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TMS Bolsters Credit Union’s Efficiency Arsenal

February 7, 2011

St. Louis Arsenal

FMSI Solution Keeps Employees Productive and Positive
Long before the first U.S. credit union was chartered, Arsenal CU’s (ACU) name was taking shape.  Back in the 1800s, at the time of the Civil War, the site on which the credit union’s original sponsor would eventually build its headquarters had become known as the “St. Louis Arsenal” (vintage picture above).  There, along the banks of the Mississippi River at the Gateway to the West, were stored small arms, artillery, gun carriages, ammunition, and gunpowder.

Today the weapons are long gone, but the historical reference associated with ACU’s original sponsor, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), has remained with the St. Louis credit union, which has made an important addition to its own arsenal—FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM (TMS).

Formed in 1948 to serve NGA employees, ACU has expanded its field of membership to provide financial services to the St. Louis community and surrounding areas.  With that growth have come five branches, a growing staff, and the need for the credit union to optimize its workforce.  TMS has eliminated overstaffing and improved the credit union’s efficiency and productivity on the front line, reducing excess labor costs by 46% annually, or $3,787 per month.  The change has helped the credit union boost net worth by one percentage point to 8.63% during the recession.

Right Choice, Right Time
“We instituted this program at the correct time,” stated Jean Capriglione, AVP of Member Services.  “With the stresses on income streams, increasing efficiency and reducing expenses are some of the best weapons we have to remain profitable.  Human resources, certainly, are one of our largest expenses, which is why it is so important we create an efficient teller-line schedule.”

With the TMS workforce optimization application and its streamlined scheduling engine, ACU now makes staffing decisions based on consistent, detailed traffic pattern data that allows it to accurately forecast and schedule, pinpointing peak-hours when staff are needed, and noting times when employees are waiting for work.  “We’re making the most efficient use of our staff, and TMS lets us do that through activity reports,” Jean stated.  “It’s helped us rely more on part-time employees and assistance from platform staff when member demand is high.”

The results are evident in the credit union’s dramatic 77% increase in part-time utilization.  Overall, front-line productivity has improved through TMS by measuring individual employee output, training, and establishing achievable goals.  TMS has boosted teller transactions per hour by 21%, moving from an average of 15.4 to 18.7. And as employee efficiency and speed have improved, labor cost per transaction has dropped 20%.

TMS Increases Retention

Arsenal, too, ties an incentive program to monthly teller performance that has the credit union achieving its referral and cash drawer balance goals, and further improving employees’ attitudes.  An even more positive teller outlook, Jean said, has led to lower attrition and higher teller retention.

Despite all the statistics that show TMS has improved performance at ACU, Jean emphasized that the most important metric remains member satisfaction.  “When we set out to improve teller productivity, we wanted to make sure our member service levels were not sacrificed.  We’ve accomplished that goal.”

Best Practices from the AVP of Member Services at Arsenal CU

  • Every month I make sure I review with the front-line team the percentage of transactions processed by position.  That is my favorite report and it provides a lot of incentive to the staff.  It motivates them to see how we are improving.
  • By the same token, I make sure the rest of the meeting does not always include the same report results.  I like to keep meetings fresh, and give the team a well-rounded perspective on their performance.  With TMS reports being so numerous, deep, and rich, I have no problem keeping meetings interesting each month.
  • TMS is great for one-on-one reviews.  It allows me to give each person a running recap of how they have been performing over the last year, and how they were doing last year at the same time.

The challenging economy demands that credit unions always seek to add to their arsenal of tools to optimize their workforce, Jean concluded.  “You cannot remain complacent, there simply has been too much change within our industry.  Getting the most out of your employees, keeping them happy, and providing members with the best service go hand in hand—which ultimately helps you improve sales and keep costs in line.”

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