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As mergers become more and more common and the focus on income increases, credit unions are concentrating on non-interest income to make up for the lack of loan income that has also become common. It is not a surprise that every credit union is looking for ways to lower their operating expenses but they need to do so without sacrificing member facing experiences or causing other issues.

A Sharetec credit union, Member’s First Community Credit Union, located in Quincy, IL, wanted to lower operating expenses while improving member facing experiences. The credit union is a non-for-profit member-owned financial cooperative dedicated to providing stable, comprehensive and competitive financial services to meet member needs. Since 1985, when Teri McEwen, CEO, joined the credit union, it has grown from $1 million in assets to over $72 million.

Member’s First was able to accomplish its goals with Sharetec’s eNotices module. With eNotices, members receive their information faster than they would through traditional mail, providing them easy access to notices, letters and other correspondence related to their account. Members “First” community credit union saves big money on postage and expenses, as well as well as additional savings from envelopes, paper, ink, folding, and most importantly, staff time.

Teri McEwen, CEO of the credit union, remarked, “We appreciate the fact that Sharetec continually adds new products like eNotices. One of our goals is to keep up with the larger financial players in our market and the eNotices module gives us that opportunity, which has proven to be a great success for our credit union.”

Since Member’s “First” community credit union started using Sharetec’s eNotices module, they have reduced their monthly expenses by $975! The end result of implementing the eNotices feature is that it benefits both the credit union and the member. Overall annual savings totaled $11,700 with spending cuts to postage, envelopes, paper and staff time which averaged 45 minutes to 1 hour daily.

Click here to read the full case study.


The month of May has been a very busy month for the Sharetec team. With attendance in 3 shows with 1 more still to go, May is typically one of the busiest months for tradeshows and events. Team Sharetec has been flying and driving thousands of miles this month and working hard to have a strong representation at these shows in order to build stronger relationships with current clients while building new relationships with prospective clients.

So far in May, Sharetec has attended the Dakota Credit Union Association show, The Wisconsin Credit Union League, Mississippi Credit Union Association show and the Montana Credit Union Convention and Expo. To everyone who has attended and visited the Sharetec booth, we appreciate you stopping by to speak with us to learn more about Sharetec and to all of our current customers who took the time to stop by, thank you!

League shows are a great way for Sharetec to showcase and speak to credit union decision makers about our product and services, while having a little fun and relationship building with our current credit unions. Shows typically last anywhere between 1-3 days and are jammed packed with speakers, exhibits, entertainment and giveaways. Attendees include credit union staff from teller to CEO and board members. The main reason to attend these shows is to gain valuable knowledge about products and services available to help make the credit union more efficient and to help better serve members. New technology and services are introduced at these shows by vendors and it is also a great opportunity for vendors to showcase how they can integrate with other vendors at the show.

If you have attended league shows but never visited a Sharetec booth, you are missing out! Sharetec not only has great information to share regarding our product we also have many great items to give away. We also do a cash jar giveaway at every show. We have a container filled with cash on our table and attendees will guess how much they believe is in the container. The person that guesses the closest amount by the end of the show will walk away with all the cash! With more shows coming up including one in the Caribbean, Sharetec looks forward to connecting with current and new clients. We enjoy meeting new customers and explaining how Sharetec can help your credit union grow.

Check out Michael, Sharetec Account Relationship Manager, with our recent cash jar winner, Sherri Risher from Old South FCU.

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Chatbot

In this article we will cover the importance of having a chat feature on your credit union website. We also want to take it a step further and talk about chatbots. As every credit union knows, the way members communicate with their financial institution has quickly changed over the years. There are less members that physically walk in to a branch. Instead, members prefer to do everything online. Not only that, but members do not communicate with the credit union like they used to. With the younger demographic growing, it’s not surprising to see that everything needs to be done on a mobile device. Many younger members do not even own a computer. They can do almost everything on their phones and their phones are never more than 3 feet away from them. They prefer to text instead of call and they prefer to search and shop online instead of physically going in to a store. Is your credit union set up to meet the needs of this valuable demographic?

One thing that we have seen work really well is a chat feature on a website. This is nothing new and website chat has been around for a while but not every institution is using it to its full potential. Many institutions have a chat feature that a staff member responds to during business hours and many times it is not responded to promptly because that staff member is busy with other tasks. A lot of times, members need something quickly outside of business hours or need a simple answer to a FAQ outside of operating hours. They cannot call because the branch is closed. What if there was an automated method to staff a chat feature on your website without having to have an individual always standing by. This is where chatbots come in. Chatbots were created to essentially operate a chat feature automatically based on preset responses and answers to FAQs. Of course the chatbot cannot do the work of a teller but it can answer simple questions and possibly route the member to the appropriate section of the website. Chatbots aren’t just for outside of business hours. Chatbots can hold a conversation with a member and route them to the correct department so that there is no need for an operator. If the member needs information about their account they would be transferred to a teller, if they need information about a loan they are routed to the loan officer and so on. Chatbots are also a great way to push marketing material when someone visits your website. Automated messaging and answers can be set up to push a certain product or service.

