"Partnering with ActionPoint enables us to further embrace the benefits of technology, and provide a greater experience for our members. ActionPoint has been instrumental in helping us to become a more progressive, secure Credit Union."
Branch Manager, Cara Credit Union
Cara Credit Union is the largest community-based credit union in Munster. Cara Credit Union has undergone significant expansion over the years. Founded in 1968 in Tralee, this credit union opened branches in Castleisland in the 1980s before merging with Tralee C.I.E Credit Union in 2012 and Killorglin in 2015. Aidan Healy is Project Officer and acting Branch Manager. Mr. Healy has been working at Cara Credit Union for over 15 years. Developing technological capabilities within Cara has been a major focus of his role.
When Aidan Healy first started in Cara Credit Union, the landscape was a lot different in the Credit Union industry. Internal processes were paper-based and manual. EFT (Electronic Funds Transferring) was manual and carried out by downloading files onto floppy disks. There were very few dedicated IT personnel throughout the entire industry. However, over time, technology has advanced the industry to where we are today. Online banking has become integral to Cara’s operations. Members can now open a current account, apply for new services and transfer money online.
Although Cara Credit Union has embraced and benefited from technology, there was a feeling that it could be used to advance even further. With branches in Tralee, Killorglin and Castleisland, Cara sought a better form of collaboration between branches. While membership services were increasingly being carried out online, Cara wanted to provide an even greater customer experience by reducing queues within the branch at peak hours. With limited office space, Cara wanted to use cloud-based services to encourage remote working. As an existing Office 365 customer, ActionPoint proposed upgrading to Microsoft 365 to address the challenges faced by Cara.
ActionPoint was tasked with the Microsoft 365 installation. The Kerry branch’s challenges have been overcome through using a few key components of the Microsoft 365 suite.
Whereas before, visitors to the branch would call in at random times, usually during peak hours, Cara has utilised the bookings app within Microsoft 365 to control traffic flow. Members can log into their online accounts and make appointments on a calendar shared with Cara. As all parties have full visibility, Cara can organise resources accordingly and actively prevent congestion within each branch at peak times. When we spoke with Aidan Healy, 120 account meetings had been held in the previous week. 70% of those came through the Microsoft Bookings app, giving Cara more control over the customer experience.
Version management used to be a real challenge for Cara Credit Union. When staff would share files, others would download and make edits, so there were multiple versions of the same file. SharePoint has made it possible for effective collaboration between branches without compromising information. SharePoint has also become the perfect platform for sharing training information and updates between the three Kerry branches. This is playing a significant role in opening remote working capabilities.
Teams has enhanced collaboration between branches even further. Cara uses several different Teams channels based on projects or internal departments. Teams has been used to share best practices, updates and collaborate on files or decision-making. A common occurrence at Cara involves bringing in a third-party trainer to run sessions that are broadcasted across the three branches using Teams. Credit Unions members’ experience has been transformed through Teams as Cara staff work more harmoniously with one another.
Security and Compliance
Microsoft 365 is an integrated platform that brings together Office 365, Enterprise Mobility & security (EMS) and Windows 10. This added layer of security enables Cara Credit Union to drive efficiency and productivity and further empower their employees while staying secure and compliant.
Following the successful integration of Microsoft 365, Cara Credit Union is looking forward to an even brighter future. Cara is embracing the modern workplace, enabling staff to work from anywhere when required and employee morale is all the better for it. Members enjoy friction-less, greatly improved customer service and the booking app has made life easier for all parties.
Looking to the future, remote working is expected to become even more prevalent. Cara is also steadily working towards paper-less operations. As with most Credit Unions, security, compliance and GDPR is an ongoing concern. However, with the enhanced security and compliance capabilities offered with Microsoft 365, Cara Credit Union is confident in its standing. In 2018, Cara celebrated its 50th year in business and in 2019, its potential is greater than ever before.
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