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NIH Federal Credit Union

Starting with just $75 in 1940, National Institutes of Health Federal Credit Union has grown into a nearly $400 million in assets, progressive financial institution that offers their members a full range of financial services. Not only do they offer a variety of low-rate consumer loans, credit cards, mortgage/home equity loans, secured interest-bearing savings, checking and investment accounts, but through partnerships, they also offer their members a complete line of mutual funds, annuities and insurance products, free car and home buying services, and money management services. So it should come as no surprise that, when it comes to handling their event-driven member correspondence, such a forward thinking credit union would choose to partner with the credit union movement’s top provider in this specialized field: San Diego-based Xpress Data, Inc. (XDI).

NIHFCU’s highly capable senior management team has overseen high growth levels at the credit union over the past decade. Their Information Technology Department is led by a young man named Kirk Drake. Kirk is somewhat unique in the IT field in that he has a background not only in computer science, but business as well. This means that he takes a hard look at every project with an eye towards making sure that the credit union obtains a solid return on investment – whether it is an in-house system or working with an outsourcer. Kirk explains that “we ran the numbers in terms of moving our notices to XDI and they showed a savings in the 30 – 40% range. Just in labor costs alone we saved 2-3 man hours per day in our IT Department.”

Turning their attention to the marketing aspect of outsourcing their event-driven member communications, the credit union realized that XDI’s sophisticated document production capabilities would allow them to merge marketing messages in with their letters. “We like the idea of being able to add customized messages to our members based on their particular financial situation and the type of correspondence,” says Kirk. He and the Marketing Department also appreciated the crisp and professional looking letters that XDI is able to produce on their high-end laser printers. Kirk admits that “our older printers that we used in-house did not really project a great image to our members, but now XDI produces excellent looking letters at a very affordable price point for us.”

Without a doubt, the IT and operations staff at the credit union are relieved to have the troublesome task of producing delinquency notices, CD maturity and renewal notices, and the numerous other notices that the credit union mails on a daily basis completely out of their data center. Kirk recalls the issues: “printer alignment and maintenance were always a problem; the burster was bothersome; and we always had to be concerned with ordering and storing pre-printed paper stock.” He adds that “we really never had any desire to be a print shop, and now that we have outsourced these activities to XDI, we can focus on our core IT competencies.”

In terms of transitioning from their in-house operations at their headquarters in Maryland to XDI’s world-class credit union notice production center in San Diego, NIHFCU accomplished the entire implementation remotely. Kirk was pleased to find that “XDI provided really good support and we experienced very few startup issues. We more or less turned it on and now it runs automatically!” The credit union had considered working with their existing statement vendor to handle their notices, but quickly discovered that their setup price was very high, as were their ongoing production costs. The bottom line was that because XDI is solely focused on producing high quality event-driven member correspondence, their pricing is excellent and there are no setup costs. 

NIHFCU now has their correspondence down to a science: they securely send their daily notice and letter files to XDI who handles all of the printing and mailing, and they receive a CD back from XDI that they incorporate into their document management system. The next step is to integrate these communications into their online banking platform so that their members can conveniently access all of the letters that they have received from the credit union in a self service manner. Kirk states that “working with XDI has been a fantastic way for us to save money and produce a much better quality product. They have really been a great company to work with and we look forward to expanding our relationship with them in the future.