Name: Coastal Federal Credit Union

Assets: $2.9 billion

Location: Raleigh, N.C.

Category: Branch Management

Nominated by: La Macchia Group, Milwaukee, Wis.

Six years ago, Coastal Federal Credit Union embraced video-based personal teller machines to reduce personnel needs at its branches while maintaining face-to-face interactions through advanced technology.

In 2014, Coastal partnered with La Macchia Group, a design-build firm based in Milwaukee, on a "strategic branch analysis" program. They identified a storefront in Carrboro, N.C., and sought to transform a long, narrow existing space into an easy-to-navigate interior that resulted in a retail environment that maximizes member access and delivers an immersive experience within a small footprint. The use of PTMs became a key aspect of this design format, as they allow access to services from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week, even when the branch itself is not staffed. With a swipe of their cards, members can securely access a 1,150-sq.ft. lobby with a greeter station, coffee bar, two PTMs, a multi-purpose room and marketing displays.

In addition, Coastal and La Macchia found a unique way to install the PTMs. Instead of being built into a wall, a standalone configuration was created with a custom casework in a loop-style circulation pattern that integrates back-of-house functions for maximum efficiency.

Coastal FCU’s personal teller machines use video tellers to better serve members even when the branch isn’t staffed.
Coastal FCU’s personal teller machines use video tellers to better serve members even when the branch isn’t staffed.

Moreover, the adoption of video tellers across the organization has allowed Coastal to increase available teller hours by 86 percent. The technology has also helped the credit union serve members with 40 percent less staff than branches with traditional over-the-counter tellers. Indeed, the ability to address staffing across the network rather than on a branch-by-branch basis has also improved efficiencies, allowing Coastal to better track and forecast staffing needs while minimizing human error.

These innovations have also led to more members and shorter lines -- a very happy combination for the credit union. Indeed, Coastal’s Teller Transaction Score on the Net Promoter Survey has consistently been above 70 percent throughout 2017. The Carrboro branch specifically has nearly quadrupled its membership, from 485 at the end of Oct. 2016 to 1,660 at the end of June 2017. Between June 2016 and June 2017, the number of deposits at the branch tripled.

Regarding the success of this initiative, Joe Mecca, AVP-Communication at Coastal, said the credit union saw "an uptick in productivity" from account managers, and "high scores" for teller transactions in our satisfaction surveys.

"It’s been a constant learning process," Mecca added. "With each branch re-model and new implementation of the technology, we’ve been able make tweaks to branch design, in-branch traffic flow and even how certain information is presented on the screen."

Dave Throndson, VP of Business Development of La Macchia Group, said his firm is implementing ITM technology in more than a dozen credit unions across the country. "The efficiency advantages of this technology is making it more and more desirable and we expect its acceptance to continue to grow," he commented.

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