If your credit union is not utilizing a chat feature on your current website, it may be a good idea to look in to implementing this useful and cost effective tool. Most websites come prebuilt with a chat feature and sometimes even chatbots. If your website provider does not provide this option, you can sign up with one of the many online options that fit your organization. There will be some initial set up and testing but for the most part this is something that can be set up once and used with very little maintenance. All providers have very easy to use platforms. This is a type of customer facing experience that your members will appreciate, especially the younger demographic. 
 

RocketCollectorSm

Is your collections software and process outdated and cumbersome? Do your collections staff spend way too much time on simple tasks that could be automated for them? Welcome Rocket Collector - Sharetec’s collections software that allows credit unions to streamline and simplify their collections process while saving time and money. Not to mention increasing the speed and amount of debt collected. Do you have the following restrictions?

• Large volumes of cases and not enough staff to manage/complete work

• No way to prioritize workloads

• Working from long, static lists led to accounts being missed or bypassed

• Payment reconciliation taking up to three weeks, resulting in mounting arrears

• Delays threatening or issuing legal proceedings and duplicating work

• Debtors forming bad habits after not being promptly contacted after missing a payment

Rocket Collector addresses all of the above limitations plus more! Providing a 360 degree view of customer debt, Rocket Collector offers advanced functionality, automation and insight to dramatically increase efficiency and reduce costs versus traditional methods and manual processes. Additionally, the solution is well-suited for a variety of industries and organizations—including credit unions, banks, debt collection agencies, attorneys, financial services, loan servicers, telecom/utilities and local governments. Rocket Collector boasts the following key features:

• Proven track record

• Rapid implementation

• Reliability & security

• Flexibility

• Ease of use

• Exceptional support

• Excellent value

• Advanced functionality, automation & insight

• Integration with existing systems

• Well-suited for a variety of industries & organizations

To improve and simplify your collections process consider Rocket Collector. See how this large government agency improved their collections process by 30% utilizing Rocket Collector. A member of the accounting team from this government organization stated the following: “We have saved a huge amount of time as result of the new system, which I never envisaged we could achieve. It will more than pay for itself. My only regret is we didn’t get it years ago!”
  

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One of the biggest things prospective members want is simplicity. A simple and accommodating enrollment and application process means members are more apt to open an account with your credit union. Good thing Sharetec is The Technology of Simplicity! At Sharetec, our main focus is member facing experience. If the process to enroll or the technology that handles it, is difficult or outdated, the prospective member will be less likely to sign up. This goes for current and new products and features. If a current member could benefit from a new product but they have a hard time understanding or signing up, they will decide not to and the credit union loses out on that piece of business. This is the case for many credit unions around the country. Their core partner is either not evolving with them and their members or they simply do not have the proper guidance in order to serve their current members and prospective members.

Planites Credit Union had a unique situation. This credit union is located on the 14th floor of a high-rise building in downtown Chicago. The CU serves members across the state of Illinois covering 300+ miles from this one office. The CU wanted to use technology to service members rather than build branches. Sharetec’s Online Member Enrollment facilitates new member enrollment and provides a channel for new shares and loans to be opened by existing members – at any time, from anywhere. Online Member Enrollment validates identity, providing a secure solution and reducing fraud in the online application process.

Planites Credit Union has been utilizing Online Member Enrollment for many years and has had great success enrolling members online and in return, provides maximum efficiency to their staff. Online member enrollment allows Planites Credit Union’s new members to enroll and existing members to open new accounts and apply for loans – at any time. In addition, security is enhanced by validating identification and reducing fraud via its secure application process.

Planites Credit Union analyzed a number of data points from its membership and evaluated the ways members are joining the credit union. The results showed 75% of new members were onboarding remotely using this technology. According to Danny Valkanos, President of Planites Credit Union, “The online member module has significantly increased our new membership drive. It makes joining the credit union quick and effortless, mainly because you can do it from the comfort of your home. Lastly, it has greatly reduced paperwork here in the office.” Additionally, Sharetec has provided Planites Credit Union with a secure and efficient ID verification method. The CU now has the ability to perform online security checks.

To read the full case study, click here.