WEOKIE FCU SWIVELs to a Unified Transaction Enablement Platform (2024)

By Roy Urrico

WEOKIE FCU SWIVELs to a Unified Transaction Enablement Platform (1)

Three years ago, WEOKIE Federal Credit Union began implementing the SWIVEL Transaction Enablement Platform, which provides multiple payment channels through a single platform.This allowed the $1.5 billion Oklahoma City-based credit union to eliminate many of the manual payments processes, automate payment posting to the core and significantly reduce call center volume and queues.

WEOKIE FCU SWIVELs to a Unified Transaction Enablement Platform (2)

“We were looking to kind of unify everything and from a member experience standpoint to be easier to pay and just provide this pleasant overall experience for our members,” Andy McMahan, vice president member payment solutions, WEOKIE FCU, told Finopotamus. The credit union serves about 64,000 members through 13 branches.

The San Antonio, Texas-based SWIVEL, , an SWBC company, features integrated transaction enablement solutions designed to help credit unions remove friction for account holders and mitigate risks when moving funds in digital channels.

WEOKIE FCU SWIVELs to a Unified Transaction Enablement Platform (3)

“SWIVEL is what you would consider an omnichannel solution. We are a cloud-hosted software-as-a service (SaaS) solution,” Amy Orosco, director of customer success and implementations at SWIVEL, explained to Finopotamus.

WEOKIE Recognizes Payment Challenges

Before leveraging SWIVEL’s payment solution, WEOKIE FCU‘s transaction capabilities were siloed. The reason, McMahan explained, was the credit union could not find an end-to-end payments solution that covered the entire membership with online, Interactive voice response (IVR), and in person options.

The credit union, which began in 1969 when Western Electric of Oklahoma employees founded WEOKIE (WE = Western Electric, OKIE = Oklahoma), had separate providers to handle credit card phone payments, web payments, and another to facilitate check-by-phone transactions. Not only was it difficult managing multiple relationships, McMahan noted, but each service did not work integrate well together, producing fragmented experiences for staff and members alike.

To create a more cohesive experience for members and eliminate the administrative struggles of interfacing with multiple vendors, WEOKIE needed a single provider that offered payment flexibility for members, reduced manual processes for staff, and the technology to back it all up.

WEOKIE had a prior relationship with SWBC, SWIVEL’s parent company, through other products. When SWIVEL, then SWBC Payments, LLC, launched its transaction enablement platform, McMahan knew it would be the right choice for his institution. “Before joining the SWIVEL platform, it was just a really cumbersome experience for our members. SWIVEL was the one that that kind of unified it the best, to give us all those options, to provide kind of that dynamic experience for our members,” he said.

“It is just easier to navigate. (SWIVEL) came with same-day posting, which we had never had. it (previously) was a manual process for us with our previous provider,” McMahan said. “Each one was a manual transaction that we had to do on the back end, which caused errors, and gave us some member friction when we would have to correct.”

Rolling Out Success

In January 2021, WEOKIE began implementing SWIVEL’s payment channels, starting with phone payments, which enabled automatic posting to the credit union’s Fiserv DNA core. “We transitioned into live agent first,” said McMahan. “Just payments over the phone. that combined our card payments, our ACH payments all into one platform. A much better experience for the member and our employees.” (Live agent involves an actual agent of the financial institutions that takes calls and payments. By getting a borrower to self-serve, it reduces the call workload on the live agent, and potentially costs as well.)

As other contracts ended with WEOKIE’s previous business partners, the credit union phased in web payments and IVR to deliver the seamless payment experience they were after. Orosco confirmed the credit union launched SWIVEL with live agent only, and from there “bolted on the self-service, solutions.” She pointed out October 2021 was “The first month we really started to see some transactions come through from WEOKIE.”

Orosco added, from October2021 to October 2022, “Year-over-year growth was 139%. And in that timeframe, when they started processing self-service transactions, the self-service transactions accounted for 15% of all of the transactions.” But just a few months later – November, December, January of 2023 –self-service transactions accounted for 40% of all transactions. “So, they quickly ramped up on the self-service channels.”

Improving Channels

WEOKIE noticed SWIVEL successfully removed many obstacles members previously had when executing loan or share payment transactions. McMahan said the credit union saw a noticeable spike in web and IVR volume compared to the usage they expected from their previous providers.

After implementation, tangible results and benefits include:

  • WEOKIE FCU saw an opportunity to free up call queues and improve member convenience by making the payment option more apparent in their contact center phone menu. About a third of WEOKIE’s members still use IVR to handle their payment needs. Now more than a 1,000 calls per month rout through to IVR for self-serve payments.

  • Prior to SWIVEL, posting payments to their core involved manual data entry and general ledger issues. To process payments, WEOKIE employees had to log into a web portal, enter member credit card information for each payment, submit transaction activity to the core, and wait for it to clear. The process was time-consuming and caused balancing issues at the end of each month due to wait times. SWIVEL’s Transaction Enablement Platform now allows WEOKIE to post payments to their core automatically and immediately, saving time and eliminating errors.

  • Accepting multiple payment methods and offering the ability to link external bank accounts reduces barriers that members may find frustrating.

“The biggest thing for us from a strategic perspective is to change lives in our communities one person at a time by being the best place our employees have ever worked, (and) our members have ever banked,” McMahan said. He added, “So for us to offer this range of products that we can with SWIVEL and these options for members, that's a very big deliver to our membership.”

Enable Easier Payments

WEOKIE FCU SWIVELs to a Unified Transaction Enablement Platform (4)

SWIVEL has several integration capabilities to deploy with partners or fintechs, noted Orosco. “We have APIs (application programming interfaces) that we can offer fintechs or credit unions who have their proprietary solutions. We also have software development kits (SDKs), depending on what the need is.”

For core integration, SWIVEL has the Connect2Core interface that allows direct integration with Corelation, Fiserv and Symitar cores. In addition, they offer a core agnostic solution, which can integrate with any other core by leveraging APIs.

“When we talk about SWIVEL as a company, you'll notice that we really lean in on the concept of transaction enablement platform,” stated Orosco. “Which is more than just a payment or payment submission (platform).”

Then there is the fraud element. “With money moving, data moving, there's a pretty significant risk level,” noted Orosco. “We have an entire team concentrated on mitigating risk through different products and services, but also looking at proactively looking across the transaction activity across all of our 800-plus clients and calling out any sort of unusual activity. We are coming to our clients in a consultative manner rather than in a reactive manner.

Orosco also pointed out that SWIVEL’s continuously looking to improve the user experience. “There is an engagement aspect to transaction enablement where we are studying the habits of our users across our platforms and continuously improving those experiences. That is a huge part of transacting.”

SWIVEL’s goal as a transaction enablement partner is to help financial institutions empower those members or customers to self-service as it relates to payment transactions, said Orosco. “The modern-day payment experience is self-service. It is intuitive, it is easy and it is fast. And so, the self-service channels that SWIVEL provides aim to achieve just that.”

“We pride ourselves in being able to provide a great self-service solution so that our partners, like WEOKIE, can provide a differentiated experience for those users willing to do that,” Orosco continued. “And less time taken away from live agents processing that payment; they can use that extra time for empathic conversation.”

WEOKIE FCU SWIVELs to a Unified Transaction Enablement Platform (2024)
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