WEST JORDAN, Utah-Mountain America Credit Union's recent migration to a customized remote deposit platform has drastically changed the way in which members are approaching banking.

"Since September 2011, we have realized a 700% increase in members using the remote deposit," said SVP Tony Rasmussen. "And month over month, we are seeing a 100% or more increase."

The second largest credit union in Utah, Mountain America has 71 branch locations and serves 361,000 members, nearly half of whom use some form of mobile banking. Prior to the remote deposit migration, MACU offered members an option of hand-keying their checks remotely and then mailing in the checks for processing. While Rasmussen said the "hand-key" method of was convenient for those members who couldn't access a branch, only about 500 members used the service annually.

"With remote capture, that number is now in the tens of thousands," he said.

After executing its due-diligence in search of service provider, it settled on San Diego-based Mitek Systems.

"I would say it was mix of out of the box and a custom application, because we relied heavily on the technology Mitek provided us during the conception phase," said Rasmussen. "But we wanted to customize it to how Mountain America Credit Union's internal processes were handled and the messages that would go back to the end user."

Mountain America CU is among 150 credit unions that are utilizing Mitek System's Mobile Deposit. And while remote deposit is an exponentially growing market due to the ability to effortlessly bank using a smart phone or tablet, Mitek's 2008 launch has made it a frontrunner.

"Mitek's approach to implementing, especially in the credit union space, is to take our architecture and integrate into existing systems," said Daniel Simon, regional sales manager for the company's Mobile Deposit Division. "We provide an avenue for them to get creative with items such as their all-important back-end systems or at the front end, the actual banking side."

With any customizable technology, issues can and will occur. Rasmussen said that while his expectations have been exceeded post rollout, there are variables credit unions that are looking to migrate to remote deposit should consider.

"The development for Droid and Google phones has a different process than Apple (products), and how the products are released is different," he continued. "Another thing to keep in mind is that not all devices will work. Every once in a while you'll get a product that doesn't not react to the system they way that others do. This has caused issues for a few of our members."

By and large, members that are using this technology will have upgraded or compliant devices, said Rasmussen. "If your phone is two years old, there likely will not be a problem. When phones are five years old, then there could be issues."

The latter seldom happens as the demographic for remote capture is geared toward members under 50, although that number is trending higher.


Role Played By Banks

The reason for the increased adoption rate across all ages can be attributed, in part, to credit unions' fiercest competitor: big banks. Simon and Rasmussen believe that massive national advertising campaigns for remote capture by banking juggernauts is tantamount to free advertising for all.

"As larger financial institutions continue to roll out advertising, members see these commercials and go to their credit union's website to not only see if they have mobile banking but more importantly mobile deposit and that is why it is continuing to prosper in credit unions," said Simon.

Added Rasmussen, "Right now credit unions are getting a huge lift of these advertising dollars."




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