By implementing biometric authentication palm readers to employee work stations, Hughes Federal Credit Union employees save roughly 15 minutes per day in login-related time.

“Our staff was spending a lot of time logging in and out of sixty-plus different portals and applications. This was necessary, but inherently inefficient because of all of the passwords, password reset requests and login time,” said Hughes Federal Credit Union Vice President of Information Technology Rich Griesser. “We wanted to find a way to make navigating our ecosystem less cumbersome for our staff without compromising on security.”

The $1.1 billion Tucson, Ariz.-based credit union turned to Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv to help solve this issue. The goal was to find a suitable biometric login solution.

At the Forefront

“Hughes FCU is at the forefront of implementing biometrics to help their employees be more engaged and productive, resulting in better member service,” said Ryon Packer, senior vice president of enterprise product strategy for Fiserv’s Credit Union Solutions division. “Verifast allows Hughes employees quick access to all the applications they need, while providing superior security and reduced IT support costs.”

Griesser explained that Hughes FCU adopted Fiserv’s Verifast in August 2016 and started a pilot program, which included a hardware and software setup as well as employee training.

Quick Implementation

“We were able to get up-and-running quickly, train our staff and will soon be credit-union-wide with staff biometric authentication,” said Griesser. who added that the scanner is built into the user’s mouse. “We are looking at implementing this technology for our members as well, enabling them to verify their identity without a driver’s license or other form of identification.”

During the pilot phase, some lessons were learned operationally, but this phase of the project also allowed for internal education about the reader, said Griesser.

Hughes Federal Credit Union Manager Mary Burruel using a Verifast palm-biometric mouse to authenticate at her desk.
Hughes Federal Credit Union Manager Mary Burruel using a Verifast palm-biometric mouse to authenticate at her desk.

“You have to be thoughtful about training and communication when introducing new technology as a best practice,” he said. “Be sequential and responsive to feedback, and work to build some buzz around what you’re doing.”

To date, Verifast has also solved “ancillary” challenges, noted Griesser. Tellers and member service representatives, for example, who work at multiple locations and require a separate operator ID are now being streamlined.

For its efforts, Hughes FCU has earned a 2017 Best Practices Award.

“Now, employees are presented with a drop down list of branches they are authorized to login to rather than having to remember separate IDs,” said Griesser. “This minimizes the chance of a representative logging into a wrong branch and makes their workday just a bit simpler.”

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