Bringing Zelle® to Credit Unions and Community Banks
As I go to various meetings and conferences, I’m asked about how Zelle® works with credit unions and community banks. I tell them Zelle is designed to be a payments network for financial institutions of all sizes. The beauty of the network is that the more people who have access to Zelle, the more they’ll become aware of this alternative to cash and checks, and educated about how to use it. Already, millions of consumers are sending and receiving money fast and easy with Zelle. Customers of about 5,400 financial institutions are using the Zelle Network®, whether it’s through their financial institution’s mobile banking app, or by registering their debit cards in the Zelle mobile app.
Technology’s changing the way people bank, and to keep up with the pace of change, credit unions and community banks are investing in upgrades to their systems to meet consumer demand. That requires a lot of work but will help build out technology for future digital programs.
To help credit unions and community banks onboard with Zelle, we work with reseller partners including CO-OP, FIS, Fiserv and Jack Henry & Associates. We’ve also engaged tech companies to explore what role they can play in easing implementation complexity and speeding up onboarding times.
I sat down with Jeff McCrory, Director, Product Marketing at Fiserv to learn more about how Fiserv works with financial institutions and why so many are joining the Zelle Network.
Ian: Thanks for sitting down to chat with me, Jeff. First, tell me what you’re hearing. Why are credit unions and community banks signing on with Zelle?
Jeff: Zelle provides a path for credit unions and community banks to offer services that align to the digital way consumers live their lives today. Zelle can better connect consumers to their financial institutions, allowing the financial institution to stay relevant in their customers’ day-to-day lives.
Zelle is also about driving consumers toward their financial institution and away from third-party applications that 1) separate banks and credit unions from consumers, 2) take control of the user experience, and 3) disintermediate customer relationships. Offering innovative capabilities like Zelle allows financial institutions to maintain their role as the “go to” providers of money movement.
Ian: Today’s consumer goes where there’s value – and they’re finding value in lots of new places. What value are you hearing P2P payments bring to consumers?
Jeff: P2P payments are all about speed, ease, and convenience. According to the Expectations & Experiences consumer trends survey from Fiserv, seventy-six percent (76%) of consumers believe payment delivery in real time is somewhat to very important. Community banks and credit unions can improve the customer experience with payments via Zelle.
With approximately 100,000 people enrolling in Zelle every day, consumers have made a strong statement that Zelle provides what they want.
Ian: Why should community banks or credit unions get on board?
Jeff: Consumers intuitively turn to their financial institutions when they need to send money. However, if a community bank or credit union does not offer P2P payments via its online or mobile channel, consumers are forced to look for other options. Zelle offers an opportunity for all financial institutions to be part of the P2P payments community and to benefit from a visible, reliable and well-marketed solution.
Offering P2P payments is another way for community banks and credit unions to stay connected to their customers and members. Also, consumers want it all—convenience, relevance and experiences that combine the latest in digital banking with human interaction. Offering Zelle demonstrates to consumers that their FI is innovative and focused on meeting their needs regardless of demographics.
Ian: How does offering Zelle offer tangible value to community banks and credit unions?
Jeff: Check processing is estimated to cost anywhere from $5.91 and up per check. Zelle transactions cost a fraction of that. Postage, bank fees, error handling, back-office labor, reissuance, customer service, tracking, and reconciliation all weigh into the picture. Moving even a small percentage of checks to digital P2P payment transactions can reap rewards.
There are also benefits in terms of retaining and growing a member and customer base and driving engagement and cross sell-opportunities because P2P payment users can stay in their financial institutions’ mobile app instead of going elsewhere for the same capability. We encourage credit unions and community banks to talk to us about the cost/benefit analysis associated with Zelle. Fiserv provides a turnkey solution covering the four key components of Zelle: real-time messaging, real-time fraud monitoring, digital enablement and data contribution.
Ian: Ok, so what should community banks or credit unions expect when onboarding Zelle with Fiserv?
Jeff: Financial institutions should expect an engaged Fiserv team, and a partner that has successfully navigated the Zelle onboarding process many times. Fiserv will guide a community bank or credit union through the Zelle onboarding process, we’ll do the heavy lifting, and will provide expertise and guidance throughout the process.
Ian: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Jeff. Good stuff here.