Preparing for What's Next
Scott Rabe joined STCU more than two decades ago. And if you’d told Scott back then, when he served as a night operator running a check-sorting machine, that he would someday lead the digital development team at this fast-growing credit union — he would have said you were crazy.
It’s ironic — that’s where Scott finds himself today— and his journey reflects that of the credit union he serves. When leaders at STCU share the story of how the credit union got started, they like to refer to a bell, a shoebox, and $4,000. Four thousand dollars pooled from a few dozen educators; a shoebox to store cash and receipts; and a bell to signal that a member was calling.
A lot has changed since those humble beginnings for both Scott and STCU. Today, Scott leads digital innovation and a team of highly trained software developers at the credit union. STCU has expanded its footprint to 23 locations in the Northwest, manages $3.0 billion in assets and serves almost 200,000 members.
To set the credit union up for even greater success in the future, Scott and the leadership team have become highly focused on digital innovation. They are constantly looking for ways to leverage technology to create value for members each and every day. Scott said, “That wasn’t always the case. Six years ago, we were a bit behind. Especially when it came to mobile banking. So, we set out on a mission to make digital a strategic priority for the business. That would not only entail a continued level of investment in our digital development team, but also finding a digital banking partner that could help us accelerate innovation.”
That’s when Scott went in search of a partner and a platform that would meet the credit union’s digital banking requirements for years to come and that is when he found Alkami. “I remember, they were the young, aggressive startup. They had an incredible user experience and some really smart developers. Hard to believe that was so many years ago. Today, Alkami is a proven player in the market and we have matured a lot too. I guess you could say that we grew up together. And fast.”
Forming Authentic Bonds
It didn’t take Scott and his team long to develop strong relationships with the product and technology leadership teams at Alkami. In fact, in recent years, Scott and Mark Haney, the CTO at Alkami, have spent hours together discussing digital banking strategy and innovation.
“Mark has been instrumental in helping us maximize the value of Alkami’s platform. I have also watched as he and his team have made the platform better in just a few short years. Today, it is more extensible, open and flexible than ever before.”
Scott has seen firsthand how Mark and his team have made Alkami’s platform more “developer” friendly. From the very beginning, he and his team have been developing add-ons and extensions for Alkami’s platform to meet the unique needs of STCU members. But Scott says, “That has gotten even easier and faster to do with the introduction of Alkami’s Software Development Kit (SDK). Today, when we write software using Alkami’s SDK, we’re immediately able to push that feature out on mobile and desktop at the same time. This not only improves our speed to market, but it also improves our member’s online experience.”
“A great example of how flexible and efficient their platform and SDK has become, would be the travel notes functionality that we added for our members and employees. We used to have to write an employee-facing tool and then a member-facing tool for travel notes. Now, with Alkami, we are able to develop and maintain one piece of software for both of these stakeholders, and it works on desktop and mobile.”
Scott really values Alkami’s philosophy when it comes to custom or third-party development. He says, “They understand what they do best and where they want to take their platform. They also realize that there will always be fintech vendors out there developing specific apps and credit unions that have custom development requirements. That’s why they’ve built a robust SDK that ensures companies like STCU can rapidly integrate different apps and add unique features that will meet the unique needs of their members.”
“That’s the power of Alkami’s developer-friendly approach. Credit unions like ours, that have in-house developers, can act on ideas and insights that can really make a difference on the business and our member experience. And we are doing just that. The new features and tools that we have delivered using the SDK are creating value. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Just look at the digital banking satisfaction scores we are seeing from our members.”
Realizing the Future
As early adopters of Alkami’s SDK, Scott and his team have been putting it to good use. One area in particular where Scott has been successful using the SDK is increasing visibility to critical information across the credit union. “In the past, different data sets have been isolated in as many as 40 different systems across the credit union. This resulted in limited visibility for both our employees and members. But now we are implementing ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) at the credit union. With ESB and Alkami’s SDK, we can provide employees and members with the visibility that they need across multiple systems. For example, in this case, now our call center professionals can quickly pull up member notifications and see exactly what the member received to better serve that member and proactively address any questions they may have.”
“That’s just one example, but the possibilities are endless. With Alkami’s SDK, we can quickly spin up third-party apps, integrate new apps and add new features across multiple platforms and devices. It is pretty amazing and it doesn’t matter if you have an entire software development department like we do at STCU, or you are just about to hire your first developer. With the SDK, you have the ability to rapidly add to and enhance Alkami’s platform to meet your member’s needs.”
“I’ll be the first to tell you that having access to a highly flexible, open SDK is vitally important. But having access to Mark and his development team at Alkami has been invaluable. We strategize with them … we look out into the future with them. They share their technology roadmap with us and that allows us to complement their plans with an innovation roadmap of our own. For someone in my position … Alkami’s digital banking platform, SDK and collaborative partnership … have been priceless.”