Credit union membership is booming—but keeping members happy and content is a whole other challenge. Today’s customers expect a digital experience that matches the simplicity and convenience they receive in other industry sectors. Members want a fast, easy online journey from the moment they sign up to every time they access their accounts, with the option to interact via any channel.

First Tech Federal Credit Union (FTFCU), based in California, is a top ten credit union in the United States. Founded in 1952 and with over $11 billion in assets under management, FTFCU serves the employees of some of the world’s leading technology companies with retail banking and lending products.

To build on this long record of success, the credit union wanted to enhance its member experience by accelerating the application process for new accounts and services. In particular, FTFCU hoped to reduce the time that new members spent filling out applications forms, and to reduce abandonment rates during onboarding.

Understanding member preferences

To drive improvements to customer service, FTFCU also wanted to create a 360-degree view of all online and offline interactions between individual members and the credit union. With access to this data, FTFCU employees would be able to craft more personalised and relevant experiences during the onboarding process, closely aligned to the preferences of each customer.

Prior to development, FTFCU surveyed more than 500 members to assess their satisfaction levels when interacting with the credit union, and interviewed 20 members to understand their rating of the existing application journey. The credit union also surveyed another 500 members to discover what they expected when applying for a new service.

During the research phases, FTFCU discovered its members were open to purchasing more products, but wanted the onboarding process to be as slick and hassle-free as possible. Applicants did not want to have to enter their details multiple times, requested step-by-step guidance and the ability to save progress and return to where they left off at a later point, and highlighted the need for a convenient document signing process.

Planning more customer-centric process

With a clear understanding of customer preferences, FTFCU launched the ‘Omnichannel 2.0’ initiative. The FTFCU team decided that the smartest way to enhance the member experience was through developing a new omnichannel customer acquisition platform, enabling users to start a product application in one channel and finish via another channel or at a later time, without the need for separate password or login creation.

By increasing flexibility during the onboarding journey, FTFCU also recognised it would increase the chances of members completing every step of their application process—helping to reduce abandonment rates and increasing overall revenues.

Deploying pre-built onboarding solutions

For Omnichannel 2.0 to be a success, the credit union realised that it could not treat it as just another IT project. Instead, FTFCU came up with a collaborative, cross-functional strategy to ensure buy-in from stakeholders across the enterprise.

To underpin this strategy, FTFCU deployed Temenos Infinity solutions. Impressed with the built-in capabilities for rapid customer acquisition, FTFCU used the Temenos platform to create a set of omnichannel application processes. The new onboarding platform integrates seamlessly with the credit union’s CRM and core banking systems, and pre-fills forms using data submitted previously by each customer to streamline application processes.

Simplifying the acquisition journey

Working with Temenos Infinity, the cross-functional FTFCU team delivered a customer-centric design and a personalised, relevant experience whenever, wherever, and however members chose to interact with the credit union. FTFCU members can now apply for 47 different products, including deposit accounts, home loans, vehicle loans, personal loans, credit cards, and insurance inquiries.

The new system requires significantly less input from new applicants than before, and offers employees at FTFCU an instant view of applications in progress.

Within weeks of going live, FTFCU saw an overall application completion rate of 65% – well above industry norms of around 20%.

In the months following the introduction of the new onboarding system, members completed application processes much faster than previously. The credit union has identified the following reductions in time for application completions:

  • 57% for certificates of deposit applications
  • 51% for vehicle loan applications
  • 46% for credit card applications
  • 43% for checking account applications
  • 41% for personal loan applications
  • 34% for home loan applications

Increasing employee productivity

The new onboarding platform also enabled FTFCU to gain many operational efficiencies. For example, the smoother application process significantly reduced pressure on the credit union’s call centre, with a 47% reduction in the need for ‘after call work’ and a 20% reduction in ‘hold time’ for members trying to reach an FTFCU operator.

“The launch of our omnichannel platform has been transformational for us. In the first week our new systems were available, members submitted 2,379 product applications. As a result of the new, frictionless member-centric designed systems our new application completion rate is at 65%. Industry studies place completion around 30% for deposit, and 10% for loan applications—so we are delighted with our results. We could not have achieved this without Temenos.”

Mike Upton, Chief Digital Officer