Mobile Onboarding That Works In And Out Of The Branch

As USAlliance works to increase traffic to its remote channels, it recognizes the branch is still the No. 1 place to deepen relationships and cross-sell.

In what was a good year for credit unions, USAlliance Financial ($1.1B, Rye, NY) had a very good year, helped along by a mobile-first member onboarding strategy that also recognizes the essential role of the branch.

That sounds contradictory, but the suburban New York City credit union has deployed its new account opening solution through its mobile apps which members use as well as through iPads which staffers use in branches.

And USAlliance has seen strong member engagement since adding the mobile tools in January 2015.


USAlliance Financial
Data as of 09.30.15

  • HQ: Rye, NY
  • ASSETS: $1.1B
  • MEMBERS: 83,102
  • BRANCHES: 22
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 11.92%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 19.33%
  • ROA: 0.80%

We’ve seen a significant increase in our pull-through rates, reducing mobile abandonment from approximately 80% to roughly 35%, says Kristy Kenworthy, assistant vice president of e-commerce at USAlliance. More importantly, we’ve taken something difficult to do, like opening an account on a smartphone or tablet, and brought it on par with online account opening.

It’s done this by eliminating the need to tab through multiple screens and by reducing questions and keystrokes through the use of GPS, driver’s license imaging, and email parsing to fill the necessary fields.

USAlliance uses account opening software from Gro Solutions to power its new mobile tools for members and staff. Find your next mobile partner in our online Buyer’s Guide

Kristi Kenworthy, Assistant Vice President of E-commerce, USAlliance Financial

Branch and business development staff use the iPads and native apps to open share, checking, and credit card accounts through the credit union’s mobile website and apps with more accounts on the way in 2016.

The credit union’s 10.90% annualized growth rate in the third quarter of 2015 placed it in the top 5% of all 5,853 credit unions in the Callahan Associates database. The average billion-dollar credit union posted 7.64% member growth in the same time period.

The credit union posted 11.92% share growth in the third quarter of 2015 that’s a sharp increase from the 2.45% it posted in third quarter 2014. By comparison, other billion-dollar credit unions on average posted 7.64% share growth in third quarter 2015.

But it’s not just in shares where USAlliance is posting gains.

Watch On-Demand

In this Callahan Associates webinar, Burton and Kenworthy discuss how USAlliance’s online, mobile, and app-based capabilities allow first contact and long-term relationship development without face-to-face interaction.

The credit union’s credit card loan growth topped double-digits 11.65% in the third quarter of 2015 while billion-dollar credit unions posted an average 8.62% increase in the third quarter.

We’re developing an off-line mode so we can capture the information and have it ready when we get a signal back.

According to Kenworthy, preliminary findings indicate a 50/50 split in online versus in-branch account openings for savings, checking, and credit cards. And many of those in-branch openings are taking place on the app, the credit union AVP says. She expects to roll out iPads for usage by all the staff at the credit union’s 22 branches this year.

But what does all this mean to the bottom line?

The credit union reported net income growth of 6.55% year-over-year in the third quarter, compared with 2.31% for its asset-based peer group and -12.65% for all New York credit unions. Meanwhile, total revenue was up 17.65% for the quarter, compared with 9.63% for its peer group and 4.89% for its Empire State counterparts.

How Do You Compare?

Check out USAlliance’s performance profile.

Tori Burton, Vice President of Marketing, USAlliance Financial

We’ve seen tremendous growth in the past couple years, Kenworthy says. Being able to grow channels and drive users to them is important to us. At the same time, we recognize the branch is still the No. 1 place for us to grow relationships and cross-sell.

For credit unions that want to achieve this kind of performance themselves, Kenworthy and Tori Burton, the credit union’s vice president of marketing, offer these tips for onboarding success:

  • Make sure the process flow is intuitive.
  • Make sure the interface is user-friendly for the average consumer as well as for non-technical in-house staff.
  • If the credit union works with a third-party provider, make sure the credit union helps drive the project. We had business rules and compliance change requests, so an agile solution that can adopt to these is really important, Kenworthy says.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected. Some things are just going to be out of your control, Kenworthy says. We had a field event where it turns out there was no cellphone signal, so now we’re developing an off-line mode so we can capture the information and have it ready when we get a signal back.

Burton says their initial goal was to streamline processes. Now, we strive to finesse experience for our users as well as to broaden our current offerings for mobile account openings, she says.

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