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Integrated Systems Enable Better Service And Save Money

Job No. 1 at every credit union is providing individual and small business members with superior service and cost savings. But as membership grows, so do the challenges.

According to Callahan Associates, credit union membership rose by nearly 2 million individuals during the past twelve months, with 1.3 million of these individuals joining in the first six months of 2013 alone.

Alongside this growth comes mounting pressure to continue to operate more efficiently by reducing internal costs and more effectively handling day-to-day operations.

One way credit unions can achieve results is by intelligently integrating core systems with other essential financial service systems, thereby enhancing each member’s experience, improving workflow efficiency, and maximizing their core technology platform investment. Choosing complementary systems moves time-consuming and costly back-office functions to the front line and creates significant advantages.

Card services systems that interact with core accounts on a daily basis are especially important. When selecting a card system, be sure it includes services that enable single data entry via a single sign-on for member services. This approach results in faster responses, real-time account updates, and reduced staff training.

Here are everyday scenarios that show the value of integrating your core and card services systems:


Responding to a member’s payment card inquiry can take 20 minutes or more. Typically, a front-line associate takes the information and passes it to another employee who has access to the card services system. After researching the inquiry, the second employee passes the results back to the initial associate for member follow-up.

Integrated systems streamline this process, as associates can access member information via a single sign-on, conduct research, and immediately provide an answer. At 25 inquiries per week, credit unions can realize a 90% increase in time savings or the equivalent of eight hours of employee work.

Card Activations

A call for assistance in activating a card can be a time-consuming and negative experience. Typically, back-office staff need to log in to a separate card system to activate a card. If these employees are busy, the member must wait and wait.

With an integrated system, front-line staff have complete access to your systems and can activate a card so members receive immediate assistance. With each activation request, credit unions have a new opportunity to provide great service.

Card Status Changes, Including Hot Carding For Lost/Stolen Cards A simple card status change may involve separate data entry tasks on both the core and card services system. Double data entry may also be aggravated by the fact that only a handful of people are authorized to enter card status changes, such as hot carding, on the card services system.

Integrated systems enable service associates to make changes once with updates recorded on both the core and card services systems while documentation is created to satisfy regulatory requirements. This approach improves service by reassuring members that a status change has been completed immediately.

PIN Changes

Does this sound familiar? A member calls in to change the PIN for their payment card. Twenty minutes later, their request is complete.

With an integrated system, that process can be completed in two minutes or less, without the dual data entry that was required before. Integrated systems also give members the ability to use a new PIN immediately after they select it.

Integrating your systems adds value by lowering staffing costs and enhancing the member experience. Make these key resources even more valuable by finding complementary services that will work easily and proficiently with your core.

Dr. Kathy Herziger-Snider is the vice president, Channel Management for Card Services at Fiserv. You can reach her at kathy.herziger-snider@fiserv.com.

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) is a leading global provider of information management and electronic commerce systems for the financial services industry, providing integrated technology and services that create value and results for our clients. Fiserv drives innovations that transform experiences for more than 16,000 clients worldwide, including banks, credit unions and thrifts, billers, mortgage lenders and leasing companies, brokerage and investment firms, and other business clients.

This article is sponsored by a recognized solutions provider in the credit union industry. Callahan & Associates does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer, and the views and opinions offered here might not reflect those of Callahan. If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact the Callahan team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.
December 2, 2013

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