LAS VEGAS (7/15/10)—"Information technology is the third top expense—behind staffing and facilities—for credit unions. With nearly half of credit unions having negative earnings last year, 2010 should be a year of automating tasks and work processes to drive efficiency."
So says Rudy Pereira, senior vice president operations and technology at Alliant CU, Chicago, who addressed 10 tips for increasing technology and operational efficiency--best practices from the CUNA Technology Council--during a Wednesday morning breakout session at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas.
The conference was presented by the Credit Union National Association and the World Council of Credit Unions Sunday through Wednesday.
The 10 tips are:
1.Automated work flow. Enterprise content management will drive making processes more efficient, Pereira said, noting that often a member's phone call request is forwarded on and not followed through with a single call;
2.Integration. Integration of platforms and information from departments "lets you go from technology victim to leader," he said. An integrated platform can handle 90% of calls from members.
3.Virtualization. By consolidating and lowering the number of servers, Pereira's credit union saved 60% in costs—and reduced energy used.
4.Cloud computing. Linking a large group of servers via high speed networks to create a massive data storage system is in the future. By 2012, nearly 80% of Fortune 1,000 companies will engage in cloud computing. It will bring these benefits, Pereira said: scalability, skilled vendors, reduced cost, flexibility, quality of service, security and privacy. Small companies and start ups are at the front of the trend because they haven't invested in legacy systems that would need replaced.
5.Task automation. This would include job scheduling, lock box, log reviews and allows the tech staff to work on meaningful projects.
6.Member self-service. Members making transactions themselves will increase. At Pereira's credit union, 32% of members were online in 2005 and 60% in 2009. Among the hot new self-service options: ATMs with check image catchers and phones that take photos of a check and can deposit its image instead of the check.
7.Continuous process improvement. By breaking through patterns of "the way it's always been done," credit unions can improve service, ensure quality and reduce expenses.
8.Fraud analysis tools for online banking ATM and self-service phones. In 2005, credit unions saw significant budget losses beyond their insurance deductibles, with Pereira's credit union losing $700,000 on its $208,000 deductible. Insurers have put more responsibility on credit unions to manage their fraud losses.
9.Single sign-ons. Having a single password to log into all the credit union's systems will reduce help desk calls, save employees time waiting to reset passwords, reduce risk of the password being written down, add layered security, and engage employees.
10.Collaboration. More credit unions are beginning to consider partnering with other credit unions to use the same core system and staff. "The key is standardization (among vendors). It can drive up efficiency," Pereira concluded.