Mobile Advice Centre

A credit union on wheels: Innovation is delivering banking services across the province.

Every financial institution promises to deliver the very best in banking services to all its customers, but there’s a defining moment where the rubber hits the road. Many fall short of meeting the needs of people who live in rural areas or small towns or those who prefer to bank in-person rather than online. Access to full banking services is a challenge for these underserved groups, especially in a profit-driven retail banking culture that is closing branches at a record pace. Innovation Credit Union, headquartered in Saskatchewan, is one financial institution that has put its money where its mouth is by literally delivering banking services throughout the province. In 2016, Innovation launched a Mobile Advice Centre (MAC), putting Canada’s first travelling credit union on the road. On June 1st, 2017, a second MAC hit the highway.

The MACs are mobile credit unions housed in a state-of-the-art member experience solution. They are equipped with interactive touch displays, video ATMs and tablets. These mobile branches offer almost every service that a customer - who Innovation refers to as members - might need to access. A secure wireless connection enables staff to do demos and process transactions directly from the MAC. From deposits, withdrawals and bill payments to complex financial services like mortgages and loans, members visiting the MACs can complete almost any transaction. They can also connect in real time to in-branch Member Advisors via a live video connection.

Chief Disruption Officer of Innovation Credit Union, Dean Gagne, explains that meeting the needs of all members was the driving force behind the Mobile Advice Centre project. “Innovation is in the business of serving our members wherever they may be. To uphold our promise to do this, we needed to find a better way to reach underserved members in remote areas and small communities throughout Saskatchewan, especially those that have no access to a physical branch.”

Serving Underserved and Remote Communities

Staffed by Innovation team members from various branch locations, the MACs travel to underserved communities throughout the province, with a special focus on servicing remote communities in northern Saskatchewan. For example, Innovation schedules visits to Ile-a-la-Crosse and La Loche where residents can open accounts and learn about Innovation’s mobile app and online services, empowering them to continue their relationship with Innovation when the MACs are visiting other communities.

MAC staff members

By doing this, Innovation is filling a gap that retail banks have shut their doors on across the country. While the big banks may believe it’s more profitable to leverage online services to meet the changing needs of Canadians, this kind of thinking further marginalizes underserved banking communities. According to the Canadian Bankers Association, 55 percent of Canadians are doing most of their banking online and 31 percent are using smartphones to check balances, move money, pay bills and deposit cheques. But that leaves more than 40% of Canadians who clearly prefer or need to bank in person.

This is where Innovation’s Mobile Advice Centres come in. Daniel Johnson, CEO of Innovation says, “At a time when some organizations are still building bricks and mortar, we’re still expanding, we’re still building branches. We just decided to put wheels on this one and make it a self-contained advice centre for us to come to our members and our future members and do business.”

Like most of the credit union’s initiatives, the concept of Mobile Advice Centres was “inspired by the direction provided by our members,” adds Gagne. “We can actually connect members real time with our staff so if they are interested in a loan, or they want to talk to someone in a contact centre, we can make that happen. All in the same style and manner that people expect when dealing with Innovation whether on the phone, in a branch or a mobile advice centre like MAC.”

The MACs are mobile storytellers with their colourful branded exterior letting people across Saskatchewan know that Innovation is invested in the communities it serves. They are often seen at sporting events, community fundraisers and throughout the towns where people can do their banking, become a new member or simply learn about the Innovation difference. The Mobile Advice Centres are also part of Innovation’s business continuity plan so if a branch ever experienced damage from a storm or lost power, the MACs are only a drive away as the alternate branch.

“It isn’t realistic for people to drive hundreds of kilometres for banking services, so we bring our services to them, offering a warm face-to-face member experience in their communities. It’s what our members deserve,” says Johnson. “The MAC is paying dividends where it matters the most to us, and that is member satisfaction.”

About Innovation Expand/Collapse

Headquartered in Saskatchewan, Innovation Credit Union provides a full range of financial services to over 52,000 members including individuals, businesses, and organizations across the province. In 2018, its membership voted in favor of becoming a federal credit union that will enable Innovation to do business anywhere in Saskatchewan and all of Canada. Through the lens of Responsible Banking and innovation, Innovation Credit Union reinvests its profits into delivering economically viable solutions for all Canadians to access mutually beneficial and affordable world class financial products and services – wherever and whenever members need them.

Our Purpose Expand/Collapse

At Innovation Credit Union, we strive to redefine banking by helping Canadians simplify their lives and reach their financial goals by reinvesting profits into our members, our communities, and our people. Now that’s Responsible Banking!

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