by: Carey Price, SVP, Digital Strategy and Delivery
Digital banking had been core to many users’ lives before the pandemic, but now it’s more crucial than ever for an even larger user base. Helping users stay financially secure has become even more complicated as banks and credit unions have had to serve their users largely from home.
As a highly relational organization, BCU is focused on keeping up their high standard of service for their users and maintaining the connection between their team members. Carey Price, SVP, Digital Strategy and Delivery at BCU explains how they are using the Alkami Platform to make servicing users while working from home simple and effective.
Financial Institution: BCU
Location: Vernon Hills, Illinois
Asset Size: Over $3 Billion
Alkami: How long have you been an Alkami client?
Carey Price: BCU has been part of Alkami’s client community since 2017.
Alkami: What impacts have you experienced or had to acclimate to in the last month related to stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements?
CP: BCU has been aggressively moving our strategic applications to the cloud over the past few years. We have the majority of our systems there as well as a remote capability with technology to allow employees to “Roam,” and we quickly pivoted to 100% of our call center to work from home, including our Puerto Rico operations in less than two weeks before the shelter-in-place demands. The rest of the credit union was working from home with the exceptions where our SEG partners were open and we were onsite. Like most, we are getting comfy working from home in our slippers and participating in video conferencing meetings.
As a highly relational organization, like Alkami, we like everyone being under one roof so connecting with our colleagues during this time is challenging – lots of virtual happy hours, coffee klatches and water cooler chats! We’re actively practicing social distancing – not emotional distancing!
I’m also involved in a daily meeting with BCU executive leadership where we converse and strategize how we mobilize and optimize our efforts to support our employees and members.
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?
CP: Where we have seen an increase is in the use of Alkami’s Message Center. We quickly stood up Message Center Dynamic Forms and deep-linked them on our COVID-19 website page for new demands such as loan hardships and skip-a-pay. Volumes in the Message Center channel are swelling, and we’ve redeployed branch staff not working in our SEG branches to handle this volume since adding staff to work these channels is a light lift.
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?
CP: As a result of the pandemic, BCU quickly stood up text chat through Abe AI, who has worked with Alkami and several other Alkami credit unions to integrate into the Alkami Platform. The Abe AI text channel is just another way members can access BCU and request answers around COVID-19 or just to access their accounts, get balances and more.
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?
CP: For BCU, mitigating calls and extra effort on the part of the collection teams, deposit teams and lending using Secure Forms has been helpful. We measure success by the form usage and, most importantly, the goodwill that the digital team internal to BCU has had with our product partners.
Alkami: What digital banking tools are you considering as social distancing guidelines expand?
CP: We also rolled out a chatbot in Salesforce to stand up on our site. As the macroeconomic environment shifts and makes mortgage lending balloon, we’ll be looking for ways to assist the digital members’ experience in that way. Payments continue to be a focus for BCU, and we’ll be looking at that as a strategic initiative.
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?
CP: We have been talking about this for a few weeks on our executive team. We are planning on a 20% return rate, and don’t want our employees “rushing” back to the credit union. We are making accommodations today to spread out work areas, medical considerations to prevent spread, and doing an intentional “slow-roll” back to the office once the shelter in place is lifted. We expect some employees will continue to work from home or choose to come in a few days a week, so reconfiguring office space to allow for hoteling, mobility, and more are all topics on the table for us right now.