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How Greater Iowa Credit Union is Tackling the Digital Revolution

Never before have credit unions confronted a more challenging competitive landscape. Digital lending and online account origination are no longer things credit unions must work toward – they’re a minimum requirement to compete and remain relevant. Consumers now demand a fast, seamless and safe experience across all channels. This digital revolution can be daunting, but at the heart of this revolution is an unprecedented opportunity for credit unions to drive growth, expand geographically, reach a much broader audience, while more effectively engaging members.

And it begins and ends with the digital member experience and recognizing this is not just the digitization of paper-based processes but the reinvention of how credit unions engage with their members and the community. To be competitive, credit unions must meet members where they are and that means providing services whenever and wherever is most convenient to the member. It’s a virtual world with 24/7 access to news, entertainment, shopping, bill payment and financial services. If your credit union isn’t providing a 24-hour, mobile-friendly, online experience, you will quickly be left behind.

Taking a People-First Approach

For Greater Iowa Credit Union (GICU), delivering an extraordinary, end-to-end experience is not a new initiative. Headquartered in Ames, Iowa, the credit union has more than $512 million in assets, 33,000 members and operates eight branches. As it has grown, GICU has remained steadfast in its commitment to operating a “people first” business. In other words, they provide relevant and meaningful financial tools and services that promote the overall financial success and well-being of not only the members, but also the communities where it operates.

“We
are driven by an innovative spirit to adopt the very best practices and
technologies – many of which are found at larger, ‘big name’ financial
institutions,” said GICU’s Vice President of Lending, Neal Dietz. “Leveraging
technology to provide our members a seamless and positive experience further
builds

those
strong relationships. That is the key to why we’ve been consistently ranked one
of the area’s top financial institutions.”

Long
before the digital transformation movement, GICU was committed to making it as
easy as possible for members to do business with them, however the member
chose. The credit union realized that consumer expectations were being reshaped
every day by dynamic technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple. “Members
simply expect the same fast, easy, frictionless experiences that increasingly
ubiquitous tech disruptors provide.  The thought of being able to provide lights
out lending to our members is very exciting,” Dietz said.

Most
recently, the credit union examined its consumer lending operations,
identifying areas where the process could be easier, more efficient for its
members. This included a deep dive into the technology currently being used in
comparison to other options available in the market. It was quickly determined
that its legacy loan origination system (LOS) was not able to meet its current
needs, and certainly could not support future growth. Dietz explained, “Member
experience is not simply a buzz word for our credit union. I would argue that
one of our most important strategies is ensuring we provide our members the
tools and options needed to do business and complete transactions in whatever
manner they select. Digital lending and online account origination are no
longer things we must work toward – they’re a minimum requirement to compete
and remain relevant.”

Single
System
The credit union completed an
extensive vetting process, examining 10 loan origination and account opening
providers before identifying the top three providers, and ultimately selecting
TCI. A key decision factor was that TCI offered a cloud-based solution, which
can reduce IT involvement. Additionally, the solution is very configurable,
enabling the credit union to shift as the market dictates. Dietz continued, “For
the past five years, we have focused on implementing and using technology to
ensure we not only operate efficiently, but also enhance the overall member
experience. After carefully reviewing multiple platforms, TCI’s DecisionLender 4
(DL4) was the system that could best
meet all our current objectives, and provide the flexibility needed to
enable future growth.”

DL4
enables the credit union to manage both indirect and direct lending operations,
as well as online account opening on one system. The system streamlines loan
and account opening from application to funding, allowing GICU to process
higher volumes of loans more quickly without requiring additional resources. Dietz
said, “We can also add new loans types at any time, which will be extremely
valuable to our staff.  Our members will now
have the convenience of a single sign-on for faster login-ins, as well as increased
interaction including real-time updates regarding the status of their loans.” 

Member
Experience

The
most innovative, tech-enabled businesses have delivered instant gratification
to consumers, and they now expect it from every business. People are more
likely to close an app that loads slowly, abandon a transaction if the website
doesn’t remember them, or seek out more helpful and educational companies. The
biggest frustrations consumers have with the borrowing process is the
paperwork, the transparency of the process, and the time it takes to receive a decision,
and then ultimately receive funding.  At
most traditional financial institutions, the whole transaction is overwhelming,
painful and slow. For GICU, Decision
Lender will enable the streamlining of this experience for both its associates
and its members.

Dietz
said. “Implementing DL4 will give
our members even more flexibility, enabling them to complete
transactions when it fits their schedules. Our associates will spend less time
worrying about systems and procedures, and spend more time focusing on our
members’ needs, having meaningful conversations about their financial goals.”

Unfortunately,
many lending relationships [especially indirect loans and mortgages] result in
single-account relationships. A closed loan can help facilitate cross-sell
opportunities as it provides key insights into the needs and behaviors of a
consumer. The multi-channel new member onboarding process can use the data collected
during the loan application process to create highly personalized offers that
can be delivered instantly.

Account
Opening Completes Process

GICU
is also deploying the DL4 account opening module to provide 24/7
account-opening capabilities. Dietz noted that this helps streamline and
complete the online process. Members are able to “save” their progress,
ensuring applications can be initiated, stopped, saved and restarted from any
location and any device, either in the branch or online.

With the right product integration, a credit union can embrace the digital revolution and allow members to open any available account offering and apply for new loans or refinancing from their computer, tablet or phone. Much like the Amazon’s of the world, credit unions must continue to change with the times to ensure all members’ needs are put into the forefront.

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