2017 Banking Trend: Universal Associates

universal-associate-01Branch design strategy has shifted dramatically over the past decade and it now takes more than a coat of paint to satisfy the 21st-century client—your members and customers want fast and efficient transactions with personalized service and the latest technologies that make banking more convenient.

It’s now up to Financial Institutions to design their future branches with those conveniences and technology if they want to be the ones that survive and thrive in 2017 (and beyond). The rest? Well, they’ll get left behind.

Universal Associates (UA) has been an up-and-coming trend the past few years, but 2017 is shaping up to be the year that it shifts to a mandatory addition to any branch design project. Smart branches know that UA brings greater efficiency with transactions, more personalized service and reduction in technology costs, and we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of financial institutions (FIs) that are adding it to their branch transformation plans.

If you’ve struggled with the implementation of Universal Associates in the past, you’re not alone. Until recently, the technology that powers open branch designs and UA fell short, giving FIs problems adopting both because cash transactions had to be handled from a teller station.

But, that’s no longer the case.

CFM decided to do something to end the frustrating cycle of bouncing clients from associate to teller by building an in-branch transaction queuing and authentication system. It’s called RTA (Remote Transaction Assist), and it enables the Universal Associates model by allowing ANY associate, loan officer, or teller to access any CDR from anywhere in the branch.

Through RTA, when a cash transaction needs to be processed by someone not adjacent to a device, a staff member simply processes the transaction like anyone else by walking to the most convenient device and entering their Teller ID on a pin pad we supply. Entering that code pulls the transaction down and allows them to complete a dispense or deposit.

Your staff becomes truly “Universal” in the services they can perform, instead of segmented because of their location limitations. Associates can walk away freely from their counter at any time to better assist clients and even complete a deposit or withdrawal from anywhere in the branch.

Using RTA also enables a faster service rate to clients within the lobby and associates get the chance to have relationship building conversations with clients. This means it’s possible to not only deliver a WOW experience and have one staff member handle the entire journey, but your entire branch can be powered with as little as one CDR.

CFM knows that transitioning to Universal Associates can be a big step for any Financial Institution, so we’re hosting a webinar to help anyone thinking about or developing a branch optimization or transformation plan.

On November 3rd, we’re hosting “Rise of the Universal Associate and Self-Service Machines: Strategies to Conquer Branch Transformation Initiatives” and we welcome you to join the conversation. Register right here for the webinar and make sure your branch thrives in 2017.

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