Connections Online Delivers Enhanced Operations!
CU Journal Best Practice Award Winner 2007
Arkansas Federal Credit Union’s implementation of Connections Online (COL) in February 2006 was of great benefit to its operations in the last year. AFCU ($500 million; 66,000 members; Jacksonville, AR) is in a dynamic phase of growth and change, including CEO and senior management changes in the months prior to COL implementation. COL helped the credit union’s leadership team through organizational alignment, maximizing resource allocation, and increasing communication – all key pieces of its substantial growth since early 2006.
Arkansas FCU’s overall goal is to double its size within five years. It is now well on its way – especially using COL. Prior to using COL, the credit union was having communication problems in-house. It was notorious for launching projects at five o’clock on Fridays. In a large, multi-service credit union miscommunication between leadership and staff can translate to miscommunication to our members. Arkansas FCU’s fiscal goals will not be met if its membership can’t expect clear direction from CU management and staff. With COL, it no longer had those same problems; everyone on the leadership team knows project status and where our current priorities are placed. Credit union staff has learned to prioritize its projects through dialogs – dialogs that have shown where strengths are, what projects to pursue and which projects should be set aside.
Today, Arkansas FCU usually has 8-to-10 large projects in its queue. This consistent project load is a good fit for current leadership team and management style. If another pressing project comes up, staff has a dialog to see which projects can be replaced to reflect the shifting organizational priorities. As a result of this prioritization, the credit union has been able to complete on time and within budget more than a dozen major projects this past year.
Some of these projects include the Little Rock Teachers merger, Call Center remodel and telephone system upgrade, Tiered Savings program, Military Checking, Disaster Recovery testing, Save Smart Checking, new Little Rock Air Force Base Branch, Branch remodel, Drive-thru remodel, Branch site acquisition, Bonus Rate Checking, Save Smart Certificate, Ultimate Choice Certificate, and more.
Since COL’s implementation last year, Arkansas FCU has also experienced tremendous growth in part due to the new efficiencies this solution has provided. Listed below are some of the growth numbers:
- 14.4 percent share growth,
- 20.7 percent asset growth,
- 8.15 percent membership growth,
- 24.8 percent increase in gross revenue,
- 14 major projects completed on time and under budget – among other numbers.
One amazing thing to note about the credit union’s growth is that 80 percent of it came from existing membership. Arkansas FCU’s tagline is “Improving Each Members’ Financial Life.” With COL fostering new organizational alignment, maximized resources, and increased communication, the credit union has been able to complete its internal projects on time and under budget. This affords staff the ability to provide members with better products and services much quicker. As a result, the credit union is much more valuable to each member because of the timely delivery of the products and services that they can use. And that is definitely “Improving Each Members’ Financial Life.”