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Alabama Credit Union

If you were one of the fastest growing credit unions in the Southeast – adding over 5000 new members in 2003, how would you provide them with excellent member service at an affordable price point? That was the dilemma that Alabama Credit Union President Steve Swofford faced. With an incredibly diverse membership base ranging from professors at the University of Alabama to blue collar workers at the local Mercedes Benz plant, Mr. Swofford reasoned that the convenience of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) would appeal to everyone. In order to obtain maximum geographic coverage, he turned to some of the most affordable – and reliable – ATMs in the marketplace: those manufactured by Triton.

While Triton has long been considered a standard in the retail ATM market, thanks to their rugged reliability and low cost of deployment and maintenance, they are rapidly gaining popularity with the credit union movement. Alabama Credit Union is a perfect example: a modest sized ($175M asset) credit union that is dedicated to providing superior member service to their 25,000+ members. They have deployed fifteen Triton models ranging from stand alone units to through-the-wall machines across their ten branch network and their Select Employee Group (SEG) locations. Mr. Swofford explains that “these Triton machines just make economic sense to us. We get the extra features like larger screens of the traditional financial ATM vendors, but at a much lower cost.”

However, there is a lot more to Alabama Credit Union’s Triton ATM rollout than meets the eye. Certainly there is the obvious convenience factor – members love the 24/7 access to their money. But Mr. Swofford, his senior management team, and Board of Directors use their ATMs for far more than member service. They have developed a well thought out marketing plan that utilizes ATMs as a sophisticated product penetration tool. For example, they placed a Triton ATM at the JVC compact disk and tape manufacturing plant and more than doubled their checking account penetration among their members at that facility. Because of the incredible price point of the Triton machines, the credit union is able to offer their SEGs an ATM even if they have as few as three hundred employees! 

It is obvious that their members really appreciate this convenience and in turn, reward the credit union with deeper relationships including checking accounts, loans, IRAs, etc. At Ogihara, a SEG that is a Mercedes Benz supplier, Alabama Credit Union experienced another success story. Even though they are located sixty-five miles away from the credit union’s Tuscaloosa headquarters, more than one half of Ogihara’s employees have joined the credit union. Their onsite Triton ATM is so convenient that it even outweighs the fact that another credit union has a branch directly across the street from the plant! According to Mr. Swofford, “deploying Triton ATMs has been a really successful growth strategy for us.”

Alabama Credit Union not only saves on purchase and maintenance costs by using Triton ATMs, but they also take advantage of their low cost dial-up communications capabilities. While the machines at the Mercedes Benz plant deliver large transaction volumes that can justify the high cost – hundreds of dollars per month – of leased lines, most of the credit union’s ATMs are running on low cost telephone lines. Some of the SEGs are so happy to have an on-premise Triton ATM that they even provide the phone line to the credit union at no cost. These low volumes – a few hundred transactions per month – could never justify the high costs of leased lines, yet members still enjoy fast transaction times of under twenty seconds. As for service and support, Mr. Swofford is pleased to report that “we have had very good reliability with the Triton ATMs and we have an excellent relationship with Financial Equipment & Data Corp., our Triton distributor.”

Overall, the Triton-Alabama Credit Union relationship has been win-win: Triton has an excellent reference that has helped them to garner over a dozen other credit union clients in Alabama, and Alabama Credit Union has used the Triton ATMs to better serve their members and increase product penetration rates. Mr. Swofford confirms that “by using Triton machines we have been able to place a lot more machines out into our field of membership. I would give them my unqualified endorsement.”