At a Glance

80% year-on-year increase in new registrations for digital services

35% of loans originate on the digital channel within just 10 months after go-live

40% drop in call-center volumes, freeing teams up to support members more comprehensively

85% reduction in manual back-end processing, reducing the risk of human error

83% Net Promoter Score, reflecting member satisfaction and loyalty.

Established in 1964, St Raphael’s Garda Credit Union was formed to serve the needs of An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s national police force. From a membership of 119 people in its first year, the organization has grown to become the country’s largest credit union, now made up of more than 39,000 Gardaí and their families.  A not-for-profit co-operation, the organization has a member-centric approach to its business.

Claire Byrne, Chief Executive Officer at St Raphael’s Garda Credit Union, says: “We serve almost every part of the police force, with members living all across Ireland. What sets us apart from other financial institutions are the deep relationships we cultivate with our members which have been built on more than fifty years of mutual trust and respect. Our primary objective is to look after the financial well-being of all our members, and we work hard to truly understand each member’s needs, and to offer them best-in-class lending and savings products and services to help them achieve their financial goals.

Meeting new expectations

In recent years, consumer expectations around financial services have shifted dramatically. Today, customers increasingly expect the ability to engage with their provider on any channel—branch, contact center, or digital device—and to switch between these channels seamlessly throughout their journey.

“As a not-for-profit co-operative, we can provide lending and savings products at extremely competitive rates, since we’re not dependent on external money markets” explains Claire Byrne. “While great prices, service levels and products are crucial, easy access and speed of decision has become increasingly important and therefore constant investment in how we deliver our services has also become equally important. In Ireland and around the world, the financial services sector is evolving rapidly. As digital banking becomes the norm and new entrants such as fintechs enter the marketplace, it’s vital for St Raphael’s to offer high-quality online and mobile experiences to compete effectively and ensure we remain central in the provision of financial services for our members.”

Targeting digital transformation

To realize its goals, St Raphael’s set out on a far-reaching digital transformation. The aim was to provide members with streamlined digital services: empowering online and mobile users to complete important journeys such as loan origination end to end. St Raphaels will always offer members a choice in the channels they choose to use, whether that is to visit a branch, call a customer service agent, or to utilize our digital channels.

“We never take our members’ loyalty for granted. To help us to attract new members and protect hard-won relationships, we decided to reimagine our digital channel from the ground up.”

Claire Byrne, Chief Executive Officer at Raphael’s Garda Credit Union

Selecting a proven partner

For many years, St Raphael’s has been a leading innovator in Ireland’s financial services industry. When Ireland’s regulatory framework for credit unions was updated, the organization was the first to offer mortgage products to its members. The company was also an early adopter of digital services, working with Temenos to support its first online banking experience using an earlier version of Temenos Core Banking more than a decade ago. Based on its positive experiences with Temenos Financial Inclusion solution, the credit union decided to build its new digital experiences on the latest generation of the Temenos Core Banking solution along with Temenos Digital Banking Platform.

“To realize our vision for the omni-channel customer experience, we targeted even tighter integration between our front, middle and back office – and that’s exactly what Temenos allows us to do,” comments Claire Byrne. “As a small business, we greatly appreciate the wealth of technical expertise and customer experience best practices that our partnership with Temenos brings to St Raphael’s. Crucially, by combining the core solution with Temenos Digital Banking Platform, we can deliver consistent journeys across every channel and digital device.

Realizing the vision

Working with its Temenos business partner Banktech, St Raphael’s mapped out the target workflows and configured Temenos Core Banking and Temenos Digital Platform to enable the new omni-channel experiences. The solution includes an entirely digital process for loan origination—the first of its kind for any credit union in Ireland.

“Our transformation was complex, and the process was further complicated by the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, which struck right in the middle of the project,” recalls Claire Byrne. “Despite the challenges we faced, the excellent collaboration between our team, Banktech and Temenos helped us to keep our work on track. Although social distancing and lockdown measures forced us to switch from a co-located project team to colleagues working remotely from the UK, India, and the USA, we were determined to succeed—and our switchover to the new solution went very smoothly.”

Ensuring 24/7 services

Today, St Raphael’s uses Temenos Financial Inclusion to support its core banking workflows from end-to-end, while Temenos Digital Banking Platform allows the organization to deliver outstanding digital experiences to its members, online and on mobile.

“The transition to the latest version of Temenos Core Banking was practically seamless for St Raphael’s employees,” comments Claire Byrne. “The Temenos solution is extremely intuitive, which allowed our people to get started with minimal training. Most importantly, the solution is also extremely resilient and reliable.  Our members are front-line staff, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  We need a service that is resilient and reliable, and Temenos Core Banking enables us to keep our services running smoothly 24 hours a day.” Thanks to intelligent automation powered by our Temenos solutions, members can now apply for lending products from their smartphone and receive an approval within minutes—any time, day or night. After just 10 months, a massive 35% of all our loans now originate on the digital channel, which is a testament to the value our members see in the service.”

Accelerating adoption, generating operational efficiencies, and reducing risk

St Raphael’s members have been quick to embrace the new online and mobile experiences. The organization has measured an 80% year-on-year increase in new registrations for its digital services, and an increasing number now seek out these channels for day-to-day transactions.

“Members now have the freedom to carry out their business at the times that are most convenient for them. As a result, we’ve seen a 40% drop in call volumes to our contact centre. Our teams now have more time to help people with more complex needs.  And members have responded really well to these improvements, rating St Raphael’s with an incredible Net Promoter Score of 83% in a recent survey.”

Claire Byrne, Chief Executive Officer at Raphael’s Garda Credit Union

Automation at St Raphael’s isn’t limited to customer-facing services. Behind the scenes, Temenos Core Banking allows back-office teams to work more efficiently than ever. Claire Byrne confirms: “One of the impacts of the new solution that we didn’t fully anticipate at the beginning of the project was just how much time it would save in the back office—, particularly around regulatory controls. Automation has allowed us to reduce manual processing by around 85%, which cuts the risk of human error and liberates our teams to focus on value-added work.”

Looking to the future

Looking ahead, St Raphael’s plans to build on its success with Temenos and drive continuous enhancements to the customer experience. The next step is the move to the cloud, in collaboration with Temenos.

The impact of our transformation has been phenomenal: we can now deliver even higher-quality services to our customers without driving up cost and complexity for the business. In our sector, continuous innovation is crucial to compete effectively. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Temenos, and we look forward to working with them to find new ways to improve our services.”

Claire Byrne, Chief Executive Officer at Raphael’s Garda Credit Union