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Case Study Archives - POPi/o

Affinity Federal Credit Union in Grand Rapids

Putting People First With Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

By | Blog, Video Banking

Affinity Federal Credit Union in Grand Rapids

One of the most fascinating things about Minnesota is the infrastructure. It’s a state that was built to thrive in the cold. In the major city of Minneapolis, for example, there are nearly 10 miles of enclosed pedestrian footbridges. Referred to as the Minneapolis Skyway System, the elevated bridges and tunnels connect 80 full city blocks, giving people access to numerous downtown destinations, free of exposure to the often frigid weather.

This type of industrious, connective thinking and planning seems to be built in to the mindset of many Minnesotans. They understand the importance of staying connected despite circumstances and environmental factors. For that reason, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Minnesota is a place where video banking has not only been adopted, but embraced.

“We felt like it just really opened up the capabilities for our membership.”

If you went to Minnesota and visited one of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s 28 locations, you’d find a robust yet humble financial institution. Their locations are concentrated in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas, but their footprint has increased in recent years. They’ve grown to serve smaller, more disparate communities in the far reaches of the state. 

Likewise, their assets have grown as well. At over $3 billion—and having grown from $2.4 billion just in the last year—Affinity Plus manages a significant amount of assets. But as a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative, Affinity Plus isn’t only focused on their asset size. Their main focus is serving their 220,000 members. In their own words, they’re committed to “improving the lives of [their] members through meaningful banking, exceptional experiences, and trusted relationships.”

With the shuttering of branches during the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering on these key goals became difficult for Affinity Plus. But like a bridge built to connect people in a blizzard, the Minnesota credit union decided to use the adversity as an opportunity to improve their member experience. It was time for them to make the jump to video banking.

“We’ve been able to do everything that we do in a branch through video banking.”

“We started looking at it pre-pandemic,” said Jenny Nubeck, director of the Affinity Plus digital branch. “We felt like it just really opened up the capabilities for our membership.” Corey Rupp, Senior Vice President of Lending, shared the sentiment. He said the pandemic hastened their launch of video banking channels, but that it wasn’t the sole motivator leading up to it. Affinity Plus was already looking for ways to better serve their members and keep them connected—no matter where they were.

When asked how willing their members were to try the new service, Nubuck said she was surprised. Adoption of the video banking channels was higher than she’d expected. “It’s surprisingly simple,” she stated. “Based on everything we’re hearing from members, they’re like, ‘Ok, don’t let this service go away.’”

According to Rupp, the willingness to adopt is tied not only to the platform’s ease of use, but also to its versatility and functionality. “We’ve been able to do everything that we do in a branch through video banking,” Rupp said. “It’s been a great experience.”

“POPi/o has allowed Affinity Plus to see members again.”

Samantha Prudhon Falkowski, a member advisor at Affinity Plus, also commented on POPi/o’s functionality. Falkowski says she generates three to four loans per week through the video banking channel. And more importantly, she takes the video calls as a chance to discuss and compare options with members. By conversing face-to-face, Falkowski can get a sense of what the member is looking for, allowing her to best advise them. “The majority of calls that I’m seeing through video banking are people who want to have that in-depth conversation about ‘What’s the best recommendation?” 

By taking video calls and fielding members’ questions, Falkowski gets to restore the personal connection she shared with members before the pandemic. As she puts it, “POPi/o has allowed Affinity Plus to see members again—to see them in their own spaces, and to help them with their banking needs.”

To learn more about the adoption of video banking by Affinity Plus, watch the video case study.

Blue holiday infographic of staff saying thank you to customers with gift

We’re Grateful for Video Banking’s Unexpected Gifts

By | Benefits, Blog, Video Banking | No Comments

The Holidays are a time to reflect upon the past year and focus on gratitude and service. Gratitude can take many forms, such as feeling grateful for financial success, heartwarming gifts, the important people in your life, and even the wisdom you’ve gained from life’s ups and downs of the past year.  As we dig even deeper into gratitude we begin to feel grateful for the things we take for granted, like our health, mobility, food, clean drinking water and even our freedom.

Freedom isn’t just political; it means different things to different people.

Blue holiday infographic of staff saying thank you to customers with gift

According to the Center for Disease Control, more than one in four adults in the United States live with some type of disability. The most common disability is a lack of mobility, which makes the freedom of being able to walk severely difficult or impossible for nearly 14% of Americans.

Many of us take for granted the freedom of being able to handle day-to-day tasks on our own without relying on help from someone else.

When we first started exploring video banking and the impact it would have on people’s lives, we always focused on convenience and how to get services directly to a consumer without friction. Never once did we think it could help so many gain freedom in the way they banked.

But we are incredibly grateful it did.

For example, Idaho Central Credit Union a $4.8 billion credit union headquartered in Chubbuck, Idaho, was able to use video banking to serve a quadriplegic member face-to-face that was an hour away from any branch location. The ability to see and talk to his loan officer allowed him to feel like a piece of independence was given back to him. Service provides assistance to those in need, even when you’re not aware of it, and we are grateful video banking was able to help this happen.

Cobalt Credit Union, a $1 billion institution in Council Bluffs, Iowa, shared a different kind of assistance success story. This member, who is deaf, wasn’t able to access the credit union’s call center and if they needed assistance beyond what was available online or through the mobile banking app, they had to visit a branch in person. With Cobalt’s new video banking channel, however, the member was able to both see the representative on screen and use the app’s chat feature to clarify their banking needs. Now, this member can enjoy full service, at-home banking. We are grateful video banking was able to change how this member interacted and accomplished their banking needs.

Pioneer Federal Credit Union, a $500 million institution located in Mountain Home, Idaho, was able to serve a member who was severely injured in a rodeo accident and had to adjust to depending upon others to assist with their financial transactions and business. We hear a lot about accessibility when it comes to your financial institution’s digital channels, but providing accessibility to your people can mean the world to those in need. We are grateful Pioneer was able to go above and beyond with video to help serve this member and countless others who have let Pioneer know that this engagement channel “has given them their freedom back.”

There are countless more stories of how video banking has supported financial freedom and accessibility. We’ve heard about pilots making video banking calls from the tarmac, consumers accessing financial assistance via video from overseas, parents receiving face-to-face service without having to drag kids along to the branch, and working class Americans who were finally able to connect and accomplish their financial needs.

We didn’t anticipate video banking would change lives. But this Holiday season, as we reflect upon the past year, we are beyond grateful that it did.