SC Telco Federal Credit Union recently held its annual meeting, an event where the Board of Directors, the credit union leadership, and members get together to review the progress we made the previous year and set the direction for years to come. All members are a vital part of our organization, and we deeply value your insights and feedback during this process.
In case you were unable to attend this year’s meeting, we’ve included a video of the event along with a transcription of the Q&A portion of the evening.
- What new things can we expect from the CU in the upcoming year?
As you read in Steve Harkins comments, last year we introduced a lot of new technology. We introduced My Mobile Money, where you can use your smartphone to turn your card on and off, we introduced our MONEYLINK Mobile Deposit Capture. This year will be less about new product delivery and more focused on financial education. We take our duty as a financial cooperative very seriously and we know that improving the financial lives of our members involves more than just products and services–it’s about understanding how to manage money and manage money effectively. I’m going to ask Andrea Finley to stand up for just a moment. We created a brand new position this year, a Financial Literacy Coordinator and this is a face we hope you get to know this year. We created this position to recognize the importance of financial education. She is going to be creating programs, online and in person that will allow us to improve financial lives beyond products and services. The programs will range from how to improve your credit to what you need to know about retirement and when the right time is to be thinking about retirement–hint, now is the time! That will be the theme for this year, from “move to mobile” and financial education.
- How do you expect interest rates to affect loans and deposits this year?
Certainly, if you have been watching, you have seen that the Federal Reserve has raised rates several times in the last few months. As a credit union, we typically keep our pricing a little higher than market on the deposit side and lower on the loan side. Certainly, as you see the Federal Reserve raise rates, you will see market deposit rates go up so your deposit rates will also go up. You’ll also see that mortgage rates will go up over time. We have seen historically low mortgage rates, but those will be going up. Don’t expect the market to explode and change immediately. Interest rate effect normally happens pretty slowly over time.
From a board standpoint, the board approves both the loan and deposit rates for the credit union every month. And remember, as your board, we are also members and we have money at the credit union and we take out loans so we have a great interest in not only being competitive but doing the best we can. I know we all want to make 7-9% on our CDs and have a loan for 1-2% on a car but that won’t happen. One thing you can count on as your member advocates is we will look out for you to be sure we are competitive and continue to give you the best rates we can.
- Who is Moxie?
If you’ve seen our website recently or the Checkpoint Magazine in your chair, you’ll notice our new spokesperson, Moxie. Moxie is a little different. She is what I would call a straight-talking, in your face version of your credit union. She wants to ask why you’re still driving to your credit union when you can deposit that check remotely. Moxie wants to challenge what we do and she’s here to remind the banks that we’re here for everybody and we’re not going away. Credit unions are very relevant in today’s market. You’re going to see a lot more about Moxie. If you want to know a little about Moxie, check out your Checkpoint Magazine. If you want to know a lot about Moxie, check out our website and go to Meet Moxie where there’s a whole page that explains exactly who she is and even her likes and dislikes. You will see a lot more from Moxie both online, in print and possibly on television as well. So, Moxie is our new spokesperson. Please go online and meet her and I think you’ll be very impressed with what you see.
- Will SC Telco be expanding branch locations in the future?
The long-term answer is yes. The short-term answer is there are no immediate plans to do so. Steve mentioned a few minutes ago in his remarks that we are always looking at our branch locations to make sure we are in the right branch locations to try and determine that they’re in the right markets and locations. One thing I will remind you of, if you are not in a location where there is an SC Telco location is we are a member of the CO-OP Shared Branching network. If you don’t know what that is, please go to our website and you’ll see there are thousands of locations all across the US and many here in South Carolina, where you can walk in and conduct business just like you were in one of our branches. You can make deposits, loan payments and even cash withdrawals. So we are looking at our branch locations but another thing we are doing this year is trying to improve the number of services and experiences you can have on our website. We plan to implement much more that will allow you to do more from the comfort of your own home. We know that we live in a society of Zappos, Amazon and Apple where things are happening very quickly and a lot of the time from our couch or kitchen table or early on a Saturday morning. In addition to branch locations, we are looking for ways to improve that online experience. How do we give you all the ability to conduct more business online, through your phone, your laptop through text banking, etc. So we will not have a new branch opening this year but certainly as we look at our branch network, it’s safe to say that at some point in the future we will be looking at additional locations.
