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Space Coast Shares Its Automated Account Opening Success Story

The Florida credit union has streamlined approvals and opened access from multiple devices.

Leadership at Space Coast Credit Union knew the credit union was facing a two-pronged problem when it came to its deposit account opening platform. Perhaps the biggest aspect of the challenge involved the member’s online account opening experience.

Basically, all we had was an entry form online, said Gary Prager, vice president, Consumer Sales and Investment Services for Space Coast. It captured basic information and the type of account desired, but that was it. Someone on ourside would have to monitor an email queue, print them and assign them round-robin style to our team and then someone had to re-key them into our origination system.

At the time, Space Coast had a team of six employees handling online applications. Prager estimated that by spending an estimated five to seven minutes for each online application received, Space Coast’s online team would spend approximately 120additional hours each month on redundant data entry.

With more than $4 billion in assets, Space Coast is the third-largest credit union in Florida. The credit union operates 58 branches spanning Florida’s east coast from Flagler to Miami-Dade counties and serves more than 381,000 members.

Another issue regarding the limited, one-dimensional online experience dealt with the fact that the applicant would have no way of knowing the progress of the submitted application or finish the entire process. Space Coast’s vision, Prager said,was to have a solution that allowed the member to begin the application online with the option of completing it, which meant ordering checks or debit cards, signing terms and conditions, and funding the account.

Across all channels, including online, Space Coast was opening roughly 4,000 new accounts each month. But with poor reporting from its previous system, the credit union couldn’t easily track its online volume. Prager estimated that as much as 30%(or 1,200) of those applications each month were submitted online.

A complete lack of automated decisioning was the second prong of the challenge facing Space Coast. Manual reviews had to be conducted for every application by Space Coast’s team of approximately 20 staff members. With the previous online process,the applicant would typically have to wait until the next business day (sometimes the end of the next business day) to receive a decision. If you applied at 11 a.m. on Friday, you may not get an answer until Monday at the end of the day,Prager said. Since it usually took around 10 minutes to complete the process if you walked into a branch or called, we really needed to improve the speed and quality of our online service.

As far as the options deposit account opening solutions available to choose from, Prager said the ACTion Deposit Account Opening platform stood alone as the only one that offered functionality to fit all of Space Coast’s needs. The system’sresponsive user interface would allow Space Coast to expand its online application process to tablets and mobile devices compared to the previous method that really only functioned on PCs, Prager said.

More than just the high level of decision automation Space Coast was seeking, ACTion Deposit Account Opening would provide increased levels of customization. At first, there was an assumption that we just wanted the system to read the QualiFilereport, Prager said. But we really wanted a solution that could read the QualiFile output and allow us to customize automated decision logic that fit our strategic approach. If there are mitigating factors, we don’t want to refuseservice to good people who may have had a small unpaid item months or years ago.

Prager explained that in most cases, sending that applicant back to the previous institution to correct the unpaid item would lead that applicant to simply remain with that institution once the issue had been resolved. ACTion Deposit Account Opening alsowould give Space Coast the ability to pull a credit report first. If that report shows the applicant meets a minimum credit score, Space Coast would issue an automatic approval without pulling the QualiFile report ― thereby saving even more time.

If they don’t meet our minimum credit score requirement, we pull QualiFile, look at the actual details of the report and then have a matrix behind the scenes determine if the applicant gets an account (and if so, the type of account) or isdeclined, which would give us more flexibility, Prager said. What separated the CRIF solution was the increased flexibility for customization, the ability to be integrated with our loan origination system, which meant only one logincredential from both systems. Also, cross-sell imports will be important for the team that handles both lending and account opening. Finally, we really liked CRIF’s commitment to continued development of the system.

Since implementation, Space Coast has been very pleased with the amount of time ACTion Deposit Account Opening has saved its team regarding redundant data entry. Not having to spend the additional 120 hours each month was probably the biggest benefit,Prager said. The online application and account enrollment is much better for the members now. We no longer have to make follow-up calls to the members. They get a notification and are able to handle everything themselves.

As far as results for Space Coast’s challenge of finding the right fit for automated decisioning, Prager said that while reaching a completely ideal level of automation is still a work in progress, he and his team are very pleased with how the ACTionteam has remained invested to make it a truly collaborative effort. We are very close, and feedback indicates we’re going to be really pleased with the results, Prager said. We’ve had to rework the development of whatit will eventually look like, but the difference has been CRIF’s tremendous ability to work with us, listen to us regarding our needs, and then be flexible enough develop a solution to fit those needs.

By partnering with a trusted third-party provider, ACTion Deposit Account Opening now gives Space Coast the ability to accept electronic deposits over the phone. We are very pleased with the direction our partnership is headed and the types ofopportunities ACTion Deposit Account Opening will deliver moving forward, Prager said. The difference between where we were as opposed to where we are now has been night and day.

With the digital age continuing to dictate the evolution of account opening solutions, credit unions need to ensure their digital strategies reduce friction for their members across every facet of their operations. Our latest complimentary eBook outlinesthe 15 most important best practices to consider when plotting a course of action. Please click the button below to request a copy of this eBook.

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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.
March 26, 2020

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