How Star One Credit Union Became the First BUX-Certified Financial Institution in the World

  • Star One After Tyfone Recognized by BUX

by Jim Bruene, BUX Advisors

Read the original article on BUX Advisors Website.

starone logo

Star One Credit Union is in an enviable position. Its Sunnyvale location, smack dab in the heart of Silicon Valley, gives the credit union access to many of the wealthiest people in the world. As a result, it has grown to be the tenth largest credit union in the country with more than $9.5B in assets, $6.6B in deposits, and 100,000 members. Even more impressive are the off-the-charts average balances: $65,000 on deposit and $95,000 in loans per member.

bux certified logo

While the well-heeled members are great for revenues, their Silicon Valley employment makes them uncompromising users of digital technology. And these tech savvy members could easily move their entire relationship for a better digital value proposition.

With that in mind, EVP Margarete Mucker knew they had to do something to update their 20-year old online banking service powered by Digital Insight (DI), which had gone through four owners in 7 years (now owned by NCR). The DI platform was falling behind current UX innovations and standards such as mobile-friendly responsive design. The service was not customizable and Star One struggled to integrate third-party services. It was becoming clear, the platform no longer met the needs of a digitally savvy member base.

But the CU was loath to change because it had not seen a vendor that could integrate with Fiserv XP2 and provide both a world-class online and mobile experience. That changed with a discussion with Star One’s mobile banking provider Tyfone in mid 2016. Tyfone was active in the mobile banking space but had not developed a desktop solution. However, that was about to change with the launch of its new integrated nFinia platform.

Star One was intrigued so they began a formal online banking vendor search. In addition to best-in-class online banking functionality, they needed a system flexible enough to support various third-party services. And they were also concerned with mounting costs to support two digital banking vendors, one for online and another for mobile.

After considering Q2, D3 and Alkami, they concluded that Tyfone was the obvious choice. Star One had been using the Portland, Oregon-based company for its mobile app since 2011 and found them to be an innovative and supportive vendor.

“(Tyfone) were very engaged and committed and provided a secure and sound mobile banking platform. We had an excellent partnership over the past six years,” said Star One’s Mucker. “It didn’t make sense for us to move to a completely new vendor when we knew what Tyfone was capable of.”

Besides unifying the customer UX, Tyfone offered considerable savings in the back office with a single administrative support module, single sign-on, and importantly, a single fee per digital customer. In addition, Tyfone offered enhanced security options, along with the promise that both mobile and online channels would NOT be down at the same time. So at the end of 2016, Tyfone was selected, with conversion set for October 2017.

In March, our firm, BUX Advisors was retained to look at the CU’s entire digital banking presence so that they could understand and prioritize all that needed to be improved. In addition, we took a deep dive into an early Tyfone online banking implementation and provided feedback.

Once a few rough edges were polished off, we re-evaluated the service against our UX matrix and it achieved our highest designation, a grade of Excellent. That means the site is now BUX Certified qualifying Star One to display the Excellence in Digital Banking certification logo (see note 1 below).

Major improvements in the new online banking service (see screenshot above):

  1. The site is fully responsive, making it easy to use on any size device.
  2. The first impression is excellent, making it approachable and easy to interact with.
  3. The left-side navigation is intuitive and uses understandable labels making it easy to complete key banking functions.
  4. Key content areas are free from distractions and have an excellent balance of white space making the site easy to scan and navigate.
  5. The My Payments and Quick Transfer widgets on the right are highly visible and convenient.
  6. The overview page defaults to All Memberships so that it displays all account balances right away.
  7. Account and routing numbers are easy to find.
  8. Footer and header information is consistent throughout

The conversion process

It’s no small chore convincing 87,000 tech-savvy banking members they need to re-enroll, and learn, a new online banking platform after 20 years. But that’s the challenge Star One faced. At the same time the CU switched bill pay providers (from DI/Checkfree to Jack Henry’s iPay), requiring its 15,000 users to learn a new system and reactivate any ebilling statements (though all payee info was automatically converted).

The conversion was in October. After a tedious two months of cleaning up data disparities, walking customers through the new UI and the single login scheme, and making a last-minute platform upgrades (for example, the CU didn’t realize how important it was for its digital-savvy customers to be able to print transaction history and check images, so Tyfone quickly expanded the print-friendliness of the UI), online banking is now running smoothly again.

In fact, active billpay users grew by 3% post conversion demonstrating that that key power-user base is embracing the new system. And total digital active use appears to be trending up as well (although it’s hard to compare the single platform to the previous dual vendor one).

Bottom line: Star One members finally have a single modern UI to conduct activities via desktop, tablets and smartphone. And with usage trending up so soon after a major conversion, it’s clearly a testament to the patience of the CU’s customer support staff, the intuitiveness of its new UI, and the nimbleness of its new online banking provider.

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