This year, in our 2019 to 2021 strategic planning we are, as always, looking at where we are. Something all of us understand is you don’t just say it would be good to have a branch on the northside and go out and build one. You just don’t do that. If it’s brick and mortar that means there’s a lot of budgetary items, as well as, many studies that have to be done to make sure it is the right location and that it serves the maximum number of our members. That is a process, that is gone through rather than just a decision that is made. We do, as always, have that in mind.
- How does remote check deposit work?
MONEYLINK Mobile deposit is very simple. It’s all inside your mobile app (mobile banking). In the app, you lay your check on a flat surface, take a picture of the front, take a picture of the back and enter the amount. Those funds are usually in your account later that day or first thing in the morning. It’s really simple and convenient compared to waiting in line. There is a great demo video on our website if you want more information on how to do it. It will walk you through how to deposit a check. It takes less than two minutes and you don’t have to mail the check in or do anything else with the check. It’s turned into a picture and we take care of the rest on our end. From a member standpoint, we encourage you to give it a try.
- Do you have any advice for us after the Experian breach? Do we have any identity theft products available to us?
The breach that happened with Equifax was a matter of time. With the amount of information they have and as smart as cyber criminals can be these days, sometimes it’s a matter of when not if these things are going to happen. Like most breaches this one occurred because someone didn’t do what they were supposed to do on the Equifax side. However that doesn’t solve our problem when things happen. The short answer is yes, we do have identity theft products available as part of our Rewards Checking program we offer a product called ID Protect. That program monitors your credit, all three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion and will send you an alert. For example, if I am enrolled in the program and if Steve goes and tries to get a loan in my name (which he certainly wouldn’t do, I know), it will alert me and say you had an inquiry at SC Telco, did you do that? I can say yes or no. It will also send me an email every month where it will tell me I had no activity on my credit (hopefully). It will protect you from that. There are also additional protections in there where if you do have your identity stolen, ID Protect will help you through the process, rectifying that. If you have ever been through having your identity stolen, you know it can take a long time to fix that and is very cumbersome for the person that had their identity stolen. We have partners who will help you through that process with ID Protect. If you go on our website there is a ton of information out there and you can read up on our Rewards Checking and our ID Protect program. I would encourage you to do that as well as visit annualcreditreport.com to get a copy of your credit report. Do not go to freecreditreport.com. It is not free. On annualcreditreport.com you can see “are all these the loans I have or is this something I don’t recognize”? If there is anything you do not recognize you need to contact those credit bureaus immediately. There are easy ways to do that including 800 numbers and website. Let them know you did not authorize the activity. So the things I’d like to encourage you to do, check out ID Protect because we do offer those services to our members, and go to annualcreditreport.com and make sure that there is nothing new right now. I know there was a question up here previously about My Mobile Money. That’s the other thing you can do, go to the My Mobile Money app and enroll your debit card because then you can get alerts any time your debit card is used. You can set a limit, if this is used for more than $100 I want to know about it. Alerts right now are the best way to monitor your credit and your accounts.
- Will SC Telco get to the place where we can make deposits via the ATM?
No, there is no immediate plans to do that. I’ll caveat that, we in our Verdae office, we have a kiosk that allows different transactions such as that. But as the future progresses with ATMs and other forms of technology, we are not sure if cash is going to be a huge part of our society in the next 5-10 years. I don’t know. We are always evaluating our ATM network and branches but at this point there is no immediate plans to allow cash deposits in our ATMs.
- When will we be able to open accounts and loans online?
The answer is later this year. One of the things we are working on is our online experience and trying to improve that experience. Part of that is allowing you the ability to open deposit accounts and open loans fully online. That will be later this year. Right now you can go on and apply but once you get to the part of signing the document or closing the loan, a lot of that happens at the branch. So later on this year we will have that fully online. Our hope is to provide you with a frictionless experience through starting a loan application all the way through getting the loan funding and getting that car or whatever that loan is for. All of that will be happening later this year. You can rest assured when that happens we are going to tell you all about it. We are excited to be working on that and hope you all will be excited to use it as well.