Centris Federal Credit Union believes serving underserved consumers doesn’t just make good business sense, but is integral to its heritage and mission. Established in Omaha, