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Access Credit Union opens first innovation centre

Lauren MacGill

Access Credit Union, with the help of Morden mayor Ken Wiebe, cut the ribbon on their new Innovation Centre on May 3. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

Access Credit Union, with the help of Morden mayor Ken Wiebe, cut the ribbon on their new Innovation Centre on May 3. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

Access Credit Union is serious about its role as the branch of the future.

ACU has opened the doors to its first Innovation Centre just east of Morden.

“What we’re looking to do is keep working on enhancing our member experience,” ACU president and CEO Larry Davey said. “We’re looking to utilize technology but we’re looking to make it the way the member wants it.”

The centre will staff 3 Innovation Specialists, who will work through handling technology with members along with taking suggestions for what ACU can be doing differently and ultimately, how the experience can be the most convenient for members.

As well, members will be able to learn how to use all the new technologies and test new systems. For example, one of the new features at the Innovation Centres is a technology that allows members to register their palm print. When they place their palm on the machine, all their information is pulled up and they can complete transactions from there.

“We’re asking the specialists to look at the process in Access Credit Union and enhance that,” Davey said. “We’re asking them to reinvent how we do things in the credit union, to take some of that cumbersomeness away from the members.”

Davey said the goal is to make members aware of what is available for them to use and letting members directly influence their own experience. “Not everybody wants to do everything the same,” he said. “There’s a huge shift in technology in all demographic areas.”

Davey said when ACU launched Deposit Everywhere, which allows members to deposit cheques by snapping a photo of it with a smartphone or tablet, the first members that used the service were over 60 years old. “Most people would tell you it’s just going to be the young people, but that isn’t the case,” Davey said. “We just want to make sure that when we introduce technology it gets introduced in a way that’s beneficial to everybody and doesn’t just get thrown into the branch and forgotten.”

One of the new systems ACU will be testing at the Innovation Centre will be a commercial member deposit system that will allow commercial members to deposit without having to visit a physical credit union branch.

The Innovation Centre is also equipped with conference rooms that can connect members with experts in other locations like Altona.

Davey said the credit union has also seen great support from suppliers, who have been sending new technologies they want to see tested out.

Davey also said the credit union wants to test this location to see if the demand exists for more locations in the future. “We see this as the branch of the future,” he said. “We just need to know if it’s a sufficient size, is it working, how can the flow be changed. If the members are saying ‘This isn’t working out’ we’ll look at shifting it, but there will be a reasonable facsimile of this as we move it across the footprint of Access Credit Union.”