Giving credit unions operational resilience and flexibility in how they operate.
The text below has been supplied by Karen O'Reilly, the Manager of Rotherham based LASER Credit Union, which was established in February 2003. It is written from the perspective of the LASER Credit Union:
Classed as an essential service, we conducted a thorough and strict COVID-19 risk assessment for all staff and customers to adhere to. We also produced a COVID-19 emergency plan which we, unfortunately, had to very quickly implement.
What we planned for happened, we had a case of a staff member contracting the Coronavirus although we followed strict social-distancing rules. Other staff members and customers were not considered “close contacts” and were not contacted by NHS test and trace.
As a precaution, we closed for a few days and all worked from home.
We were lucky enough to receive grant funding to purchase laptops before this happened which made life a lot easier but if we hadn’t recieved funding we would have taken our work computer equipment home.
Viva IT and the services, products and customer service they provide has been invaluable in moving our small Community Credit Union forward but even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In our situation at LASER, staying open, it was important and reassuring to know that if we had to move quickly due to a COVID-19 emergency that we could do it, having the tools and the platform to do it with confidence.
The cloud based Apollo system is ideal in an emergency situation such as we faced and also for many Credit Unions that have staff working at work and at home.
The system is so easy to use and for many services you don’t even need to log onto an office remote server. Again ideal if something goes wrong and you can’t get immediate access to the server or it needs to be re-booted.
The Apollo system and Launchpad is amazing from end-to-end; from new members applying to the completion of loans and on top of that the integrations with third parties for back office, credit searches and open banking plus loads more. As Viva IT actively respond to Credit Unions needs more and more is being added to their wonderful system. For servicing members it’s amazing too as all members have to do is download the mobile app.
Even for non-members wanting to apply for membership or membership and loan it’s great as there is integration with your own website.
The most important thing that we found during our emergency is that both new members applying and existing members with all their needs didn't experience anything different due to us working at work or at home and that is the key in providing a consistent service.
Communication is all important and especially during an emergency and during these times. We were very quickly able to put a notification banner with a link to our website for more detail in our situation of closing for a few days (explaining all services would be as normal, except for cash).
Built into the Apollo system is an interaction tool with text and email and this proved all the more important when you close suddenly for a few days as the tool to communicate is there.
We at LASER have had the experience a few years ago of facing an emergency situation, again without access to our premises, but not having what Viva IT provide and it was difficult to say the least. A lot was learnt from this experience and a lot has moved on (at the credit union) technology-wise but how Viva IT has maintained our flow of service throughout all of this; working at work, emergency working at home, amazing.
In a nutshell the mobile app and the Apollo system is ideal for Credit Unions but especially recommended given the COVID-19 pandemic, the ease of working with this system both at work and at home, and the tools for communicating with members during this time.