While surveying the surroundings of their downtown location at One Shell Square in New Orleans, the leadership of Xplore FCU saw rising real estate costs and unutilized space affecting the branch's efficiency. With strategic thinking and an eye toward the future, they were able to turn that challenge into a great business opportunity by transforming their branch design and service model, and implementing cash automation.
Xplore decided to move out of that location and into a smaller space that was available on the first floor of One Shell Square. This smaller footprint provided the opportunity to implement a new open environment design featuring their first fully automated branch and universal banker model. The goal was to create a space that not only looked great but one that was designed to improve efficiency that could be reflected in ROI metrics. Xplore selected the CIMA 7000 as their cash recycler and installed two of the machines in the branch.
“Our goal was to streamline the transactional side of the branch with cash recyclers and create a ‘One Stop’ interaction for our members so once they entered the branch, any of our staff could assist them with their financial needs,” said Bobbi Bush, SVP of Operations.
She continued, “The open environment has really made this possible and the cash recycler supports our universal banker model. Because all the cash handling is automated with the recycler, our staff can really engage with each member to deepen the relationship, build trust and offer them the best products to fit their needs and lifestyle.”
Xplore members, new and existing, have given rave reviews to the branch design and the one stop service model. Some even gave the feedback that they appreciated the increased security that the cash recycler provides for the staff.
“The cash recycler has allowed us to not only improve operational efficiencies, but also morale. Our employees are so pleased with how quickly they can end their day because they don’t have to count down cash drawers or worry about balancing. The recyclers have also enabled us to really improve time management so our staff can now spend their time performing critical activities and focusing on our members,” added Xplore FCU CEO Rafael Rondon.
Rafael Rondon, CEO, Xplore FCU
During his career, Rondon has worked in financial institutions of all sizes and says that cash automation is relevant no matter the size of the institution because of the compounding, measurable savings the recycler helps create. He says it is so easy to validate the investment when looking at the cost savings multiplied year over year at one or multiple branches. They have been able to transfer one employee position to another branch creating a 20% increase in efficiency.
Rondon and Bush both agree on the success the branch is experiencing. “We are so pleased with the new branch design and automation of the transactional process. The recyclers provide a real enhancement to our efficiencies and member service.”
“We had a really short timeline to get the new branch up and running and knew in order to meet our deadline we had to carefully pick our partner. We chose QDS because they showed a genuine interest in understanding and providing exactly what we needed and reassured me throughout the process that our timeframe would be met,” Bush said.
She added, “We also can’t say enough about our trainer, Nate Sapoch. He brought so much credibility to the process because of his background as a head teller. He was so well prepared for all the questions our team asked and was patient throughout the training to make sure we all felt comfortable with the machine.”
When QDS met with Xplore, they wanted to be transparent and told the team they may still have to maintain a small cash drawer to hold any rejected notes. But Rondon and Bush both say that the CIMA recycler has been performing optimally and they have not had any issues with rejected notes.
Other Xplore employees visiting the new branch see firsthand how well the recyclers work and are hoping to have them installed in their other existing locations soon. Xplore has plans to grow their physical presence and wants to use this branch concept moving forward as they continue to evaluate ways to make improvements in offering the best experience for their members.
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