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InTouch Credit Union’s Show and Tell: An ITM Success Story
Monday, July 3, 2017 7:00 AM

InTouch ITM

At InTouch Credit Union, a "vision of the future" has become the way of the past. But this Plano, Texas-based credit union is altering its business model to reflect a new vision, and Catalyst Corporate is partnering with them to make it happen.

“Twelve years ago, we developed a mission statement that revolved around high touch, personalized service,” said Diane Gerstner, executive vice president of InTouch. “But now it’s time to focus on the combination of digital and personal delivery. This enables us to provide a standard of care and service that our members have come to expect.”

According to Gerstner and her team, members really crave the ability to choose between personalized service and self-service. Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) offer both. These machines allow credit union staff to assist members in a branch without physically being in the branch. ITMs use video screens, virtual keyboard (chat), private handheld phones, and a number of other technological advancements to connect safely with users who want person-to-person interaction. But they also allow for a more traditional self-service approach for users who don’t need the interaction with a live person.

“When designing a new business model, we wanted to provide that same level of concierge-style service our members have come to expect,” said Gerstner. “But financially, we couldn’t continue to add to branch staff. In looking at alternatives, we knew we needed to move to image-enabled ATMs to meet technology and member demands. Integrating ITMs was a great opportunity to do that and a more cost-effective method than basic ATMs.”

By the end of June 2018, InTouch, which operates in five states, aims to have over 50 ITMs in drive-thrus and branch lobbies. Currently, they have five ITMs installed at branches in Texas, Virginia, and Michigan.

“Personal financial assistants (PFAs) work in one of our call centers, either in Plano or Las Vegas, and assist members with services from loan applications to remote deposits,” said Gerstner. “One PFA can service up to three ITMs.”

With ITMs, members can complete any typically offered financial service, aside from buying a cashier’s check or issuing an instant-issue debit card, she added.

InTouch uses Catalyst Corporate’s ITM Capture service to enable remote deposit services through these machines. As part of the TranzCapture suite of remote deposit services, ITM Capture helps credit unions automate deposits, reducing manual processes and improving accuracy—all through one engine.

“We’ve been an active member of Catalyst Corporate for years,” said Gerstner. “This relationship is a long, well-proven and healthy relationship. In fact, I’ve never been affiliated with an organization more willing to help find solutions. Their first approach is always, ‘Let’s figure this out.’”

And, when it came time to begin ITM installations at InTouch, that attribute came in handy. “We threw Catalyst a curve halfway through the project,” said Gerstner.

Instead of routing images from their ATMs/ITMs through the software and server provided by the machine’s manufacturer and then further routed to Catalyst Corporate, InTouch decided to cut out the middleman.

“For us, it was about half the expense to go directly through Catalyst Corporate,” she said. “But, we were literally halfway into the plan when, out of the blue, we were told by the machine’s manufacturer that the software stack running the ATM is different than the ITM software stack.”

Simply put, the lines of code that recognize the financial institution’s information are not the same for an ITM as they are for an ATM.

“We all collectively gasped at the same time, thinking, ‘We’re close to rolling out," Gerstner said. "There’s no time to backtrack. What are we going to do?’”

“The Catalyst Corporate team stepped right up and said, ‘This is news. We need to have a conversation about what isn’t coming over, and we need to find a way to get it to come over,’” she said.

In about 40 days, Catalyst Corporate was able to rewrite the code and establish a direct transmission path from the ATMs and ITMs directly to Catalyst Corporate’s server. Everything was complete and tested the day before InTouch went live. Additionally, Catalyst Corporate’s RDS team found a way to enable shared branch transactions.

“The Catalyst team was remarkable,” said Gerstner. “They really saved our skin!”

Gerstner sees ITMs as the way of the future, but she notes that before bringing ITMs into a credit union’s business model, credit unions should keep a few things in mind.

“Be adaptable and flexible, because no one shop is doing it the same,” she said. “Decide what you want your ITM service to look like, and ask a lot of questions.”

She adds: “Know your level and tolerance for risk before going down this path. If you’re going to use an ITM as a glorified ATM, this might not be the right path. But if you’re going to take on some of the risk, because you can see some of the savings on the flip side, then this is the right path.”

In addition to ITM Capture, Catalyst Corporate’s TranzCapture suite includes branch, teller, ATM, business, and mobile capture. For more information on any of these services, email or call 800-442-5763, option 5.