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Ranking High in FMSI’s Peer Benchmarking Report

April 29, 2011

41% Efficiency Improvement Good Enough to Lift CU Into Elite Peer Group

The value of clearly understanding member traffic patterns and optimizing the workforce is not lost on Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union (MAFCU) —or its peers. The CU dramatically increased staff productivity by 41% after employing FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM (TMS), and subsequently rocketed up in FMSI’s monthly peer performance rankings.

The Germantown, MD, credit union’s rise was dramatic, moving from the 68th position in FMSI’s Comparative Benchmark Reportin May 2009 to inside the top 12 today. The Benchmark Report ranks FMSI TMS client institutions from lowest to highest in four proprietary workforce optimization metrics. Thanks to TMS, MAFCU has reduced excess labor costs by 83% annually, increased teller transactions per hour from 14.5 to 20.5, and lowered the amount of time employees are waiting for work by 87%.

“TMS highlights the critical data that allow the management team to adjust staffing levels and drive individual performance and branch efficiency,” stated Anthony Johnson, VP and COO. “The solution has been a huge boost to our productivity in so many ways.”

Turning Around a Negative Trend

What the $243-millon MAFCU is extremely proud of and credits TMS in helping achieve, is lowering labor costs per transaction by 29% and reducing excess labor costs by a remarkable $8,085 a month. That has helped the CU turn around a trend of negative net income and post gains, despite NCUA assessments.

With FMSI reports in hand, Anthony said MAFCU is now able to gauge monthly how specific scheduling changes impact workforce optimization performance goals, and as a result the credit union can adjust in real-time different variables, like teller coaching and part-time utilization.

“Adding TMS has had such a big impact on the entire organization,” said Anthony. “We have not only improved in teller productivity, but part-time utilization (14%) and overtime pay. We went from 11 hours of overtime per branch per pay period to three hours, saving $30,000 a year.”

Increased Service and Sales

Increasing teller productivity and significantly reducing employee downtime has also reduced teller errors and increased cross sales. “We knew we had to make better use of employees’ time,” Anthony stated. “We had staff standing around at times doing nothing. When employees are idle, they lose focus and their attention to cross selling and member service suffers. Errors occur and sales opportunities are overlooked.”    

One of the first actions TMS data helped MAFCU do was reduce unproductive branch hours. The credit union eliminated the 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. operating hours at its four locations, letting the ATMs handle members’ needs during those times. “We were bracing for a huge backlash from the members due to the hour change, but had just one recorded complaint in a year,” Anthony stated.

Best Practices from the VP at Mid-Atlantic FCU

  • We pay close attention to overtime pay metrics — it’s an area that can save you a lot of money — but also one you can easily take your eye off.
  • Having our Director of Branch Operations review TMS data during our bi-weekly meetings with the Branch Managers motivates them and helps them to see the big picture. He talks about how our teller line improvements — like transactions per hour — affect the overall performance of the credit union.
  • In staff meetings, I include updates on how the credit union is faring in FMSI’s Comparative Benchmark Report. A little competition goes a long way.

When a credit union chooses a system to optimize its workforce and big improvements follow, it’s rewarding, Anthony said. “But understanding how that performance improvement stacks up against peers motivates our front-line and management teams as well. The 41% productivity increase told us a lot about how we had increased our efficiency, but our results in the Benchmark Report told us we had something special here. We appreciate receiving FMSI’s ranking report because it shows an invaluable direct ongoing comparison to our peers.”

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