Member Experience Drives Digital Dealings At Bay Federal

The California cooperative is four years into a digital evolution that relies heavily on member feedback.

In 2018, launched a one-of-a kind contest that showcases the ways in which inventive suppliers are transforming the credit union industry.

Read about the finalists by clicking on the links below.


Presented by and sponsored by Callahan & Associates, the Innovation Series gives four suppliers 10 minutes to impress a captive audience of credit union decision-makers. Suppliers pitch their cutting-edge solutions. Attendees vote ontheir favorite.

And it continues to grow. The 2018 Innovation Series spotlighted solutions of the Mobile and Lending variety while the 2019 Innovation Series included Mobile, Lending, and Member Experience. This year is no different. The 2020 Innovation Series includesMobile/Digital, Payments, Member Experience, and Business Services & Lending. From vendors large and small, products and services featured in this years Mobile/Digital category are advancing digital banking platforms, goals-based savings solutions,and text functionality.

Top-Level Takeaways

  • Bay Federal replaced an array of ancillary software with a single platform in 2015 and gauges member reaction to new digital experiences via daily surveys.
  • The credit union upgrades technology when necessary but avoids change for the sake of change.


Data as of 12.31.19

HQ: Capitola, CA
MEMBERS: 78,163
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 14.0%
ROA: 0.85%

Bay Federal Credit Union($1.1B, Capitola, CA) is four years into a new digital presence that it continually upgrades by listening to the Voice of the Member.

That’s the name of the program the Silicon Valley cooperative uses to gauge how members feel about their cooperative’s website and mobile apps.

Chief experience officer Ryan Cash says the new platform rose from the ashes of its old system in an effort called Project Phoenix, which replaced separate software deployments for money movement, account aggregation, and budgeting tools.

Cash joined the credit union not long after the new platform went live. He’s been overseeing the member experience since as Bay Federal grows functionality and adoption.

Digital transactions now outnumber branch transactions, and mobile usage has quadrupled since the October 2015 launch. Currently, nearly three-fourths of Bay Federal’s 40,000 active online bankers use the mobile apps available in Apple or Google versions.

They don’t care what’s going on behind the scene with all your systems. They just want it all to work and be easy.

Ryan Cash, Chief Experience Officer, Bay FCU

We think that’s really good engagement, Cash says.

For their part, members have given the credit union’s apps high scores. On the Apple App Store, which the credit union tracks closely, members have given the app a rating of 4.8.

We’re literally over the hill, maybe 25 miles away, from the Apple campus, Cash says. That app accounts for 90% of our mobile use.

That’s the kind of score the big bank competitors earn for their apps, Cash says. That feedback comes unsolicited, but the credit union also proactively seeks input from end users.

The Voice Of The Member

The credit union’s Voice of the Member program revolves around touchpoint surveys that go out every day to a statistically significant portion of members who had a key interaction with the credit union the past 24 hours. Questions, which focus onease of use, are intended to generate actionable data that Bay Federal can use to understand how members feel about what they’re experiencing through all the delivery channels.

Ryan Cash, Chief Experience Officer, Bay FCU

We try to do two things with that information, Cash says. First, if there’s an issue with an individual member, we seek them out and address the problem. If we’re getting consistently negative feedback about something,we use that information to make design changes. As examples, Cash cited wording that members might find too complicated or digital functions deemed difficult to complete.

The Bay Federal CXO adds that one of the most persistent sources of frustration for members is the hundreds of possible combinations of security and other settings for the multiple web browsers members use for banking.

Working with its platform provider NCR Digital Insight Bay Federal placed a digital button on its website that automatically checks whether the user’s settings are optimized for online banking. That helps members facilitate a fix,whether they do it online themselves or call into the credit union’s contact center for additional guidance.

So, What Now?

Bay Federal is continuing to develop its member experience. Right now, that includes preparing to launch a smartwatch app in the next month. It also is working to integrate card management features into the mobile app.

We have limited experience at this point with that kind of integration, Cash says. This is one the first times we’re really going beyond the standard products decks with our supplier. We’re hopeful about this new direction.

Cash says data flows seamlessly and in real time between its core processor and its digital functions, including mobile and online chat, but work also remains to be done on creating a unified CRM approach.

We have different CRM systems that give us various versions of the contact record, the CXO says. We need something more unified. We’re working on that now and would like use that to go beyond the nuts and bolts into all ourinteractions with members and deepen how they experience different channels.

