branches are FSRs (or universal bankers) which were trained prior to the operational switch and a branch manager. FSRs have shared offices to promote interaction with members in the lobby until privacy dictates moving toward an office. Lending and auditors have all been moved out of the branches to a centralized location in the headquarters with internal communications between them and FSRs.
While many credit unions are sold on the idea of extending branch hours with ITMs, Neighbors has taken the approach of “nibbling at the edges” by adding 30 minutes onto the beginning and end of the day to see if transaction volume is high enough for additional extensions of time.
Members enter the branch and are greeted by FSRs in the lobby. Depending upon what the member needs, they either get directed to the ITM, the teller pod (for tasks the ITM can’t handle), or a shared office. Loans, transactions, communications and member relationships are all driven by the on-site FSRs.
The transaction times have improved from 8 minutes for a traditional teller to 2 1/2 minutes on an ITM.
Branch traffic is mostly declining, but with rising numbers in non-member transactions through co-op banking. New account numbers are better in ITM branches than other branches. Neighbors doesn’t currently use metrics that would credit loans back to branches so loan numbers at ITM branches versus other operational types is unknown for them.
Lessons Learned and Advice to Others:
- Neighbors started out with ITMs that had no handset (phone attachment). This led to some privacy issues so handset attachments were later added to the ITMs.
- Some contracts have to be renegotiated based on the new model. If your service or software is done on a per machine basis, and the volume will go up with implementing ITMs, you may need to renegotiate terms for future contracts.
- You must have employee buy-in. Employees driving traffic to the ITMs and away from traditional usage of the branch is key to get member buy-in of the technology.
- Drive-thru stacking is extremely important. You may have less lanes available due to the cost of the machines, but since transactions are faster it will move the line. Think: Chick-Fil-A drive through with long lines that are constantly moving.
- ITMs require wider drive through lanes. If you are retrofitting an existing drive through, some work will need to be done to convert it without making it look hodge-podge.
- Interview new tellers via Facetime to see how comfortable they are being on-screen.
- Consider redundancy on the call center and/or having a second location of some remote tellers.
- The first 90 days of change are rough. It will get better.
Posted: October 23, 2018