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  • Don Layden

Optimizing Self-Directed Banking for Today’s Members

Guest Editorial by Don Layden, EVP, NCR Banking


Credit union members increasingly show a strong preference toward self-directed experiences and want to be able to bank when and how they choose. Credit unions’ ability to facilitate such interactions is now an important factor in member loyalty and retention.


Don Layden, EVP, NCR Banking

With self-directed banking as an expected part of the everyday banking experience, institutions are evaluating how to reimagine their physical footprints to boost convenience for members while increasing efficiencies and reducing costs in the back office. Key strategies, such as outsourcing the self-directed banking channel with an ATM as a Service model and extending credit unions’ physical footprints out into the community via ATM networks, should be seriously considered.


Rethinking ATM Management


While many routine banking tasks are now accomplished via digital channels, credit unions still need a physical banking interface to manage cash given its importance to many members. However, maintenance and management of the ATM channel is growing increasingly burdensome for institutions, especially in light of rising costs and the ongoing battle for talent. In response, more credit unions are looking to an ATM as a Service strategy, outsourcing their ATM ownership and management to a single trusted partner who manages the channel to achieve agreed-upon outcomes.


The ATM as a Service approach significantly boosts efficiencies. Employee time and resources no longer have to be allocated toward ATM distribution, installation, maintenance and cash management. They can instead be dedicated to more strategic initiatives, like growth plans and building member relationships. Capital expenses for ATM hardware and software and unknown future compliance, fraud prevention and upgrade costs are exchanged for a known, consistent cost structure.


Perhaps one of the most significant value-adds of the ATM as a Service model is the enhanced member experience. Many ATM as a Service arrangements include a full fleet refresh with modern hardware, software, transaction sets and customer experience. Introducing ITMs, which offer an even greater range of services, can be part of the ATM as a Service roadmap.


Furthermore, the outsourcing partner is responsible for keeping the program up-to-date and operating at peak efficiency over the length of the program. Under this approach, credit unions are able to quickly introduce innovations and new functionality at the ATM, bring the functionality of ITMs to their members, maintain experience parity with the largest banks and keep up with members’ increasingly high expectations, which include availability and security. ATM as a Service can create the consistency that strengthens members’ trust.


Extending Presence into the Community


Modern credit union members are busier than ever before; it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find time to stop by a branch to complete routine transactions. That’s why more credit unions are finding efficient ways to extend their presence out into the community. By plugging into a network that has ATMs located in trusted retail locations such as grocery, convenience/fuel and big box stores, credit unions can give members a convenient way to withdraw cash when a branch isn’t nearby. Some are even starting to embrace machines that enable cash deposit capabilities, incorporating even more branch functionality into the places members live and shop.


Leveraging a network model provides a cost effective, simpler alternative to building new branches in growth or legacy markets. Instead of deploying capital and strategic resources to build a physical presence that takes years to realize, they can simply tap into an existing ATM network, empowering members to perform more of their banking at locations across the community. They can even choose to engage the network for an ATM branding program, where the network’s ATMs are wrapped in a credit union’s branding at certain locations in their market. Overall, a network model is quick to implement, creates immediate member benefit and allows community and regional institutions to better match the scale and reach of even the largest bank brands.


Credit unions continue to reimagine their physical footprints, finding ways to increase efficiencies and provide a broader range of self-directed options. By looking to strategies such as an ATM as a Service model and joining an ATM network that already has ATMs where members live and shop, credit unions will be well positioned to optimize their important but evolving physical presence while fostering stronger member loyalty and delivering robust self-directed banking experiences to their members.


Don Layden is the EVP and president of NCR Banking, overseeing solutions such as NCR ATM as a Service and NCR’s Allpoint Network that help financial institutions transform, connect and run their businesses.


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