Pioneer Federal Credit Union sees an increase in mobile adoption rates and becomes the top rated banking app in Idaho.

November 03, 2018 01:00 PM


Click here to download Pioneer Federal Credit Union Written Case Study




An NCR Digital Banking case study


With its philosophy of People Helping People top of mind, Pioneer Federal Credit Union has implemented Digital Insight solutions to support the development of online and mobile banking services that enable it to deliver a consistently exemplary customer experience across digital as well as physical channels.







Community-focused federal credit union




Digital Insight solutions provide innovative and engaging online and mobile banking offerings that deliver outstanding user experiences to help financial institutions achieve their goals.




• A cost-effective and highly efficient multi-channel experience with a consistent look and feel—and a consistent level of service.


• Increased customer satisfaction, particularly among remote and overseas customers who now have access to ‘a branch in their hand’.


• Increase in revenues from successful cross-promotional activity between mobile and online banking platforms.


• A top-rated mobile banking app that has seen 30% year-on-year increase in usage and is now downloaded 350-500 times a week.


• 45% growth in remote deposit capture usage as well as increased use of loan repayment options.


• A long-term partnership with a shared vision of customer service excellence and the continual development of innovative new services.






Pioneer Federal Credit Union serves nearly 55,000 members across the state of Idaho, and has assets of more than $440,000,000. Since being founded in 1954, Pioneer has seen changes to its name, its customers, and its branches, but is still known for its innovative, substantive, and low-cost financial solutions, and, above all, for its commitment to the fundamental philosophy of the credit union movement—People Helping People.





At Pioneer, the ultimate goal is to provide the best possible service to all its members. Whether they come to a branch and engage with tellers in person, use interactive teller machines outside standard office hours, or prefer a longdistance bank-member relationship and bank remotely. The focus is always on ensuring a seamless, frictionless experience.


However, as mobile technologies increase in sophistication, customers have become more comfortable with the idea of online and mobile banking. Ostensibly, as new players in the digital banking space have begun penetrating the market, Pioneer recognized that its mobile-banking platform was no longer delivering the type of experience that its members deserved.


“At Pioneer we’re all about making sure our members have new and innovative services that will make banking easier and more convenient, while keeping up traditional service levels that come with being a community-focused credit union,” says Thomas. "We serve a very rural membership base that is spread over large parts of Idaho, and we wanted to make sure that those customers had the same great experience as our city-based members across all our digital and physical channels.” Pioneer also serves a large military membership, who are stationed all over the world and wanted a solution that would enable it to continue serving all its members in a way that works best for them, whether in Boise, rural Idaho or a military base overseas.




The team at Pioneer conducted a thorough search of the market to see which solutions were available and which would best serve both the needs of Pioneer and its membership. “Time after time, and product after product, it became increasingly obvious that NCR’s Digital Insight™ Online Banking platform was the solution we were looking for,” explains Thomas. “We wanted a partner whose vision was similar to our strategic plan, and we really found that in NCR. They could see where the future was going and were willing to carry on building the systems that we knew our members would want.”


NCR's digital banking platform was developed to make it easier for individual customers and small businesses to interact with their bank or credit union through digital channels. In turn, it helps financial institutions to increase active use among those customers and boost retention rates.


It is designed to support a number of on-demand features, including intuitive online banking with easy registration and a deep defense security environment, as well as anytime, anywhere mobile banking apps. It enables financial institutions to deliver consumer and business banking services through a single platform and develop a consistent experience, delivering customers the highest levels of reliability.


The Digital Insight platform is also highly customizable, enabling each organization the freedom to develop the types of services that best suit their customer base, while then taking advantage of white labeling and branding capabilities to ensure that they’re present on customer devices whenever and wherever they’re needed.


“We saw straight away that the Digital Insight platform was the easiest for us to use. It also had great eye-appeal, and it could be branded to fit what we were trying to do strategically,” says Thomas. “Plus we had great confidence in NCR’s implementation team, who helped us convert from our old platform and made the process easy for us. Once we were able to go live to our members, the same team was there to support us for the first week as we transitioned all of our members to the new platform.”





Since implementation, Pioneer has developed a number of popular digital services for members. Using Digital Insight solutions, they deployed their own mobile banking app, customizing the look and feel to match their own branding. While in the app, members can log into their accounts with secure biometric data—in this case a thumbprint—or download a widget to their phone so they don’t need to log in at all.


Through the app, Pioneer has been able to develop and provide innovative services such as its Skip-a-Pay solution, enabling members to request a short break in regular payments during more busy times such as Christmas or vacations. Previously they would have to get authorization from their branch and could only take a break at pre-set times. Now, given the app function, it’s a completely flexible and much more customercentric process.


Pioneer has also added loan-pay services to its platform. This has enabled them to reach out to members—some of whom may not be aware of their accounts with Pioneer—effectively placing the power of the branch in their hand. As a result, customers can make their payments remotely, even with a debit card from another institution, or with ACH. Pioneer members have also embraced the mobile remote check deposit functions, bypassing the need to have to visit a branch in person.


In addition to member-facing services, Pioneer has also added marketing and promotion services. Delivering targeted, right-place, right-time messaging, Promotion Suite Plus enables financial institutions to drive members to its website in order to take advantage on promotions being run, or to complete a loan application.


Pioneer is also utilizing the Digital Insight developer portal, which enables rapid development and customization of new products or services without being restricted by vendor capacity or timetabling.





Since converting to Digital Insight solutions, Pioneer has seen remarkable growth across its mobile and onlinebanking platforms and the individual products that have been implemented on the system. “The feedback that we have received from members on the home banking and mobile banking application has been almost entirely positive, it’s just really blown our customers out of the water,” says Thomas.


Following implementation, Pioneer has seen use of the loanpay feature grow by 100 percent. During the first year of deployment, remote deposit capture also increased by an impressive 45 percent. Running concurrently, year-on-year growth for the mobile banking app was about 30 percent— and continues to experience month-on-month growth. For the desktop platform growth is about 17 percent year on year.


The app has also been named the top-rated app in Idaho for financial institutions averaging between 350 and 500 downloads each week—a significant number among a membership base of around 55,000.


“We like to shout about that number,” says Thomas, “Because we know that the mobile experience is really what matters to people. It’s been especially rewarding to see the reviews come in. It is something that our whole organization is proud of. We specifically target mobile use because we feel that’s where the market is going.”


In addition to NCR's digital banking solutions, Pioneer has also installed a number of Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) to further cement its omni-channel strategy of giving members exemplary, consistent experiences across branch, ATM and all digital channels.


Thomas sums it up: “It’s a matter of being able to serve our members, whether they want to come into a branch every time, or whether they never want to come and see us.”