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If you are looking for a credit union with a diverse membership, then look no further than Bronco Federal Credit Union (BFCU). Based in Southeastern Virginia near the North Carolina border, BFCU serves more than fifty SEGs (Select Employee Groups) and has been granted a very large “underserved” field of membership that includes numerous counties, two census tracks and the City of Franklin. With over 13,500 blue and white collar members to serve in this bi-state area, BFCU knew that they could never afford to build expensive branches to provide services to such a large region. So they turned to the next best – and an extremely affordable – option: Branding ATMs from Nationwide Money Services (NMS).
As the owners and/or operators of over 2000 ATM terminals, NMS had the reach and experience that Bronco FCU was looking for in an ATM partner. Jeff Thompson, Bronco’s Chief Operating Officer who has over sixteen years of credit union and banking experience, was the point person for working with NMS on the credit union’s ATM expansion program. “We have four ATMs, one at each of our existing branches,” he explains and “so we knew the costs involved in buying and deploying new machines.” This high capital outlay, coupled with the credit union’s desire to move quickly into areas where they had large concentrations of members, led them to Nationwide Money Services’ innovative single source ATM solution. “We did quite a bit of ROI analysis on our various options and the NMS program offered us the most cost effective way to deliver services to our remote members.”
Because NMS has an exclusive contract to place ATMs in Food Lion grocery stores, BFCU piloted their ATM Branding program at three Food Lions. They also worked with NMS to do a “custom” placement in a local hospital that was one of their SEGs. Mr. Thompson was happy to report that “the first four machines worked out really well for us and we were extremely pleased by the performance of the Food Lion in Suffolk, VA.” He continues: “We have seen good growth over time at all of the machines, and even though the hospital ATM is not a money maker for us like the Food Lion units, it does provide convenient around the clock service to our members that work there.”
With the smashing success of the first four units, BFCU was ready to move forward with more ATMs from NMS. In fact, the program was so cost effective that they moved up their timelines for expansion and now have eleven ATMs online. “Our members love the program – they are really happy with the new ATMs,” enthuses Mr. Thompson. The popularity of the “on-us” transactions that are free to members, in conjunction with the fees generated from the “foreign” (non-member) transactions, made the decision to expand quite easy for Bronco’s senior management team and Board of Directors.
While members enjoy convenient, safe in-store locations to access their accounts, the credit union does not lose out on branding opportunities to attract new members. That is because NMS' Branded Cash Program terminals are "branded" with Bronco’s name and logo. Mr. Thompson points out that “the ATMs provide really good exposure for us because the topper is back-lit and our logo is all over the machines.” This is a classic win-win scenario: Bronco FCU can increase their presence in the market place while enhancing their ability to compete with other local, regional and national banks, and their members enjoy the convenience of easy access to their accounts and money.
An important part of any ATM program is being able to monitor the machines for any issues that may crop up. With years of ATM management experience, NMS has ATM monitoring down to a science. Using a browser and a secure connection over the Internet, BFCU is able to see detailed transaction histories and even the amount of cash that is loaded into each and every machine at any time. “Our maintenance costs have been quite low and our up-time has been very high,” says Mr. Thompson. On the rare occasions where NMS needs to become involved in second line maintenance, they closely track work orders and send the credit union daily updates via e-mail.
Besides excellent technical support, the credit union has also been pleased with their relationships with their account manager and the senior management team at NMS. “The nice thing about NMS,” explains Mr. Thompson “is that they really want our business and the credit union business in general, and that really shows in the personal service that they give us.” It is obvious that the Branded Cash Program has dovetailed quite well with Bronco’s Mission Statement: “BFCU will deliver a satisfying experience to every member.” Mr. Thompson concludes that “this has been a really good program for us and I hope that more credit unions come onboard because it will be even more successful for everyone involved in it as it grows.”