On the evening of Sunday, February 7th, VyStar launched our new Internet & Mobile Banking system and made it available for members to enroll and use. While we had extensively planned, tested and prepared for the launch, things did not go as smoothly as we had planned. We recognize it affected our members—especially those who heavily rely on Internet Banking. We apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this change may have caused you. Our goal is to always provide our members with the best service possible. This is your credit union, and we never want to negatively impact you. We appreciate everyone’s patience during this conversion; we know it has not been easy.
We have been asked a number of questions about why the first few days were particularly challenging. Our members deserve answers, and so we are dedicating a three-part article series to providing our valued members with responses to some of their most frequently asked questions about our new Internet & Mobile Banking rollout. Once a week for the next three weeks, we will be focusing on a new set of questions and covering a wide range of topics relating to the launch. We hope you will find this FAQ series helpful in addressing and easing your concerns.
Today, digital services are more critical than ever in order for consumers to do business and manage their accounts the way they want, when they want. While the previous system was adequate, members were asking for enhancements and new features. Although the previous vendor was working on a few enhancements, they were still not staying current with today’s digital world. Also, while the prior system was safe, the previous vendor was not making sufficient improvements to provide enhanced security, which is needed in the modern digital age. We wanted a system that would provide our members with more flexibility and functions, and superior protection going forward. For these reasons, we made the difficult decision to convert to an entirely new system. Once that decision was made, we spent almost two years evaluating different system options, talking with other institutions that were using our current system and the new systems under consideration, planning, testing, retesting and training. This was a very complex conversion, with many technological interdependencies to consider.
Starting in early December 2015, we announced the upcoming conversion date and time in the VyStar Facts newsletter and on our website. We also mailed letters to each active member who had been enrolled in the previous Internet Banking system, explaining the conversion date and process and what steps members would need to take to re-enroll in the new system. That mailing was followed by a postcard reminder to those members, which also included the temporary password and instructions. In addition, we included pop-up screens inside the old Internet Banking system announcing the impending conversion and how to create the temporary password to re-enroll in the new system. Finally, we sent an e-mail to all members who were actively using our previous mobile banking app—assuming we were provided with the most current e-mail addresses—letting them know about the conversion and how to download the new mobile app and re-enroll in the new system. We used this communication approach because it was important to us to ensure we used multiple methods to communicate the forthcoming conversion and assist our members through this change.
Yes. Throughout the two years prior to the conversion, we planned in considerable detail, reviewed our plans again and made enhancements as needed. We gathered valuable information and advice from vendors and other financial institutions that had already converted to our new system. We also had highly experienced information technology staff available around the clock during and after the conversion to ensure the new system was operating well. In addition, our vendors provided their skilled information technology experts, and they were—and still are—available when we need them. As can be expected with a conversion of this magnitude and complexity, not everything went as smoothly as planned or desired. While we want to have a seamless process for members to access their accounts, the system that enables us to do that is quite complex and involves not just VyStar, but multiple vendors, software and communications processes as well. That is typical of Internet banking and mobile application systems in today’s environment.
Yes. We knew it would be challenging because this was a massive change and more than 260,000 members needed to migrate to the new system. Our plans called for expanded capacity, and we added even more capacity than our vendors projected we might need to be sure we could handle as much volume as possible.
We also hired two outside service providers to help us manage the expected increase in call volume to our Call Center. In addition, we added staff to our Call Center and extended hours of operation. Our 37 branch locations also extended hours to help accommodate the increase if needed. On President’s Day, February 15th, which is a federal holiday, we opened our Call Center to assist members with their questions and needs related to the Internet & Mobile Banking conversion.
However, traffic was even higher than we and our vendors projected based on their experience with similar conversions. So many members needed to call for a variety of reasons that the phone lines were jammed the first couple of days, despite all of our thoughtful and vigilant planning. Adjustments had to be made, and the VyStar team addressed the situation and rectified it. Now, as this FAQ is being written, over 200,000 members have already successfully enrolled and are using the new system. We apologize for the frustration and inconvenience this entire process caused, especially during the first few days.
We never forget that it’s your money.
We invite you to check back next week for the second installment of our three-part Internet & Mobile Banking conversion FAQ, in which we will be answering even more of your crucial questions.