A Handy Way To Authenticate Member Identity

Evansville Teachers FCU is deploying palm vein scanners at teller lines across its branch network.

Top-Level Takeaways

  • Palm vein scanners provide fast authentication through the core processing system.
  • The first deployments for Evansville Teachers FCU were part of a larger strategy to make its new main branch a center for branching technology.

A member’s handshake is as good as their word at Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union($1.5B, Evansville, IN), especially now that the Hoosier State financial cooperative is using palms to authenticate just who’s at the other end of that arm.

ETFCU has been rolling out palm vein readers across its branch network since June 2017, and members have used the new technology at the teller window more than 10,000 times.

The palm readers use Fujitsu biometrics through Fiserv’s Verifast system to connect the palm print to the credit union’s Fiserv DNA core processing system, providing quick proof of identity that clears the way for transactions to proceed in seconds.ContentMiddleAd

We saw palm vein scanners as an opportunity to deploy something that will help with security and speed up the teller lines, says Matt May, who joined ETFCU in 2008 as a network administrator and became CIO in 2016. We weren’t having problems, but everyone knows the world wants what it wants right now. Anything we can do to speed up the process is worth looking at.

Matt May, CIO, ETFCU

The credit union installed the first set of 10 readers at its new main office as a proof-of-concept, according to May. That technology joins other innovations such as ITMs and an interactive kiosk that May describes as looking like a giant iPad. Members can use the kiosk’s touch screen to look up rates and review marketing materials.

It’s something we built ourselves in-house, May says. We also deployed some technology tables at the front of the branch to showcase our mobile banking app on phones and tablets, and we have a concierge on hand to help members try everything out. Altogether, it’s a real differentiator for us in our competitive market.

Palm vein authentication hardware is now in place at several Evansville Teachers FCU branches.

Rapid Rollout

ETFCU now has the palm vein scanners in place at six branches and plans to install them at more, including four or five new branches on the drawing board, May says.

Staff invite members to try the new scanners, which allows members to enroll by simply placing their hand in the scanner device a few times while the system reads their veins. The image is then stored in in-house servers and instantly accessed by the core system next time the member places the palm in the scanner.

People who use it are over the moon with it.

Matt May, CIO, Evansville Teachers FCU

Approximately 5,000 people have enrolled so far, the CIO says.

We’re not setting any land speed records as far as adoption, but people who use it are over the moon with it, he adds.

The devices enhance a security profile at the credit union that already includes biometrics such as thumb prints on mobile phones. ETFCU also has offered iPhone users the iris identification that May says is now being phased out in favor of facial recognition. That technology is not quite secure enough for May’s taste ― early usage indicates it can be defeated by a mask, he says ― but he’s keeping an open mind.

If ETFCU does decide to go that route, it will probably rely on its core processor to help in deployment as it has with other new add-ons. That reduces the risk of integration issues, May says.

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Secrets To Success


Evansville Teachers FCU
Data as of 09.30.17

HQ: Evansville, IN
MEMBERS: 189,038
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 17.4%
ROA: 1.75%

May says buy-in from the credit union’s leadership, including board members, was important to the palm vein scanner project’s success, especially because it was something so new.

Testing and training also were critical.

These are physical devices in a physical world and there can be trials and tribulations to make sure it works right, May says.

That’s why the chief information officer has this piece of advice: Try to consider all situations you might encounter.

Such situations include testing on cold, wet days and hot, dry days as well as with members of all ages.

And don’t make assumptions, May also advises. For example, the credit union’s member analytics show that people ages 60 to 69 have been the quickest adopters.

Everyone appreciates added security and convenience, the ETFCU CIO says. Although it’s hard to put an ROI on something like that, so far it’s gone really well.


January 22, 2018

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