Let Their Fingers Do The Talking

A senior systems administrator at Bay Federal takes care of internal needs while the credit union’s technology supplier does the heavy lifting in designing and deploying the changes in the digital platform.

4 Tips For Member Experience Digital Happiness

Ryan Cash, chief experience officer at Bay Federal, offers insight into how to manage digital technology from the perspective of the end user.

  • Listen to members. You have the ability to track and measure their actions. Let what members are saying and doing guide the credit union.
  • Listen, plan, and create. Make sure the credit union has the vision to create the experience it’s trying to cultivate for members.
  • Be methodical yet flexible. From a project standpoint, don’t try to fit a round peg into a square hole just because that’s how you thought it should go.
  • Listen to others, too. Your vendor partner can do a lot of good things for the credit union. That’s why you selected them in the first place.

Such changes have been many and are driven both by member feedback and technological improvements. Biometrics is a good example of that. Bay Federal first offered retinal scans, which quickly gave way to touch and then facial recognition, the momentit was offered on iPhone, Cash says.

That said, Bay Federal doesn’t leap to offer every new feature that comes along.

We live and breathe this stuff and can get fixated on, say, a new button that comes along that our current platform doesn’t have, Cash says. But, our surveys and app scores are positive and our enrollment is growing, so there’snothing that say our members need or want it. That’s when it’s important to pause and consider how much that change is needed.

Cash has seen what happens when other financial institutions jump on features users aren’t crazy about, such as adding budgeting tools to transaction details. In that case, the app scores of the financial institution dropped because it was underminingthe user experience, Cash says.

The Bay Federal CXO credits his technology provider both for driving and accommodating changes in his shop’s digital offerings, but stresses that the member remains in the driver’s seat. He’s got a tip for how to keep that in mind.

Look at it from the member’s point of view, he says. They don’t care what’s going on behind the scene with all your systems. They just want it all to work and be easy.

Read their stories and


Vincent Bezemer, Area VP US West and Canada, Backbase

Describe your innovation.

Vincent Bezemer: Backbase is a digital banking platform that unifies data and functionality from traditional core systems and new fintech players into a seamless, digital customer experience across all lines of businesses (retail, business,commercial, wealth, etc.) and channels (mobile, web, branch, call-center, advisory, etc.).

Our platform allows our customers to adopt, extend or build. For instance; we offer money movement, entitlement, identity & access management, workflow, onboarding, origination, etc. Customers can adopt any of these capabilities or continueto use what they already have or will source. This is both in the initial project and during ongoing operationalization.

We believe that superior digital experiences combined with amazing ROI are essential to staying relevant, and our solution enables financials to rapidly grow their digital business.

What opportunity or challenge does it address?

VB: High level, we help financial institutions with:

  1. Delighting their end-customers
  2. Enable team members across the enterprise
  3. Remove friction between front and mid/back office by digitizing processes like onboarding, origination and self-service.
  4. Optionally: Operationalize the platform in a white glove hosting/manage-services offering.

How does it increase member value?

VB: There’s a lot of value to attain from this platform for members; not only delightful experiences but also reducing friction in dealing with the credit union.

We focus on topics like financial well-being, minimizing predatory lending, and using machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to help you understand how products can benefit the member.

In the end, a credit union will have access to the same technology as some of our largest customers, like Citibank, HSBC, RBC, KeyBank, etc. The way it is architected and offered, you can go as deep as you want or your budget allows you to. Weenable you to compete like a national bank!

What differentiates it from competitors?

VB: Two main reasons:

  1. Backbase is a private company and not interested in changing strategic course, inclusive of being acquired for the foreseeable future. We will stay independent and truly allow our customers to remain in control of their digital strategy.
  2. We built all solutions ourselves, according to one single architecture, all based on open standards. There are no proprietary technologies or generated code that can create a lot of issues in maintenance, security, and flexibility.

    There’s no hodgepodge of technologies that competitors acquired over time. We offer a clean architecture that everyone loves to work with, and you can attain skillful resources in the market quickly.

Watch the Mobile/Digital finalists pitch their leading-edge solutions.


Ashish Garg, CEO, Eltropy

Describe your innovation.

Ashish Garg: Eltropy enables credit unions to communicate with members over text messaging in a secure and compliant way. Using Eltropy’s technology within the credit union’s core system Lending, Collections, Sales,Marketing, Contact Center, and other teams can leverage text messaging to increase member engagement and receive relevant member insights via analytics.

What opportunity or challenge does it address?

