July 2, 2020

Expecting the Unexpected with Digital Banking

Digital Banking

By:
Jamieson Mackay, Chief Relationship Officer

Financial Institution: Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union
Location: Pasadena, Texas
Asset Size: Over $970 Million

“Our credit union has been working hard over the last 5 years to make it easier for members to do business with us. A big part of that was turning to digital options. We’ve relied heavily on online account opening for membership growth and found ways to digitize many of the processes that used to require an office/branch visit. We didn’t realize at the time that we were preparing for a pandemic that would shut down the world overnight. We have heard of peer credit unions scrambling to implement solutions in order to service their members. All of the efforts of the last few years have paid off and enabled us to continue serving our members at a very high level, even during lobby closures.”

– Jamieson Mackay, Chief Relationship Officer, Gulf Coast Educators FCU

Alkami: How long have you been an Alkami client?
Jamieson Mackay: We became a client in April of 2018 after an expansive search and went live in January of 2019.

Alkami: What impacts have you experienced or had to acclimate to regarding stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements?
JM: Like most credit unions, we had team members working from home but probably less than most of our peers. We also went to drive-through only. We are pleased to report that we began our phased re-opening on Monday, May 4th with a limited number of members allowed in the lobbies at a time.

Alkami: What differences have you seen in your number of digital users before and after stay-at-home orders and social distancing?
JM: From March to April, we saw a 3.6% bump in the number of users but double digit gains in total logins and average logins per user, 15.6% and 11.5% respectively. We’ve really relied on digital well before the pandemic, so one of the things we believe is that our members had already turned to digital willingly, which also meant our members and the credit union were better prepared for the repercussions of the stay-at-home order.

The big changes during the stay-at-home orders have come in the areas of bill pay, ACH, and RDC. Bill pay and RDC saw drops, which make sense. Our ACH incoming volume grew by 12.3% from March to April.

Alkami: What Alkami Platform features and products had you been relying on before the pandemic to reach users through digital channels? What have you learned about these tools that could be helpful for your peers to know?
JM: The messaging has been extremely important. Our Contact Center had help from other departments to respond to the increased volume.

Our app is the biggest thing we’ve relied on. Before we switched to Alkami, our app was very basic and clunky with a rating in the high 2s. Now we are in the 4.9 range for both apps. In the month of April, native logins were about 65% higher than desktop logins. So we’ve basically become a mobile first organization.

Our biggest take away has been that any tool you can add to make your members’ lives easier will end up helping you through times like we are currently experiencing.

Alkami: Are you still finding the products you’ve relied on continue to do the job or have you expanded or shifted to other tools on the Alkami Platform?
JM: We did launch SavvyMoney during the stay-at-home order and saw really good adoption. With members logging in so much they couldn’t help but notice it on desktop. We had to get creative on mobile and used the marketing cards in the app to let members know it was available.

Alkami: What digital banking tools are you considering to help users during social distancing?
JM: We already have chat embedded in digital banking and are contemplating adding video. We are also working on expanding Quick Apply to automate some of our additional account and loan requests.

Alkami: When people can return to work and school, do you anticipate a rush back to branches or do you believe users will stay digital? What are your longer-term plans now based on how this pandemic has impacted your institution?
JM: We’ve already been open in the lobbies since May 4th. We haven’t been overrun but we have seen a bump in business across the board including new members and loans. Our members for the most part have embraced digital but there is a segment of our members and society in general that will always prefer doing business in person.

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