WASHINGTON-Credit unions seeking to lower the average age of their membership need to consider adding an online account opening and funding solution.

While some CUs have expressed trepidation over the services, the solutions have reached a sufficiently mature stage so that credit unions have been able to document very low levels of fraud, in addition to the ability to attract a younger demographic, according to uMonitor. The Memphis-base company offers uOpen and uFund for online account opening and funding, respectively.

"uOpen and uFund also gives you the ability to track the age groups coming to your site," explained Richard Whiddon, VP-sales. "With the e-commerce web portal, the consumer has the same expectations as they do with other sites."

Such solutions are particularly attractive to consumers 18-30, Whiddon noted, adding that familiarity with such solutions has grown. "People want it now; they want things instantaneously," said Whiddon, and that includes the ability to open and fund a new financial institution account without visiting the branch.

Don't Forget The Switch Kit

Eighty-five CUs are currently using a uMonitor solution, which includes a switch kit. Whiddon said the average new member can set up their membership and transfer all of their other relationships, including ACH, direct deposit and plastic cards, in approximately 10 minutes. He added credit unions have grown more comfortable with ACH being used to fund new accounts. Approximately 50% of new members opt for a credit/debit card at the time of account opening. "That's only logical because young people believe in using plastic cards."

Small Amounts Welcome Here

Large amounts are not needed to open accounts at most credit unions, Whiddon pointed out. But while the focus is often on account opening, the solution also offers the ability to close old accounts, which are often left open. "We try to show (the new member) at the end of the application that there is an easy way to close an account," Whiddon said. "We can pre-fill the screens using information to help close the account, and at that point it's up to the credit union to build the relationship. If the member does not take action, we can provide data to the credit union for marketing follow up. Direct deposit is a good example."

In the course of account-opening data on employment is often captured, making it easier to market direct deposit and to later set it up.

Whiddon said many CUs express interest in how compliant the solutions are with OFAC, BSA and other regulations. "We have a rigid, do documented process on OFAC compliance," in addition to other requirements, he stressed.

Later this quarter uMonitor also plans to roll out a new P2P solution. "Banks and credit unions want to go around PayPal." In addition, it will also add CD account opening functionality, including for accounts that are automatically renewing. The credit union will be able to ask the member if he or she wishes to add additional funds.

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