Commsave Credit Union

Author: Natasha
Thursday, July 31 2014

Viva IT has helped Commsave, a leading credit union in the UK, reach their full potential by making valuable improvements to their technology, allowing them to double in size.

Credit Where it's Due

How Viva IT has helped leading credit union, Commsave, to embrace technology and better serve its growing base of members.

In a world of financial uncertainty, maximising the return on your personal savings and obtaining credit are increasingly difficult challenges. However, many people are turning to credit unions to help them with their financial well-being, with over 40,000 credit unions now operating around the world enabling over 118 million members to access affordable financial services.

A credit union is a 'not for profit' financial institution owned and controlled by its members, just like a mutual building society - with no traditional shareholders to pay. Each credit union has a 'common bond' based on living or working links, or membership of an association – which determines who can become a member.

Commsave is a leading UK financial co-operative, and has been serving Royal Mail Group employees and their families since 1991.

Commsave was set up by postmen in Northampton for the whole of the Royal Mail family - employed staff or retired postmen and members of their households. With over 19,500 members, the organisation operates from Northampton covering England, Scotland and Wales.

Technology Drives Better Business Processes

As a credit union with a rapidly-growing number of members, Commsave is required to retain a significant number of records and reports to comply with specific financial legislation. These records are handled by a large number of business processes and systems, some paper-based and some underpinned by technology.

Amanda Ivey, Credit Union Manager at Commsave says: "Given the nature and security requirements of our business, the processes we use to manage our members' savings and credit are critical. Our goal is to run the credit union for the benefit of all members, so the effectiveness of the service we provide is vital and any savings or improvements that we can make to these processes increase our overall performance and service to members."

By reviewing its systems and processes over time, working in consultation with Leicester-based technology consultants, Viva IT, Commsave was able to develop and implement a series of technological applications that have delivered time savings and benefits for Commsave staff and members.

"By working with Viva IT, we were able to make a number of changes to our various systems and processes, making better use of technology. This has improved efficiencies, and now positively supports and links many of our disparate systems, and in many cases cutting down on duplication of duties," Amanda Ivey added.

Delivering Solutions to Support Staff and Existing Processes

Viva IT started by exploring ways of improving call queueing, to reduce the time it took for members to connect to Commsave call handlers by implementing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) techniques.

Members were also looking for mobile access to their accounts so Viva IT developed secure applications for members to check balances and make payments using their mobile or smart phones.

Additionally, call software has enabled Commsave to retrieve data that has helped to identify busy times, and therefore enable more effective staff utilisation in terms of scheduling staff breaks, weighting number of staff for particularly busy periods, etc.

This data also provided Commsave with details of call conversion and call abandonment. Based on this, evidence-based call response targets have been met which has proven key to serving the needs of members and growing the organisation.

Another application has helped Commsave's helpdesk to segregate requests which have focused responsibilities to ensure that process time for members is reduced. Previously, all records were manually scanned but a Viva IT-developed application means that a barcode-based system can now automatically process hundreds of records at a time.

A Holistic View Enables Commsave to Build for the Future

Amanda Ivey concludes: "Commsave has doubled in size in the last two years and with the subsequent growth in the volume of incoming calls and increasing pressure on staff, we needed to embrace technology to help us to cope with the demand and achieve this growth.

"It was clear that bespoke applications wouldn't be able to integrate seamlessly with our existing systems and that's how Viva IT gave us a real business advantage by building applications that would help us to run our organisation from end-to-end. With our goal of recording and storing all information online eventually, it was also important that the systems that Viva IT have developed have future-proofed our business."

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