TAMPA, Fla.-They're not rock stars, but they are popular with members. IT techs are touring GTE Financial's branches, fixing members' computers for free, and boosting remote banking usage.

Since the techs began their road show, the $1.6-billion GTE has seen a 62% increase in online banking and remote deposit capture usage.

Techs on Tour is the name of the program that during the last 16 months has worked on more than 350 computers, saving members more than $100,000 in repair expenses, the CU estimates. Techs' "tour dates" are listed on the GTE website, its mobile banking platform and in branches. The team shows up on a Saturday for four hours and members begin lining up, usually bringing with them laptops, and within an hour get their machine diagnosed and repaired. GTE is partnering with CDW, which provides three techs for each event.

"Most of the services performed are eliminating spyware, viruses and malware, and clearing up minor operational problems," explained Chad Burney, SVP of Virtual Banking and CIO. "If it's more than that, which is not normally the case, we work through CDW to offer members the chance to have the laptop sent out for repair at a discounted price."

 

Live Demonstrations

The big benefit, outside of boosting member loyalty, is explaining and demonstrating to members the advantages of electronic banking and gaining e-services converts, said Burney.

"We have a captive audience while members wait for their PCs. We have our Community Engagers, our community outreach team, at each event who go through the line and talk with members one-on-one," said Burney. "We have an LCD screen that's operated via a mobile device and we demonstrate how easy home and mobile banking are. For example, when members see how simple it is to do remote deposit capture from a phone-which we demonstrate-the expressions on their faces are like they've seen fire for the first time. They are amazed."

The program breaks down the barriers to using mobile and home banking, getting more members comfortable using technology. Members learn how easy it is to sign up for electronic services, and then go home and do it, said Burney.

Since the techs are often removing malware, GTE Financial reps can also easily segue into discussions about the security of home banking and dispel fraud fears members may have about using the service. "Not only do members get a secure PC returned, they feel safer about using it afterward."

 

Success Leads To Extension

The program has been so successful it has been extended thru 2014. The techs appear at branches once a month. The CDW services are provided free to the credit union, since GTE Financial uses the company as its preferred hardware provider.

"You'll never see a bank do this," said Burney about the program that's also raising GTE Financial's profile within the communities it serves. "It is a strategic differentiator that enhances the member experience and is a service that ultimately non-members hear about and ask to become GTE Financial members."

The service is for members only, but Burney estimated that 15% to 20% of people who come to a tour event are non-members who then join the credit union. About 25 computers are serviced at each event.

Outside of all the program's benefits, Burney said it's fun for staff and members. GTE Financial always hands out Techs On Tour road show T-shirts in its branches. The shirts have the tour dates on the back, much like what is seen on the backs of concert T-shirts.

"This is a great program that other credit unions are asking about," said Burney. "It's a win for everyone-members get their computers fixed and the credit union increases its electronic channel usage and efficiency.

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