November 13, 2018 08:00 AM
Customer: Redstone Federal Credit Union, Alabama and Tennessee, USA
Story: An NCR Interactive Teller Case Study
Solution: NCR Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs)
About the Customer
In 1951, 11 people each put a five-dollar bill in a shoebox — and Redstone Federal Credit Union was born. Nearly 70 years later, Redstone membership has grown to 410,000; it has approximately 1,000 employees and services its members at 25 branches throughout the Tennessee Valley area. With the original $55 now totaling $5 billion in assets, Redstone is one of the 25 largest federal credit unions in the United States, with a strong reputation for technology and innovation.
A key factor to Redstone’s growth is its continuous commitment to offering members personalized and meaningful service. In 2017, Money Magazine® recognized that commitment, naming Redstone the best bank in the state of Alabama, despite being a credit union. Averaging 2,600 new members each month throughout 2018, it was recently named Credit Union of the Year by the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU).
As part of its three-year strategic plan, Redstone’s goal was to add 50,000 new members by the end of 2020. To that end, they have expanded their regional footprint
to add the Middle Tennessee market to its successful business in Alabama.
The second part of their strategy was to increase engagement through digital channels and products, and ensure their members receive the same level of personalized and customized service in all physical and online channels.
However, membership surveys revealed one particular area of service that needed improvement. “Our members told us that wait times at our drive-throughs were simply too long,” explains Terri Bentley, SEVP/CIO at Redstone. “And that was having an effect on our members’ experience at the branch.
“For us, it’s all about the member experience, and we recognized we needed to decrease wait times and provide greater convenience and availability to our members.”
The team at Redstone turned to NCR Interactive Teller machines (ITMs) to solve their challenges and meet their goals. They planned to install the ITMs at existing branch drive-throughs and take an ITM-focused approach to the new branches being built as part of its regional expansion.
The ITMs enable members to interact with a live teller through real-time video. The ITMs offer the familiarity of the traditional ATM design, but provide a far greater range of services, along with the personal touch of speaking to a personal banker. By engaging with Redstone’s tellers through video screens, members get instant access to centrally located experts who can give custom advice across the company’s range of products and services — as well as assist with common banking transactions such as cash withdrawals, depositing of checks and/or cash, and balance transfers.
To optimize ITM usage, Redstone implemented a Centralized Virtual Teller Department that supports and serves members who use the ITMs. They also implemented a staff-training program for both the video tellers and front-line branch personnel, which played a significant role in making the interactive teller strategy a success. Redstone also focused on communicating effectively with staff, so that any lingering fears of job losses were addressed.
Once the ITMs were implemented, Redstone made sure front line branch personnel and management were available in the drive-through lanes at each location for the first three weeks after deployment. “We had employees there to introduce the new technology to our members and teach them all of the self-serve and teller- assisted options that were available,” says Ms. Bentley.
“They also helped overcome any worries our members may have had about trying something new.”
In addition to implementing ITMs in existing drive-through locations, Redstone is now installing the machines in the lobbies of its new branches instead of the traditional teller lines.
The Solution Results
Redstone has now implemented 41 ITMs across its network, with proposals for up to 50 more.
The first advantage members notice is the extended availability of service they can enjoy throughout the day. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday – Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays — twenty-three extra hours members can access teller-based services each week.
“We now have the earliest teller hours of any financial institution in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee,” says Kevin Hall, Vice President of Indirect Member Services. “Tellers who are available to handle transactions from as early as 7 a.m. makes a big difference for busy families and business owners. It’s so much easier for them to fit their banking activity into their daily lives.”
Once members are at the drive-through, the ITMs also make each banking transaction quicker, simpler and more efficient. The unsightly and inefficient pneumatic tubes are gone, and members no longer need paper vouchers for any of their transactions. Redstone constantly monitors Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and keeps a dashboard to measure member wait and transaction times.
The dashboard is powered by NCR’s ITM Network Manager Suite of Reporting, a web application that gives Redstone’s administrators access to a variety of configurable reports, including those necessary for balancing and settlement, cash management and dispute resolution, as well as statistical data on individual machines and video teller performance.
These monitoring and reporting efforts show:
Redstone is also seeing more members becoming comfortable with the video teller technology: the number of members using self-serve functionality went from 55% to 72% between April 2017 and April 2018.
“The hourly, daily and weekly usage patterns completely validate our decision,” said Mr. Hall. “Because members can use our services before they get to work, there is much less of a bottleneck at the end of the day. We can then make sure our staff shifts are adjusted to match peak times. These kinds of adjustments play a big role in improving wait times and improving our members’ experience.”
Since converting drive-through lanes to ITMs, the increase in self-service has also freed Redstone’s branch staff to spend more time with members who need assistance inside the branch, helping them to get the right product at the right time. As a result, in-branch transactions are faster and more efficient as well. “All our members have benefitted from the ITM implementation, regardless of how they choose to interact with us,” said Ms. Bentley.
“Many are delighted that we remain, in their words: ‘ahead of everybody else in town’.”
It is not just members who are seeing the benefits. Branches have become more efficient across Redstone’s branch locations. Feedback from the ITM video tellers include:
“All our member segments are using the ITMs — all ages, all backgrounds, all abilities, and every lane allows members to do exactly what they want to do.”
"We get feedback from members almost daily and it has been really positive from the onset, and remains positive today,” concludes Mr. Hall. “Members have gone out of their way to tell drive thru staff how excited they are with the new service. The ITMs, and the accompanying operational changes we have really are key enablers of our mission to serve our members and their communities in the best way we can.”