AG: With Eltropy, credit unions can:

Navigate Complicated Compliance Regulations: Engage directly with members without wasting time tackling regulation. Eltropy closely follows FCC//TCPA and other regulations and adjusts its software features as compliance requirements evolve.

Integrate Seamlessly: Integrate text messaging with existing workflow. Eltropy mirrors the workflow that different departments at credit unions already have in place, so that integration and adoption of text messaging as a new communication channelis seamless.

Increase Engagement & Improve Overall Member Experience: Eltropy’s detailed engagement metrics determine what content is resonating most with member. Eltropy sends an alert immediately after a member clicks on content so credit unions canpromptly follow up on the opportunity.

How does it increase member value?

AG: With Eltropy’s world-class solution, credit unions can engage with members purposefully on their preferred platform texting. Credit unions gain insights needed to compose highly targeted messages and get the most fromtheir member communication.

Credit unions can engage with members across messaging apps such as Text/SMS, iMessage, LINE, WhatsApp, WeChat, etc. Eltropy’s analytics dashboard provides valuable insight so credit unions can reap the benefits of highly targeted communication.

What differentiates this innovation from competitors?

AG: Eltropy is passionate about helping credit unions follow and keep current with strict compliance and security requirements so they can solely focus on growth. Eltropy is also tirelessly committed to serving all credit unions, regardlessof asset size. We provide a one-size-fits-all solution that allows credit unions to deliver continuous innovation and impressive experience for members.

Watch the Mobile/Digital finalists pitch their leading-edge solutions.


Drew Sievers, CEO, Harvest Savings & Wealth Technologies

Describe your innovation.

Drew Sievers: Goalkeeper from Harvest Savings & Wealth Technologies is a goals-based, automated savings platform that allows credit union members and bank customers to easily open an unlimited amount of goal accounts with no balanceminimum and no monthly fees. Inside of mobile and online banking, users name their goal, assign it a picture, set a target goal amount, perhaps start the goal with a small deposit, and then set a method for funding, such as smart algorithm or fixedtime-based deposits. Users are notified of their progress along the way, and upon completion, users transfer money back into their traditional checking or savings account.

Goalkeeper is the only hosted goals-based savings solution that runs inside of a credit union’s mobile app or online site. The white-labeled software is easy to implement and customizable per credit union’s branding, enabling credit unionsto deliver an exceptional member experience.

Goalkeeper’s intuitive interface is simple to use, free for credit union members, accessible on any mobile device or desktop, and runs automatically so that people can save money without having to think about it.

What opportunity or challenge does it address?

DS: Credit unions and their members both benefit from Goalkeeper. Members use Goalkeeper to automatically save money for their goals and develop smart savings habits. When it comes to paying off an emergency expense, 40% of Americanscould not come up with $400. Savings apps like Digit or Qapital can help people prepare for financial disruptions, but they cost money and require users to share their precious banking data with a third party.

Since Goalkeeper is conveniently integrated within a credit union’s online portal, members can simply access Goalkeeper when logged into their digital channel of choice, and skip the hassle of downloading and setting up another app. Members remainwithin the secure portal of their credit union, whom they love and trust with their data.

Goalkeeper allows credit unions to deliver their members all the similar benefits and functionality of fintech-powered savings, but for no monthly fee. For credit unions, Goalkeeper helps to improve their member experience, gain member loyalty, retaintheir deposits, and deliver more valuable member relationships.

On average, financial institutions are losing 5% of their deposits each year to micro-savings, micro-investing, and robo investing solutions, and that number is only growing. Goalkeeper enables credit unions to provide the same fintech-powered micro-savingsfeatures to retain deposits that would have otherwise been lost to a micro-savings fintech competitor and significantly lowered their net interest margin.

How does it increase member value?

DS: Credit unions using Goalkeeper can increase member value by gaining insight into their members’ savings activities. Goalkeeper provides credit unions with data they have never had before: member intent. Understanding membergoals and intent is the best way for a credit union to provide real value.

Because Goalkeeper runs within existing digital systems, credit unions know exactly what their members are saving for and when they are close to achieving their goals. This data is extremely valuable, as it gives credit unions the ability to serve theirmembers with additional relevant services based on where they are in their personal financial journey. Credit unions will effectively be able to create a member experience that is personalized, relevant, and timely.

By helping their members create smart savings habits today, Goalkeeper deepens connections between members and their credit unions and makes it easier for members to move upward to their larger financial goals. As members move along their financial journey,the credit union can more easily transition members from savings to wealth or trust offerings and ultimately deliver high-value, cost-effective digital savings and wealth solutions to their entire member base.

