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First Atlantic Federal Credit Union

Founded in 1935, First Atlantic Federal Credit Union (FAFCU) continues to follow its original mission of helping the communities it serves.  Eatontown, New Jersey-based, FAFCU operates seven service centers in the region that are dedicated to providing a full range of banking services to their members. In addition to their seven service centers, First Atlantic’s services are also accessible online or by phone. In order to ensure that their members can always reach them no matter what circumstances or emergencies may arise, the forward thinking credit union turned to an industry pioneer in the rapid recovery of communications after a telecommunications outage: Telecom Recovery.

Rodney Dore, FAFCU’s IT Support Manager, has over nine years of IT experience and was determined to find a telecommunications backup solution that would ensure the rapid restoration of the incoming calls to credit union’s existing 800 and local phone numbers. His criteria for choosing a solution were simple: it must be easy to configure, use and support, plus it must be affordable.  He explains that “after a couple of Webex demonstrations with the Telecom Recovery team, we were convinced that this was the right system for us.” 

As part of their due diligence, First Atlantic’s CFO reviewed Telecom Recovery’s financials, while Dore called their references. Telecom Recovery’s financials checked out fine thanks to their extensive customer base that covers more than 20 states and is comprised of organizations of all sizes and from more than 25 industries. For his part, Dore recalls that “all of the references that I talked to were very satisfied with their service and support. I especially liked the fact that I was able to talk to other IT professionals who had hands-on experience with the system. All of their comments were positive.”

Convinced that the system would technically meet their needs, the credit union signed a contract with Telecom Recovery. Dore points out that “it was really inexpensive and has been worth every penny!” The credit union’s IT Department turned to the experienced telecommunications professionals at Telecom Recovery to assist them with the initial setup and configuration. According to Dore, “it is a really user friendly, Web-based system that is readily configured. They also provided us with a helpful checklist that we followed with no issues whatsoever.” 

The credit union setup various groups – call center, lending, collections, IT, etc – that could be reached should there be an outage. With a few clicks of the mouse, both the 800 and local number are seamlessly forwarded to another toll free number.  They also input all of the employees’ cell phone numbers into a group so that they could easily send out a “blast” message to them if they needed to alert them in any way.
In August 2009, the system was put to its first real world test when a Mercedes Benz crashed into a telephone pole in the front of the credit union’s headquarters at 4:30 in the morning.  The accident was so violent that it not only tore down the transformer on the pole, but it also ripped out another transformer on the credit union’s main office itself. Even with seven local electric utility trucks onsite responding to the serious accident, the electric company informed the credit union’s management team that they should expect to be without power for at least 16 hours or so.

Dore and his team immediately declared an emergency with Telecom Recovery and started routing calls to their various departments. Dore notes that “we quickly fine-tuned the system to mimic our IVR so that our members would feel familiar with the prompts.” The phone “tree” setup then rolled over to their call center representatives’ cell phones one after another until someone answered. Even with the large number of calls that kept coming in from members, the system performed well under the pressure. Dore confirms that “the cutover represented a huge success to our business since our members were connected with a friendly voice instead of just static on the other end of the call.  Plus, we were also able to forward our faxes and never lost a single fax that day – this is great feature of the system.”

The credit union also uses the powerful Telecom Recovery solution even when they are not in Disaster Recovery mode. Dore explains that “some of our Board of Directors dial in to board meetings via the toll free number that Telecom Recovery provides when they are traveling. Our senior management team has been very pleased with the system as well.” Dore concludes with these observations: “it is great working with the Telecom Recovery team because they are real friendly and very knowledgeable. I would highly recommend them to any credit union that is looking for a low cost way to gain complete control of incoming calls without installing any special hardware or software, or changing of their existing telecommunication carrier. 

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