BY LISA TOWNSEND
If streamlining, efficiency and productivity of day-to-day activities top your credit union’s goals, an extranet might be the solution. See how one credit union service organization is successfully leveraging an extranet to exchange confidential information with its owner credit unions and how you can too to simplify your daily operations.
Extranets are modified Internet sites that provide a private and secure channel for a company to share and exchange confidential information with its customers. In the case of a credit union service organization like PSCU, an extranet is a portal for sharing information with the CUSO’s 800 owner credit unions.
Originally launched in spring of 2002, PSCU’s extranet, MemberConnect, was developed as a way to exchange confidential information with owner credit unions in a secure, password-restricted environment. Once integrated into the PSCU service model, MemberConnect made day-to-day activities more efficient, streamlined and productive for both PSCU employees and its credit unions. In 2006, MemberConnect was refreshed with minor cosmetic modifications and new subject categories. For nearly a decade it has provided a reliable and useful platform for credit unions to access information crucial to their daily operations.
With the emergence of the digital age and the increase in innovative products and services entering the financial services market, PSCU needed to improve MemberConnect’s functionality to make it easier for credit unions to use. In PSCU’s ongoing commitment to service excellence, the CUSO had the opportunity to revisit the tools its member credit unions depend on most and to improve the areas of highest importance. The first step was to look at the ways PSCU could make it easier for credit union employees to do their jobs by conducting onsite visits designed to better understand how credit unions were using MemberConnect.
During 2015, PSCU began asking for participants to help shape MemberConnect 2.0. Seven leading credit unions stepped up to be the voice for the CUSO’s 800 owner credit unions across the country. The credit unions were interviewed about what they liked or didn’t like about MemberConnect and were then given tasks so PSCU team members could observe their technique for navigating the beta version of MemberConnect 2.0.
Katie Bendyk, ATM and card services manager for Vantage Credit Union (St. Louis, Mo.), said during a recent interview, “Cards are a big deal to us so our relationship with PSCU is very important. When asked to give feedback on the site that helps keep our cards top of wallet, we jumped at the chance.” Bendyk continued, “We were blown away by the demo of MemberConnect 2.0, and though our team comprises a wide range of generations and skill sets, everyone agrees that the ease of navigation and search functionality improvements are awesome. Most importantly, our feedback didn’t stop at PSCU’s onsite visits. We’d receive a link from PSCU every couple of weeks to test and were asked to speak up regarding what works and doesn’t work for us.”