The Power of Touch
At Verity, our vision is to be the financial institution for moms in Seattle. Our board, CEO, and staff are all in support of this, and we work hard to capture the market. Why?
- Moms are “word-of-mouth” oriented – if one mom likes you, there’s a good chance she will recommend you to her mom friends.
- Mom is responsible for more than 80% of the household purchase decisions. If you can convince mom, the family will follow.
- Moms care about providing a better future for their children and can really get on board with the International Credit Union Operating Principles.
Touchscreens and Tablets
More than 67 million iPads have been sold, and PC World called the iPad “Children’s Toy of the Year” in 2010. According to the Wall Street Journal, “More than half of the young children in the U.S. now have access to an iPad, iPhone or similar touch-screen device.”
People are accustomed to having touchscreens, especially in tech-savvy Seattle. Today, it’s about instant gratification. Many parents consider touchscreen tablets to be a great educational tool for their children. Parents interact with touchscreens themselves, watch their children interact with them, and expect to see similar technology everywhere.
The original suggestion to bring touchscreens in came from one of our branch staff, and I’m the lead of the team working on cost analysis, goals, measurements, implementation, etc. We’ve already pitched the idea to the executive team and are hoping to launch in our beta branches by the end of the year. At first, this was a cost savings proposal (eliminating brochure printing), but over time we’ve determined other benefits, including:
- Self Service: increased member knowledge and an enhanced member experience.
- Cross-Selling: touchscreens will have information about our products and services a user can email to his or herself (or a spouse) for review. Interacting with potential products will help them find the ones that appeal to their needs instead of always relying on staff to pick up on cues from members.
- Improved Image and PR: being one of the first financial institutions in the area to have touchscreens in all our branches is something that can gain news coverage, which will drive more members; hopefully, in our 25-40 year old mom demographic (increasing word of mouth as well).
- Reduced Wait Times: both perceived and actual wait times (teller line and for a loan officer) will be reduced when there is a visual distraction/opportunity in the branch.
- Less Staff Work Time: branch staff currently spends way too much time ensuring new member packets have the most recent brochures. Electronic new member packets and fewer questions from members will increase their available time. Marketing time will also be reduced when we no longer have to worry about printing and distribution – new content will be distributed instantly.
- Mom Benefit: kids can be entertained with the touchscreen while mom applies for a loan or talks to staff. Also, this easy to use option will provide an additional way for moms to get information quickly without waiting in line. Quick and easy is something moms are always looking for.
Credit Union Advancement
This project is very good for the advancement of Verity in the Seattle community. During the current economic climate, people are talking about credit unions more than they have in recent decades and are primed to switch. So, what is stopping them? Perhaps it is not having benefits that outweigh their outrage with big banking fees and other issues in the industry. A benefit like this easy to use touchscreen could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I would love to see Verity be a best practice for other credit unions to follow across the country.
Often, young talent starts in the branch and works their way up until they move out to be a credit union consultant. I went the other way – working at a large airline before going to a credit union advertising agency, and starting my own credit union consultancy. I have worked with CEOs and boards in credit unions from $2 million in assets to $2 billion. I have experience in credit union grant writing, low income designation, charter changes, SEG-based and community chartered credit unions from New York to Hawaii to Alaska. I did all this before moving into my position at Verity. My background, integrity and innovative spirit make me an ideal candidate for the Next Top Credit Union Executive.
Melina Young, Verity Credit Union