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  • Writer's pictureW.B. King

Nutmeg State FCU’s Partnership With Cotribute Results in Significant Cross-Departmental Automation Gains

By W.B. King


With the goal of making the member banking experience seamless and easy, Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union began a partnership with Cotribute two years ago resulting in a host of successes, including achieving a 97.56% automation rate in combined application decisions.


“We recognized the limitations of our legacy platform in terms of agility and the ability to provide a delightful user experience,” John Holt, Nutmeg State FCU’s presidents and CEO, told Finopotamus.


The $565 million Rock Hill, Conn.-based credit union, which supports more than 43,000 members, began searching for a suitable fintech provider two-plus years ago. Among items on Holt’s checklist was a solution that could easily integrate with the core infrastructure and other existing business applications.


“We wanted to generate back-office efficiencies, automate manual labor involved in tasks like fraud detection, while providing our members a frictionless end-user experience,” he noted. “Our goal was to streamline operations, reduce manual efforts, and ultimately provide a superior member experience.”


Enter the Anaheim, Calif.-based Cotribute. The company’s main goal, explained CEO Philip Paul, is to help credit unions grow deposits, loans and memberships, and compete against digital banks and neo-banks like Chime and Money Lion. He told Finopotamus that a common pain point for credit unions is providing a “slick and frictionless onboarding experience” for both new and existing members.


By integrating Cotribute’s tech solution, Holt said the credit union was able to “revolutionize” its digital application process and optimize overall efficiency.


“Cotribute’s platform easily integrates across multiple platforms, provides bidirectional communication, collecting data across all systems, and is flexible, enabling our organization to test scenarios and quickly make adjustments,” said Holt, noting that the partnership is based on collaboration.


“It is a comprehensive solution tailored to meet our evolving needs,” he added of the auto-decisioning system phase of the initiative that was rolled out in June 2022. “Their technology offered advanced auto-decisioning capabilities, which aligned perfectly with our objective of streamlining operations and reducing manual efforts.”

 

Significance of Strategic Partnerships


By December 2023, Holt noted that Nutmeg State FCU had completed the first phase of optimizations, which included successfully automating a “significant portion” of its manual processes.


John Holt

“Through this journey, we learned the importance of thorough planning, effective collaboration, and continuous refinement. We also realized the value of starting with a pilot program focused on high-volume applications before scaling up,” he continued. “These lessons can be invaluable for other credit unions embarking on a similar journey, highlighting the significance of strategic partnerships and a commitment to innovation in driving operational excellence and member satisfaction.”


Paul added that the solution is “built on blazing-fast cloud-based micro-services architecture” and integrates with a credit union’s existing core platform. 


“We are able to enhance the investments that they have made already without having to ‘rip and replace’ their enterprise systems. Integration with the credit union’s core system is essential for deep integration and seamless operation,” Paul continued. “In Nutmeg’s case, Cotribute’s technology was integrated deeply with Nutmeg’s core system (Corelation’s KeyStone), enabling a user experience that not only attracts new customers, but also makes the process more efficient for employees.”


From contract signing to rolling out the solution, Paul said it generally takes less than 30 days for credit unions to go live. “Beta testing is not required due to Cotribute’s rigorous quality assurance processes and out-of-the-box integrations with industry-leading core providers and digital banking platforms,” he noted.


Operational Excellence


Since implementing the Cotribute platform, Holt said his team has experienced significant improvements in member engagement. Prior to the partnership, for example, the credit union’s manual application system involved 41 decision steps.

Philip Paul

“By December 2023, we had successfully automated 40 of these steps with Cotribute’s auto-decisioning technology, enabling us to automate 97.56% of manual steps and automate the approval of up to 89.5% of applications,” Holt shared. “This advancement has significantly accelerated our onboarding process, enhancing our ability to quickly welcome new members to the Nutmeg family.”


Another benefit realized is the application “drop off” rate has been noticeably reduced and employee productivity has been greatly enhanced, allowing for more interfacing with membership.


“This has led to improved efficiency rates across departments, contributing to our operational excellence,” Holt said. “Overall, the Cotribute platform has optimized our back-office operations, positively impacting both member engagement and employee efficiency.”



For credit unions looking at a similar solution, Holt suggested that senior leadership engage with stakeholders across all departments to ensure “alignment and buy-in” for the proposed solution.


“Consider starting with a pilot program to test the effectiveness of the solution before scaling up. Maintain open communication channels with your partner and be prepared to adapt and iterate based on feedback and evolving needs,” he said. “By taking a strategic and collaborative approach, credit unions can leverage technology to enhance member experiences and drive operational efficiency effectively.”

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