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Credit unions embrace evolving tech to stay relevant

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Credit unions embrace evolving tech to stay relevant

With smartphone penetration now sitting at about 80%in the U.S., credit unions are increasingly offering mobile and othertechnology to remain relevant to customers.

In2010, 66.3% of credit unions offered internet banking, while only 9.8% offeredmobile banking. But by 2016, 76.3% of those institutions offered banking via theinternet and 52.3% had adopted mobile.

Due to various factors, including technologyadoption, credit union membership is on the rise. About 400,000 people joined a credit unionin July alone, according to a reportby CUNA Mutual Group. Lynn Heider, vice president of public relations andcommunications for the Northwest Credit Union Association, said in an interviewthat while it is unlikely technology drove all of that growth, it was certainlya factor. Heider pointed to Rivermark Community Credit Union as one institution thatrecently has been rolling out some "great, cutting edge stuff,"including biometric security in which members eyes or fingerprints are used toaccess an account instead of a password. "And it also recently opened anew branch in the rapidly growing area of Happy Valley, Ore.," she said."So mobile and branch success may not be mutually exclusive."

Beaverton, Ore.-based Rivermark serves more than 85,000members at its seven branches and online.

David Noble, vice president of marketing at Rivermark, saidthat Rivermark upgraded its online and mobile banking system in Marchto a new platform that supports the first eyeprint identification login for anOregon credit union. The login is a secure method of biometric authenticationthat members may use when logging into online and mobile banking, providing fora higher level of security and protection of personal information, he said.

In addition, Rivermark's new mobile system will supportmobile banking via Smartwatch. Available for both Android and Apple Watch, thesmartwatch system allows members to check their balance and view their lastfive transactions through an app installed on their smartwatch device.

AnS&P Global Market Intelligence study found that 99% of credit unionsbetween $100 million and $1 billion in assets offered the three most commonelectronic financial services — account balance enquiry, theability to view account history and internet-based banking. At the same time,97% of credit unions larger than $1 billion offered those services, while only68% of the smallest credit unions in the country offer internet-based banking.

And while internet banking has been a staple for some time,smartphone apps are growing in importance to consumers. Columbus, Ga.-basedKinetic Federal CreditUnion recently rolled out a smartphone app that allowsmembers to control their Kinetic debit and credit cards. With CardValet,members can lock use of the cards if they are lost or stolen, set spendinglimits, get real time purchase alerts and limit transactions to a certain areausing the phone's GPS.

Rivermark's new online banking system provides features thatthe credit union hopes will enhance members' online experience, includingperson-to-person payments through Popmoney – allowing members to send, requestand receive money to anyone with just an email address or mobile number.Members can also check their balance without having to log in. Rivermark nowalso offers personal finance software allowing members to create budgets andtrack their spending for all their accounts, including those at other financialinstitutions.

Noble also noted Rivermark's trackrecord for innovation in financial services. In 2012, it became the firstcredit union in Oregon to offer mobile deposit and now has more than 41,000members that use its mobile banking platform. In 2014, it was the first creditunion in the state to extend service through a video kiosk system where membersare served by a remote teller that performs their transaction just as if theywere doing so in person, he said. The personal teller kiosk system has allowedRivermark to offer extended hours. Noble said Rivermark has also added Androidand Samsung Pay to its mobile wallet, in addition to Apple Pay.

"The upgrade of our online and mobile banking platformis just the latest evolution of our goal to help members manage their financeswhenever, wherever and however they choose," Noble said.

Information on electronic financial services offered by credit unions is reported in the profile section of the 5300 call report, which can be accessed under the Documents section of a company's briefing book page on the SNL website or in SNLOffice.

Click here for a template that allows you to quantify the value that a credit union is delivering to its members relative to a custom peer group.

Click here to view a webinar on the member value peer score template.