Building Trust, Maximizing Savings: How MAX Credit Union Created Efficiencies with Document Services

Credit union Chief Information Officers (CIOs) play a crucial role in overseeing the technological aspects of their organizations, and evaluating vendor relationships is essential for several reasons. CIOs ensure that a credit union’s technology partnerships are cost-effective, efficient, and aligned with the organization’s goals. They also must build strong relationships with vendors and assess vendors' collaboration, communication, and responsiveness.


When Montgomery, Ala.-based MAX Credit Union ($2 billion in assets) brought on Dale Watkins as Chief Information Officer, he evaluated the credit union's top vendors with the highest monthly costs. HC3, the credit union’s statement and document services partner, ranked in the top three. HC3 provided printing and mailing services for their physical statements and member communications and handled the digital presentation of statements and member communications.


“Coming to MAX without knowledge of HC3, I wanted to make sure I understood what we were sending and why,” said Watkins. “I didn’t have any historical context for why we were doing what we were doing, and as I began to evaluate our vendors, I wanted to have the full picture of our relationship.”


Evaluating a Long-Term Partner for Future Fit

After some initial meetings between MAX Credit Union and the HC3 team, both parties agreed that an in-person meeting at HC3 headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., would be the most productive option to review all aspects of the relationship. During the meeting, HC3 walked the MAX Credit Union team through potential pain points and changes to make processes easier. HC3 also worked with MAX credit union to identify cost-saving opportunities that would not affect their level of service or their member experience.


Three main opportunities were identified: reducing their digital storage length for statements and notices, moving documents from printing simplex to duplex, and switching from legal print paper to letter print paper.


“Having a vendor that works with us on all aspects, including cutting costs that directly affect them to build trust, is amazing,” said Watkins. “It is that part of relationship building that I prefer and speaks the most regarding our partner's core values.”


Restructuring a Partnership to Maximize Results

After the in-person meeting with HC3, representatives from MAX Credit Union took the insights they gathered and formed a game plan to implement the changes. HC3 sent over several options for archived statements, giving MAX Credit Union leadership a clear cost breakdown based on the number of months archived.


Once the MAX Credit Union team decided on the number of months to archive digital statements and notified their members about the change, the HC3 team was able to quickly make that update, saving MAX Credit Union a significant amount of money each month. The other two required modification template updates that the MAX Credit Union team could complete and send to HC3, continuing their savings.


“It’s about trust and trusting your vendors and not just providing the service,” said Watkins. “If two companies provide the same service, then the one that I trust to be open and honest with me is the one I’m going to go to, even if it is a little more expensive.”


It is crucial for MAX Credit Union to work with vendors that become “invisible” in their organization. HC3 has seamlessly worked as a part of the team, ensuring that MAX’s members receive statements and communications physically and digitally. HC3 has become a trusted partner to MAX Credit Union, providing value and counsel outside the service-level agreements.


About Author:

Griffin McGahey is president at HC3, a Birmingham, Ala.-based company that manages complex data to help financial institutions communicate with customers.

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