By W.B. King
Over the past year, Achieva Credit Union noticed its members were trading upwards of $2.6 million in cryptocurrency through third-party platforms. In an effort to provide a secure, reliable and streamlined alternative, the credit union now offers a crypto buying and trading option via its mobile app — making history in the process.
“It was clear that many members wanted to get involved with crypto, and we felt it was the right time to provide access to bitcoin from the institution they trust,” said Achieva Credit Union Public Relations Liaison Tasha Cohen-Glynn. “The bitcoin widget is accessible in the latest version of the Achieva mobile application, which we launched on June 7.”
Acknowledging that she knew Achieva Credit Union would be the first CU in Florida to offer this service, Cohen-Glynn said the $2.5 billion Dunedin, Fla.-based institution, which serves approximately 162,000 members at 22 branches, couldn’t be more “proud” of the designation.
Making Bitcoin Accessible to Membership
To provide a service that would allow members to buy, sell and hold bitcoin, the credit union turned to the New York City-based NYDIG and its Bitcoin Trading Platform.
“It provides a 24/7, seamless experience to easily access bitcoin. Achieva provides the front-end technology to deliver NYDIG’s bitcoin solutions and communications functions on NYDIG’s behalf,” Cohen-Glynn explained.
“Through our updated app, the bitcoin widget connects directly to NYDIG’s trading platform, allowing members to buy, sell or hold cryptocurrency. Specifically, Bitcoin BTC,” Cohen-Glynn continued. “Achieva will directly draw the funds from the linked account to fund bitcoin purchases.”
In a January 2022 press release, NYDIG seemingly forecasted the Achieva CU partnership when the cryptocurrency firm bought a full-page Wall Street Journal advertisement announcing the first wave of partnerships with banks and credit unions.
“We’re ready to show the world that banking is better with bitcoin,” said NYDIG Chief Innovation Officer Patrick Sells in a statement. “Our research is clear; consumers want bitcoin and they want it through the banks and credit unions they already trust. We’re so proud that this initial group of banks and credit unions share our vision and dedication for making bitcoin accessible to everyone.”
Training, Education and Incentives
Leading up to the June launch, Cohen-Glynn said certain credit union employees were privy to several online presentations as well as training materials and documentation.
“We’ve created a dedicated landing page on our website to keep our members informed,” Cohen-Glynn said. “We’ve also included a frequently asked question document to ensure all questions are answered.”
Education and awareness of the offering are important, but so are incentives, she said. Before the official launch of the updated app, Achieva CU employees were invited to a trial of the new bitcoin services and given $10 to purchase bitcoin through the app.
“NYDIG provided an additional $5 to each employee who signed up,” noted Cohen-Glynn. Employees were able to buy, sell, and hold their bitcoin; as we validated the functionality and performance of the app.”
While Cohen-Glynn said it is too soon to provide metrics on usage rates or ROI, during the three-week employee pilot program, Achieva CU team members purchased more than $2,500 of bitcoin.
“We currently have more than 150 employees engaged with the crypto widget,” she said, “We don’t have a current number of member engagements at this time.”
For those credit unions looking to offer a similar cryptocurrency mobile app solution, Cohen-Glynn’s said the biggest piece of advice she could impart was to ensure a strong focus is placed on training.
“Your staff as well as membership, so people are informed as well as engaged,” she continued. “Our employee incentive before launch proved to be very successful. It provided a training opportunity for our employees and a safe testing environment before launch.”
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