Bingo bango bongo. I don’t really know where this phrase came from, just something from a distant memory somewhere along the line. What does it mean? Well, kind of like ‘lickity-split’ or ‘righto, boss-man’, I equate ‘Bingo Bango Bongo’ with right here, right now, real easy.
This really ought to be the universal tagline for technology. After all, why else would you ever invest in the development – or endure the pain of implementing – some kind of new technological wizardry? The world is full of countless stories where technology flops or is at best unfulfilling. But why then do we pursue technology like the Holy Grail? (more…)
When I began my professional career - now many moons ago - we were just on the verge of applying technology across a broad base of business functions. Word processing systems had just come of age - and there was this new piece of software called Lotus 1-2-3 that gave you all sorts of tools to manipulate and analyze numbers and statistics. It even allowed you to easily generate charts. The future would be PAPERLESS! Holy cow!! We had arrived!!!
Nowadays you can’t find a typewriter and most employees don’t even recognize White Out as anything other than some kind of blizzard condition while you are driving. People absolutely HATE filling out forms. Today, we truly have so much computing horsepower at our fingertips that we can’t possibly use but a percentage of what is actually there. (more…)
In the course of a normal workweek I end up communicating with several folks at credit unions – most of which are in a managerial or leadership position in the organization. Recently, I’ve been checking in with many of them who put a project on the back-burner last fall or early this year because of the uncertainty of our economy. In many ways this was a very appropriate reaction: there’s uncertainty, we need to batten down the hatches and ride this thing out.
I must admit though – that the current perspective of a good portion of these folks is somewhat surprising. In general, the response is something like “Mike, it’s been a tough year. We’ve closed a couple of branches, loan volume is down, collections are up and I’ve had to reduce staff to trim our expenses. We just are not going to be able to look at any of these projects until business picks back up.”
Are we missing the boat? (more…)
Last week we announced our new autoENROLL for HSAs capability and some of you might be wondering why we launched a new module to address this need. Pretty simple actually … because Health Savings Accounts represent a solid opportunity for credit unions of all sizes to expand services to existing members or to attract new members.
It is interesting to me that most credit unions I’ve come into contact with just sort of add HSAs to their list of accounts that members or non-members could open at the CU. By doing so, my opinion is that they are missing out on the biggest opportunity for accumulation of these accounts – which is working with their SEGs rather than the individual consumers. (more…)
Like you, I keep up on industry trends and industry news … and this one caught my eye. Online account opening has gained pretty significant traction in the minds of consumers and already makes up a pretty good portion of all accounts that are opened at financial institutions. Leading industry analysts like BAI are now predicting that in a mere 5 years half of all accounts will be opened online. The chart below is an estimate of online account activity in 2009 – by age range:
The folks at creditunions.com have offered up this explanation of the graph – which makes a lot of sense …
‘Younger generations have a much stronger demand for the ability to open new checking and saving accounts online. The graph represents the percentage of individuals that have attempted to open an account online in the past year. This also includes those who had to abandon the process due to process not being fully automated, such as requiring the individual to mail in an application or visit a branch. BAI Banking Strategies estimates that by 2015, approximately 50% of all new accounts at financial institutions will be opened online.’
How much is fully automated?
Part of fiVISION’s business is to offer online enrollment & account opening solutions, so I do check credit union websites pretty often – and find out more often than not that the online offer is of the ‘print & mail’ variety. In reaction, some of you may be thinking things like ‘We’re too small and can’t afford online account opening’ or ‘Our host processor does not support online account opening’ or ‘We’re keeping our expenses down and are not doing any projects right now’ as reasons you are not moving toward offering these services.
But read the analysis closely – the consumer is the judge of the level of automation – and the hurdle you need to meet is to make it so they don’t have to mail anything to you or visit one of your branches In other words, make it so they can do it online from anywhere they want to at any time of day. If you’d like some assistance on meeting that hurdle, give me a call.
A couple of weeks ago we fielded a request through our website from a credit union in the northeast who is looking to add online member enrollment and account opening to their web offering. The question for us … do you do this and can you help? I spoke with my inquiring friend for several minutes and answered her questions … all to her liking. We ended the conversation with a pledge to set up a web meeting the following week to explore whether our solution would be a good fit for them.
A couple of minutes later my new friend called back and sheepishly asked whether we had an existing interface to their host processing platform. “We don’t today” I replied. Her bosses immediately said “No way, we’ll only look at providers who have an existing interface!” End of story.
Except, that is, it gave me an idea to write this.
The existence of a specific interface – host or otherwise - is a oft- and ill-used form of profiling. Whether or not a technology firm has an existing interface to your host processor is certainly a factor – but there are probably several other things to ask about that indicate whether or not it is a show stopper. Here are a couple of ideas to consider:
- Does the target system (in our example the host processor) provide reasonable access for third party providers to develop an interface? In most cases host processing firms are not willing to entertain a third party provider until there is a current (or better yet a potential) client who wants it to happen.
- Does this firm support robust interfaces to host processors? Beware – there are many clients disappointed in the feature set of already existing interfaces!
- Does this firm understand its role and capabilities regarding interfaces? Other interfaces that do exist for this product and the firm’s approach to the activity of interfacing to other systems.
Those of us who are on the vendor side of this equation often talk about this qualifying question in a semi-lighthearted manner. It doesn’t really matter, we say … but then again it does really seem to matter.
So, to my friend who we could not help – sorry about that and best wishes in your search!
To those of you who are using ‘The Interface Question’ as a go/no-go factor - I encourage you to rethink. You might be surprised! And thanks for the idea – I may even write an article about it.