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The National Credit Union Awards highlight fresh and effective programs that emphasize local economic initiatives, innovative solutions that improve the effectiveness of the credit union, and the ambitions of tomorrow’s young leaders.

2013 National Credit Union Innovation Award



Virtual Technology Connects the North


What is the key to innovation? Answer: to find a need and fill it!  That’s exactly what North Peace Savings and Credit Union (North Peace Savings) did.
 
North Peace Savings has blended innovation and community service in a unique fashion with the introduction of Personal Teller Machines (PTMs) to their members.  While PTMs and videoconferencing aren’t new to the financial world -- North Peace Savings has leveraged this technology to bring a full suite of financial services to remote and underserved communities of Northern British Columbia.  By connecting members to a virtual teller through a video screen – they can now offer all the transactions & services found in a traditional branch, to those in the most remote of locations. 
 
They began by installing PTMs in Fort St. John and Fort Nelson, Canada’s most northerly credit union location and shortly after installed a PTM and a ‘virtual office’ in Taylor - a town that was managing their finances through ‘white label’ ATMs that were not affiliated with any financial institution.  People and businesses in Taylor went from having no personal financial services -- to twelve hours of service, six days a week.
 
An aggressive marketing campaign introduced staff and members to this exciting new concept.
Employees were kept fully informed of the program through a fact sheet, face to face meetings with managers, weekly updates in the employee newsletter and incentives for achieving targets.
 
To reach members, North Peace Savings utilized various communication methods along with newspaper, radio, airport, theatre and online ads.  As further incentive, members were eligible to win an iPad just for using Face to Face video banking. A featured article in Enterprise magazine shared North Peace Saving’s innovative program with a larger audience.
 
Survey results show PTMs and the virtual smart office in Taylor -- are clear winners with members.  North Peace Savings has higher member satisfaction and grew their membership by 5.7 per cent in their first year.  Currently, PTMs are being used for an average of 2500 sessions each month.  And North Peace Savings was able to deliver these services at one tenth the cost of a conventional branch.
 
By addressing the needs of under-served communities through cutting edge technology, collaborating effectively, and sharing their experience with credit unions across Canada, North Peace Savings and Credit Union is the recipient of Credit Union Central of Canada’s 2013 Innovation Award.