Facing pandemic challenges with proven digital banking tools
Mark Ely, VP of Marketing
Securityplus Federal Credit Union
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Asset Size: $400 Million
“The basic [Alkami Platform] tools really work best when working with members. Without the Member View tool in Admin Support, it will be very difficult to provide our members with the exceptionally high level of service they come to us for. I don’t know what we would do without it!”
– Mark Ely, VP of Marketing, Securityplus Federal Credit Union
Alkami: How long have you been an Alkami client?
Mark Ely: We went live on the Alkami Platform October 17th, 2018
Alkami: What differences have you seen in your number of digital users before and after stay-at-home orders and social distancing?
ME: Since the stay-at-home order, which came around the middle of March here in Maryland, we’ve seen a 20% increase to our total digital users, which we’re very happy about. We’ve been communicating often, sharing the benefits of digital banking. We’ve also seen about a 7% increase in the number of unique logins per day during the stay-at-home order.
Alkami: What changes have you seen in digital banking usage as stay-at-home orders and social distancing took place?
ME: After looking at the data reports, what’s interesting is seeing the number of non-mobile logins increase substantially during stay at home orders. Seems as most people work from home they feel more comfortable navigating digital banking from their Mac or PC vs. logging in through mobile channels.
Alkami: What impacts have you experienced or had to acclimate to related to stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements?
ME: The biggest impact we’ve faced is in our branch network. Three of our branches are in government facilities that employ thousands, so those branches have been shut down for over 2 months. This coupled with operating drive-thru only at the majority of our public access branches has forced us to temporarily reassign many of our branch employees.
A large portion of our membership hasn’t fully adapted to technology, and they actually prefer in-person transactions vs. digital, so limiting them to drive-thru transactions and encouraging the use of digital banking has also been challenging. We’ve probably sent out more member communications over the last 60 days than ever before. We want to make sure our members are informed and current with the ever-changing environment. We’ve found success in focusing on a variety of digital banking benefits, for example, account alerts when those stimulus checks started coming in!
As a member of the executive team at Securityplus, we started meeting daily when social distancing requirements began. Those meetings, both face to face and virtual, have really helped us stay on top of every situation that has been thrown at us so far. I am very proud of our CEO and teammates for working so hard to make sure we are prepared and to keep the impact minimal thus far.
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?
ME: The primary tool that our staff is relying on is the Admin Support tool that allows our team to view member accounts the same way the member sees their account. It helps us troubleshoot reported issues with very little confusion.
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?
ME: Yes, the basic tools really work best when working with members. Without the Member View tool in Admin Support, it will be very difficult to provide our members with the exceptionally high level of service they come to us for. I don’t know what we would do without it!
Alkami: What have been the most successful digital banking plans you have implemented in response to the pandemic? How did you measure if those plans were successful?
ME: We beefed up our contact center support and added team members to assist with digital banking questions/messages as much as possible. Message Center has taken over as a primary way for our members to communicate with us, which has meant a major shift in resources. We’ve successfully managed the amount of secure messages we’ve received to provide our members with a very positive digital experience. As more and more members discover how easy it is to use Message Center and Secure Forms, we anticipate lower volume of calls in our contact center and less trouble shooting in-branch.
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?
ME: I think the answer to this question depends on how long it takes for people to return to work and school. The longer the stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements are in place, the longer it will take for our members to come back to the channels they used to utilize, as they’ve had time to learn new banking habits and successfully adapted to digital banking. As the pandemic surges on, I believe a substantial percentage of our “in-person” members may never come back to the way they used to bank. Especially once they learn how wonderful our digital channel really is! In the long term, this means a bigger investment in technology for the future and less focus on in-branch transactions.
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