As the official credit union for employees of The Walt Disney Company, Partners Federal Credit Union serves a disproportionately Millennial demographic that expects a lot out of mobile banking applications.

“Our membership is about ten years younger than the national average, so that comes with certain demands,” said Partners President and CEO John Janclaes. “We need to be very responsive to what’s important to them, and at the top of the list is mobility. They want to be able to do banking anytime and anywhere, and with great ease.”

Partners’ leadership believes it needs strong digital channels to achieve two key business goals: capture half of Disney’s 185,000 employees as members, and grow its assets to $2 billion over the next few years.

At the Mercy of an Aging Platform

Until recently, Partners had a four-year-old mobile app with a 20 percent abandonment rate, and its underlying third-party technology made enhancing the app a challenge and created numerous workflow issues.

“We were at the mercy of that third party to introduce features, to introduce updates, and to perform maintenance whenever they wanted,” said Assistant VP of Technology Tom Patti.

More than half (54%) of Partners’ members say they’d like to interact with the credit union digitally. This has provided Partners with an opportunity to drive member satisfaction by delivering an app that caters to every financial dream, no matter how small.

To achieve this goal, Partners needed a digital technology that offered more control, more flexibility, put cutting-edge features and capabilities in its developers’ hands, and allowed it to deliver more consistent omnichannel service consistent with its online banking experience.

The Tonic to Mobile Challenges

Partners’ search for a solution that met its requirements led it to Kony (now part of Temenos). From designing and developing its new digital application to connecting the app to back-end services and APIs, Partners knew it had found an answer to its mobile challenges.

Partners was able to quickly usher its new app from design to launch in seven months. When it was ready, Partners literally flipped a switch and transitioned to the new mobile app without missing a beat.

Add in the fact that the new platform enabled Partners to develop for iOS and Android using a single code base, and the credit union has enjoyed a new sense of empowerment.

“It’s been the Holy Grail that lets us focus on the underlying code and not worry about all the individual implementations,” said Jay Gittings, manager of development.

Mobile Platform for Innovation

As a result, Partners’ app has evolved into an innovation digital channel. In addition to core banking functions, the app offers advanced features, such as a “Partners Perks” section with coupons from local and national merchants, and an education portal where members can access money-management seminars or download podcasts.

The app also features a built-in survey tool that lets members tell the credit union what they do or don’t like about the app, providing a powerful feedback loop.

“It’s been great to hear from members that, ‘Hey, we’d like to see things like fingerprint authentication and touch ID,’ and then be able to put that into the application,” said Chief Member Service Officer Chris Parker. “We can now interact with members and get that development prioritized in the pipeline to deliver new features right back to the marketplace.”

Destination: Mobile Business Value

The ability to work collaboratively with its members would mean little if Partners’ app wasn’t delivering tangible value in a variety of ways, from speed-to-market and scalability to decreased traffic at branches. Its new platform has enabled it to increase the frequency of its mobile app releases from one or two a year to at least four.

Since launching the app, Partners has added 1,800 new users each month, resulting in a 20-percent increase in remote deposits and a 64 percent increase in mobile Visa payments. And the 20 percent abandonment rate the old app logged? The new app has brought that down to just 3 percent.

What’s more, Partners has discovered that it no longer has to fret over whether its systems are secure and robust enough to handle increased data flows, or whether it needs to invest in additional infrastructure. Temenos Infinity cloud-native  suite of applications flexes with the credit union’s needs as they evolve.

All of these pieces — a development platform, a collaborative relationship with Temenos, and a flexible, cloud-agnostic infrastructure — have enabled Partners to establish a mobile strategy on par with much larger players in the financial services world. “This has really allowed us to think differently,” said Patti. “It’s not, ‘Can we put this piece of technology into the application?’ It’s, ‘What’s the best way to do that for our member’s experience?’”

Stepping Into An Entirely New Way

Partners plans to take full advantage of Temenos’ suite of offerings for the banking industry. That means members could eventually use the app to manage more than their Partners accounts.

“Our vision is that this mobile banking app actually begins to encapsulate all of your funds, not just those that are here at Partners, so you really have control of all of your finances from one single device,” said Parker.

Having previously contended with an inflexible and unresponsive mobile environment, Partners now has a solution that removes the logjams that prevented innovation and enables it to think about member service in an entirely new way.

In this way, Partners has mimicked every Disney movie ever made: It’s found its Happily Ever After.