What differentiates this innovation from competitors?

DS: Goalkeeper is the only software that can connect to a credit union’s existing systems and enable them to deliver a white-labeled, free, and easy-to-use savings solution to their entire member base. No other B2B technology providershave a similar solution. Competitors of Goalkeeper include fintech micro-savings apps that are competing directly with credit unions and siphoning off their deposits. These nimble upstarts are offering modern features and services outside of a creditunion’s traditional scope of products.

To effectively compete with the direct-to-consumer fintech startups that are taking credit union and bank deposits, progressive financial institutions use Goalkeeper to improve their member experience and deliver more value, increase member loyalty, andhelp their members improve their overall financial wellness.

Watch the Mobile/Digital finalists pitch their leading-edge solutions.


Lee Wetherington, Director Of Strategic Insight, Jack Henry & Associates

Describe your innovation.

Lee Wetherington: The Banno Digital Platform enables credit unions of all sizes to provide personal, member-centered online and mobile experiences. It’s a single platform for a credit union’s complete digital needs, allowinginstitutions to more effectively manage their digital interactions, content, security, data-driven marketing, and more.

The Banno Digital Platform online and mobile apps mirror one another with identical functionality and world-class UX design to create a seamless digital ecosystem. And, the Banno Conversations feature of the platform designed like today’smessaging apps provides secure, encrypted, fully authenticated chat in real time, enabling credit unions to better, more easily serve members at the moment-of-need. This messaging channel translates true live and local personal service intodigital banking for the first time.

Connected directly to the core and integrated natively inside the digital platform, Banno Conversations does not rely on third-party chat solutions that cannot support candid conversations or contextual attachments to resolve problems. And, credit unionsneed not wait for a member to initiate contact; personnel can proactively reach out with customized offers and discussions, creating unlimited possibilities for service, support, marketing, and more.

What opportunity or challenge does it address?

LW: Credit unions have long staked their success on superior service and support; i.e., people helping people. To deliver great member experiences today, credit unions must be able to translate their personal service effectively and meaningfullyinto digital channels in real time. Doing so creates opportunities for credit unions to renew and extend their ability to sell in the context of service and to differentiate themselves against megabanks and big techs that can’t or won’tscale live, local, personal service.

Banno Conversations is a fintech breakthrough because it reverses a 50-year trend of using technology to de-humanize and commoditize banking. Not only does it translate true, live, local, secure, personal service into digital banking for the first time,it bridges branch and digital strategies literally by porting digital to staffed channels and vice versa.

How does it increase member value?

LW: Digital solutions should empower credit unions to optimize their critical competitive distinctions such as service and trust. Digital is not about eliminating human involvement; it’s about offering convenient tools to more effectivelyhelp members at key moments-of-need. By making the digital experience more personal and meaningful, the Banno Digital Platform is helping make credit unions go beyond delivering a superior UX.

Our platform allows credit unions to better know their members’ personal preferences and recognize and support their needs as they happen. This enables credit unions to be more personal, proactive, and authentic within the digitalchannel, restoring their ability to meaningfully engage with members and to sell in the context of service.

This is possible because the Banno Digital Platform provides credit unions with a comprehensive view of users including account details, recent transactions, transaction search, notifications, and more. It equips credit union employees with amodern back-office tool to build empathy for each member situation and have a quicker resolution of the need. It’s the perfect blend of digital technology and human support seamlessly woven together.

What differentiates this innovation from competitors?

LW: The Banno Digital Platform features Banno People and Banno Support which are beautifully designed, 100% API-enabled backend administration consoles. These tools consolidate feeds from disparate systems, givingcredit union staff a single view of the member’s history and activity, as well as the means to answer and resolve member questions and concerns without having to log in to numerous, separate applications.

Because Banno People and Banno Support are fully API-enabled, the credit union has the option to integrate the back-ends of other third parties or fintech partners of choice in the future so that supporting members and providingsuperior personal service and front-end UX are not compromised by the complexity or number of partnerships and integrations the credit union implements in the future.

The Banno Digital Platform is also completely open giving credit unions the option to open or publish the platform’s APIs on their own websites (for consumption or integration by third parties and fintech partners of choice). This type ofopen strategy helps credit unions innovate within the unique needs of their community while getting new products and services to market faster than ever.

Watch the Mobile/Digital finalists pitch their leading-edge solutions.

All interviews have been edited and condensed.

Read more about other Innovation Series finalists by clicking on the links below.

March 2, 2020

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