We spoke with Aaron Oplinger, Senior Director of eServices & Channel Integration at Arizona Federal Credit Union. Aaron shared AFCU’s recent initiatives with us and discussed how they are better serving their members.
Q: In a few sentences, can you tell us about recent initiatives at Arizona Federal Credit Union?
In January 2013, Arizona Federal Credit Union redesigned itself internally and externally in support of its mission statement, “to develop and serve an empowered membership through the delivery of financial services and expertise, producing mutually beneficial results.” This included a redesign of our staffing model and physical locations, driving active use of self-service products, reinforcing membership benefits and increasing member participation.
Q: How did redesigning your staffing model impact the relationship between staff and members?
Our staffing model was changed from a teller/personal banker model to a combined role so that any person within a branch could assist a member with any financial need. The physical branches are also being remodeled to create a more open space that eliminates barriers between staff and members, such as greeting stations, teller lines, etc. Additionally, staff at remodeled locations use wireless tablet PCs that are fully functional with the credit union’s core processor, creating a shoulder-to-shoulder conversation with members versus being behind a desk or counter.
Q: Specifically, how did you increase the active use of self-service products?
We’ve pre-loaded iPads in every location with our apps as well as 40-50 financial education apps, such as mortgage and loan calculators, auto and home research, valuation and repair apps, gas price apps and more.
Q: How have you found the response amongst your members so far?
Our members are increasingly becoming familiar and comfortable with our apps. And, they are also receiving additional value from the financial education tools we provide, supporting our mission statement of providing financial expertise. Early data indicates that the first remodeled branch has the highest penetration rate for both acceptance and usage for Mobile Remote Deposit Capture.
Q: Can you tell us more about your membership rewards?
As an industry first, Arizona Federal Credit Union began charging $3 each month for membership dues. The dues have shown an increased use of services and we were able to give back $8 million to members from December 2012 through December 2013, with the average actively participating member receiving more than $50, well beyond the $36 per year that is paid.
This year’s Innovation Conference will feature content focused on branch transformations. But let’s start the conversation before the event: What types of branch-transformation initiatives have you tried, or are you considering? What specific questions or comments do you have for Aaron about AFCU’s initiatives?