10 Nov Members Embrace Gulf Coast Educators FCU’s New Mobile App
Consolidating the leadership role they have filled for over 63 years in their southeast Texas service area, Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union has adopted a financial app for smartphone users that is already making waves, fuelling growth, and garnering increased member satisfaction and profits. Despite a generally gloomy economic climate, business is booming for the Pasadena-based credit union—and promises to continue its dramatic upsurge.
This enviable position is due in part to the unique advantages the new app offers, believes Gulf Coast’s V. P. Joseph Ditta, who flipped the switch on their new CU Mobile Apps product without preliminary fanfare and discovered the next morning that 192 eager Gulf Coast members had already signed on overnight.
Members are hungry for such new features, and are more than enthusiastic about getting on board with a high-performance mobile app, confirms V.P. of Project Development Jamieson Mackay, who reports that GCEFCU is now accessible on over 2200 mobile devices and growing. “Over all our services, we try to achieve 12 ½% growth,” says Mackay. “I don’t see any reason not to expect the mobile app to at least match that rate.”
The experience of adopting an app that’s fast, flexible, multi-talented and affordable has been illuminating in unexpected ways, Mackay adds. “The app’s phenomenal performance really opened our eyes to the importance of having a sound mobile strategy. It confirmed for us how vital it is to continue to be a leader when it comes to functional technology. Our members expect that.”
GCEFCU’s carefully chosen solution—CU Mobile Apps—is the most recent product offered by Member Service Solutions, LLC, a Tennessee-based provider. It offers a competitive edge that’s essential in an increasingly beleaguered field, says MSS partner Tom Gray, a trainer, consultant, and creator of tailored profitability solutions for client companies nationwide.
“Creating or signing a contract for even primitive apps can cost companies tens of thousands of dollars,” he points out. “By providing small to medium-sized credit unions with a nominally-priced, yet sophisticated and professional high-performance app, we help our subscribers to be more competitive within their markets, creating a professional image that impresses their members and attracts new ones.”
“‘User friendly’ doesn’t begin to describe the ability of this program to grasp, customize and implement the ideas of a financial institution’s back office operators,” says Rick Hargis, owner/partner of MSS. “The product allows even inexperienced subscribers to easily upload images, choose colors, customize items displayed, and add or change content at any time—with the results accessible to their members and customers within 60 seconds.”
The product’s unique “App Engine” platform works with both iPhones and Android devices, and its future-forward design allows it to seamlessly accept and integrate newer technologies as they become available, without costly and inconvenient restructuring/redesign delays—and without additional subscription charges, since no contract and no future obligation is associated with the CU Mobile Apps product.
The app’s versatility means it only gets better with continued use and development, Mackay notes. “I think the difference between CU Mobile Apps and some of the other companies that we considered is the fact that we have so much control over our own app. It’s very quick and easy for us to customize it and add information. It feels more like our app; we’re in control of what it looks like—what it can do.”
It’s a feature GCEFCU uses frequently, creating and adding several new pages, including recently an advertisement page.
“The advertisement page has worked out quite well,” Ditta reported. “Our member service reps have received multiple calls that confirm that our members are viewing this ad.”
Mackay reflects that although the app was activated before GCEFCU had a mobile banking solution in place, the response was gratifying, nonetheless. “Initially, the app just pointed to our on-line banking system, but even at that, the feedback about the app was pretty amazing. Adding the mobile banking component has basically turned it into the complete solution it should have been in the first place.”
“As our members use it, it seems to solidify their trust in us, and their willingness to continue regarding us as their sole financial institution,” says Ditta.
The bottom line appears to be that, by adopting the app, GCEFCU maintains its time-honored role as a regional pioneer in offering innovative products and exceptional service to its membership.
Gulf Coast Educators FCU was established as the Pasadena School Federal Credit Union in 1948, by a group of 11 teachers dedicated to forming a co-op that served the specific financial needs of classroom teachers.
“Back then, credit was hard to come by,” said Mackay. “Many of our older board members still talk about those early days; they feel that the credit union really saved their lives, giving them opportunities they could not otherwise have enjoyed, and benefiting the entire educational community as a result.”
The institution has continued to build its reputation and its success on a longterm commitment to its members, as expressed in its stated philosophy of “building lifelong relationships, one member at a time.”
In less than 12 years, the credit union reached the $1,000,000 asset mark, doubled its assets during the following decade—then more than tripled those assets during the 1970s, reaching the $12,000,000 mark in 1979. The institution began offering Certificates of Deposits that same year, and in 1982, added checking accounts, IRA’s, MasterCards, ATMs and Direct Deposit to its list of services—fuelling explosive growth during the 90’s, when even more independent school districts, private schools, and colleges were added.
“Our real growth started in the 90’s,” confirms Mackay, “when we made a commitment to electronic delivery channels. If memory serves, we were one of the first financial services not only in this area, but nationwide, to offer on-line banking.”
GCFCU’s current membership and assets stand at more than 33,000 members and over $400,000,000.
GCEFCU is dedicated to its mission in more than name only; its leaders guide its focus, and themselves play active personal roles in serving their communities through improving the delivery of education to a generation of thirsty learners. Many members of their management team serve as directors of regional education foundations: Their CEO chairs the Pasadena Independent School District Education Foundation; MacKay chairs the Clear Creek Education Foundation, and Ditta serves the Friends of Education Foundation, all of which pursue development of innovative teaching grants and promote improved education by making funds available to classroom teachers and ultimately benefiting children. The credit union also makes scholarships available to deserving students on an annual basis.
CU Mobile Apps is available through Member Service Solutions, LLC, a respected provider of insurance and financial solutions for credit unions and financial institutions. Additional information is available at http://www.cumobileapps.com and http://www.memberservicesolutions.com , or by calling (800) 537-9035 Ext. 105.