Ten Tips to Make Technology More Efficient

July 15, 2010
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

“Information technology is the third top expense—behind staffing and facilities—for credit unions,” said Rudy Pereira, senior vice president of operations and technology at Alliant CU, Chicago. “With nearly half of credit unions having negative earnings last year, 2010 should be a year of automating tasks and work processes to drive efficiency.”

Daily News
View more conference coverage

Pereira addressed 10 tips for increasing technology and operational efficiency—best practices from the CUNA Technology Council—during a Wednesday morning breakout session at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas.

The 10 technology tips are:

1. Automated work flow. Enterprise content management will drive the effort to make processes more efficient, Pereira said, noting that often a member’s phone call request is forwarded on and not followed through with a single call.

2. Integration of platforms and information from various departments. This “lets you go from technology victim to leader,” he said. An integrated platform can handle 90% of calls from members.

3. Virtualization. By consolidating and lowering the number of servers, Pereira’s credit union saved 60% in costs—and reduced energy used. 

4. Cloud computing. Linking a large group of servers via high-speed networks to create a massive data storage system is in the future. By 2012, nearly 80% of Fortune 1,000 companies will engage in cloud computing. It will bring these benefits, Pereira said: scalability, skilled vendors, reduced costs, flexibility, quality of service, security, and privacy. Small companies and start-ups are at the front of the trend because they haven’t invested in legacy systems that would need replacement.

5. Task automation, including job scheduling, lock box, and log reviews. Automation allows the tech staff to work on meaningful projects.

6. Member self-service. Members making transactions themselves will increase. At Pereira’s credit union, 32% of members were online in 2005 and 60% in 2009. Among hot new self-service options: ATMs with check image catchers and phones that can take photos of a check and deposit its image instead of the physical check, itself.

7. Continuous process improvement. By breaking through patterns of “the way it’s always been done,” credit unions can improve service, ensure quality, and reduce expenses.

8. Fraud analysis tools for online banking, ATMs, and self-service phones. In 2005, credit unions saw significant budget losses beyond their insurance deductibles; Pereira’s credit union lost $700,000 on its $208,000 deductible. Insurers have put more responsibility on credit unions to manage their fraud losses.

9. Single sign-ons. Having a single password to log in to all the credit union’s systems reduces help-desk calls, saves employees time waiting to reset passwords, reduces risk of the password being written down, adds layered security, and engages employees.

10. Collaboration. More credit unions are beginning to consider partnering with other credit unions to use the same core system and staff. “The key is standardization (among vendors). It can drive up efficiency,” Pereira concluded.

Post a comment to this story


What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive