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  • Writer's pictureRoy Urrico

Oregon’s Trailhead CU Reaches for Younger Members with Help from MDT and the Banno Digital Platform

By Roy Urrico

The $160-million Portland, Ore.-based Trailhead Credit Union, seeking to reach younger members, launched Jack Henry’s Banno Digital Platform through its partnership with Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Member Driven Technologies (MDT).

Kim Faucher, Trailhead Credit Union.

“Trailhead recognized the importance of providing an intuitive, convenient digital experience to members, especially when it comes to attracting and retaining younger ‘urban Portlanders,’” said Kim Faucher, vice president of marketing at Trailhead Credit Union. She added the new digital platform performed with “great success” since its launching in fall 2021.

Through its partnership with MDT, a CUSO that hosts the Symitar core processing from Jack Henry, Trailhead, a federal credit union with almost 9,000 members, leverages the cloud-based Banno platform, which provides a full-service digital experience.

Let’s Talk About Banno

“We’re a smaller community-focused institution with three branches, and many of our members prefer to handle a majority of their banking remotely,” said Faucher. “By implementing Banno, and leveraging Banno Conversations, we are able to provide our member base with a seamless, personalized digital banking experience. In fact, we consider our digital banking channel to be our fourth branch.”

The digital branch, he added, has performed well for Trailhead. “Response from our membership has been overwhelmingly positive. Seventy-nine percent of our membership is actively leveraging the digital platform, and our app has a 4.8 out of 5 rating in the App Store,” said Faucher.

In the second quarter of 2022, 41% of new members joined Trailhead Credit Union online and the credit union managed 61% of loan applications online. Over the past six months, the Banno platform presented a 93% retention rate for the credit union, plus 77% of users stayed active on the mobile app.

Faucher pointed out that members have also responded extremely favorably to Banno Conversations, a secure, authenticated chat for digital banking. The credit union has resolved nearly 9,000 conversations since the chat’s implementation.

“We have a dedicated digital branch specialist that responds to member messages in real time during business hours. Through this feature, we are able to engage personally and contextually with members within the digital banking experience,” said Faucher. She added, “They enjoy the personalized experience of talking to a live, local representative with the convenience of being able to correspond from anywhere. We have resolved over 6,800 conversations in the last six months.”

The Role of MDT

MDT hosts Jack Henry’s Banno Digital Platform for its credit union clients and can help them optimize success of the technology. “MDT enables credit unions to deliver a modern member experience. Digital is a key differentiator; MDT helps institutions digitally transform by supporting them through vendor vetting, integrations and implementation,” said said MDT’s Project Manager Jennifer Pardonnet. “MDT also offers services to help credit unions optimize the power and impact of selected systems.”

Jennifer Pardonnet, MDT.

Pardonnet explained MDT hosts the Symitar core processing system from Jack Henry as well as dozens of seamlessly integrated solutions. “MDT provides our credit union clients with supporting services to help run their entire institution such as payments, lending, cybersecurity, imaging and digital banking.”

Faucher at Trailhead Credit Union noted, “Like many other institutions, we are always looking for strategic ways to optimize our resources, and MDT adds notable value here. Their trusted team hosts our core platform as well as other complementary solutions.”

As part of its partnership with MDT, Pardonnet said, “Each credit union has a client relationship manager (CRM) that works directly with them to discuss their initial vision and long-term goals for their digital banking. The CRM and credit union work together to identify, evaluate and implement their digital banking solutions and third party integrations, and the CRM helps advise on best practices and strategies.”

Pardonnet added, “More credit unions, such as Trailhead Credit Union, are opting to leverage Jack Henry’s Banno Digital Platform through MDT. MDT acts as a trusted partner, helping credit unions run the technology.”

Pardonnet said MDT has helped 16 credit unions, including Trailhead Credit Union, go live with Banno since the CUSO began offering it in 2021. “We stay in lock step with our business partners at Jack Henry involving Banno features, functionality, integrations and future development to assisting our credit unions in providing their members with a superior digital experience.”

The CU’s Long Community History

Eleven Portland Gas and Coke employees founded Portland Gasco Federal Credit Union (today known officially as Trailhead Federal Credit Union) in October 1935 during the Great Depression when there was a great need for small salary advances and loans. The credit union has undergone several name changes over the years including to Northwest Gasco Federal Credit Union in 1958; Northwest Resource Federal Credit Union in 1991, and NW Natural Gas Company in 1963; and finally Trailhead Credit Union in 2013.

In 2002, the credit union received a charter to “serve the underserved,” which expanded the field of membership to include anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in selected census tracts in Portland’s Central City. In April of 2013, the charter expanded to also serve anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Multnomah County, the state’s most populous county.


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