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Workforce Optimization Solution Helps Large Credit Union Manage Growth

February 23, 2011
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FMSI Keeps Credit Union on Top of Staffing Challenges

In Corpus Christi, Texas, the $1.1-billion NavyArmy Federal Credit Union (NavyArmy) is focused on growth, almost tripling assets in the last five years. Achieving that size has not been a simple task, acknowledged the credit union, which noted that keeping up with the demands of expansion is challenging. The rapid growth brings with it a greater need to manage complexity and costs, especially in today’s economy.

Having doubled its branch network to become one of the largest credit unions in the local area, staying on top of scheduling personnel and finding ways to more efficiently utilize employees became a priority for the credit union, which turned to FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM(TMS) for solutions. NavyArmy has utilized the TMS workforce optimization application to streamline the scheduling process and adjust retail branch staffing levels to be more in line with member traffic patterns, resulting in the credit union achieving significant efficiency improvements and improving member service.

“TMS software enabled us to identify and quantify inefficiencies in our branch network through detailed monthly reports,” stated Terri Young, AVP of Operations. “We found that many of our branches were too heavily staffed during times when traffic patterns were extremely low. The TMS reports uncovered these inefficiencies and provided management with the associated impact on non-interest operating expenses.”

Improving Part-Time Utilization
TMS management reports not only showed where the credit union erred during slow activity time periods, but also when it needed additional staff to handle peak teller demand. That TMS data has enabled NavyArmy to make better, more accurate use of part-time staff, increasing part-time utilization by 14% last year. “For example, the data makes it so much simpler to determine if we need to hire a part-time employee to cover the demand,” Terri explained.

Possessing detailed monthly reports that share trends in the teller area at the branch and individual performer levels, NavyArmy now expediently makes decisions that improve the bottom line. The credit union achieved a $0.10 reduction in labor costs per transaction over the past year without sacrificing service. “Our service levels have not eroded,” stated Terri, who added that member satisfaction surveys indicate service has improved.

Through uncovering individual teller performance numbers and managing to these metrics, NavyArmy was able to increase their average individual teller transactions per hour (TPH) from 15.6 to 18.7 – a 20% improvement.

Excess Labor Costs Cut by Over 50%
Terri added TMS also dramatically reduced excess labor costs, pinpointing times when staff is not processing transactions. NavyArmy last year cut monthly excess labor costs by 57%, or $14,707 a month.

According to Terri, TMS’ accurate, consistent, and timely data reports have eliminated guesswork from the scheduling process. She explained that NavyArmy relied on estimates from branch managers to set schedules based on their assumptions for traffic patterns. “We’ve transformed our scheduling approach,” Terri stated. “It is now easier and faster to produce a very accurate schedule because we are basing it on forecasted member transaction volumes, not someone’s best estimation. We also get consistent, accurate information from one database, and there is no waiting for the IT team to pull spreadsheets together.”

Best Practices from the AVP of Operations at NavyArmy FCU

  • Creating a hybrid position, where we use some MSRs on the teller line during peak hours, gives the credit union extraordinary flexibility to adjust to member demand and make the most efficient use of staff time.
  • Employing a champion–a project sponsor who has overseen the TMS program from inception through deployment–eliminates bottlenecks, makes sure the program proceeds according to schedule, and gives people a central point of contact.  Our champion is our Flour Bluff District Manager, Hannah Franklin, and she has done a tremendous job for us.
  • The efficiency improvements we achieved through TMS mean a lot to the credit union. Yet no matter how much you save by optimizing your teller line, those savings should never come at the expense of member service.

As financial institutions grow, so do demands on managing staff. Employing better methods to improve and streamline scheduling, and finding ways to more efficiently utilize employees became critically important to NavyArmy Federal Credit Union as it has expanded. “We still have a lot more room for growth,” Terri stated. “And growth can challenge financial institutions, both to achieve it and keep up with its demands. Thanks to TMS, we are growing while optimizing our workforce. It’s a beautiful thing.”

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