By W.B. King
While video chatting isn’t new by any means — be it virtual tellers, FaceTime or Skype meetings — COVID-19 has significantly changed the way businesses are approaching and utilizing the medium.
“In March 2020, we experienced a 461% growth in video calls on our platform,” said POPi/o Mobile Video Cloud’s President and COO Jed Taylor. “Throughout March and April, each progressive week generated a new record for weekly video call volume.”
Taylor explained that the Sandy, Utah-based technology firm provides a collaborative and secure video banking platform for mobile, web and branch channels. And over the last six months, he added that consumer confidence in video banking is growing.
“Recently, branches have begun to open in parts of the country, so you’d think that our call volumes would return to normal levels — but that hasn’t been the case,” said Taylor. “We set a new monthly record of video calls in August 2020. The volume just continues to climb as consumers adopt this new video channel in larger and larger numbers.”
Among POPi/o’s clients is the $6.2 billion Chubbuck, Idaho-based Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU). Lisa Davis, the credit union’s eCommerce product owner, explained that ICCU offers its 414,000 members a suite of digital services, including an online banking app, card control, mobile deposit and VideoChat.
“We deployed VideoChat banking to our membership almost two years prior to the pandemic,” said Davis. “VideoChat banking has been something the credit union has been passionate about providing to our membership, and we will continue with our original plan to grow this service with our membership.”
Video, A New Digital Leader
On March 25, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed a stay-at-home order until May 1. As a result, ICCU closed all 39 branches to lobby traffic. And while its digital banking model usage spiked during this time period, video banking “stole the show,” noted Davis. ICCU’s video banking calls, she added, increased 284% during the stay-at-home order, from 2,652 in March to 7,543 calls in April.
“We had approximately 6,500 VideoChats in May,” said Davis. “The number has stayed around 4,500 per month for June, July and August.”
Taylor explained that POPi/o’s offering is unique because it focuses on creating a virtual branch experience. During the height of the pandemic, this platform, for example, provided a way for members to discuss loan modification options, negotiate payment deferrals and apply for PPP loans with their credit unions.
“Consumers across the country opened thousands of new accounts via POPi/o’s video banking platform in the weeks following the branch closures,” said Taylor. “The ‘new normal’ is an overused term right now, but I think it describes how consumers are, and will, continue to use video for trusted branch-like experiences from anywhere.”
As a cloud-based solution, Taylor noted that the platform can be easily configured to add video representatives from remote, secure locations. This allowed ICCU, for example, to increase its video representatives from six to 40 during the month of April to handle 7,543 calls.
From a back office and administrative perspective, Davis said the solution is both scaleable and intuitive. ICCU’s goal, she added, is providing members with access to all their banking needs in a safe, streamlined manner. As of August, 335,000 members were using ICCU’s eBranch platform. During the month of August, the average VideoChats per day was 157, she said.
“These services allow members to work with us face-to-face and perform almost any transaction without leaving their homes,” explained Davis. “Members who have never used our online services learned to use them out of necessity. Our ability to assist our members online, from wherever they are, has been one of our biggest successes.”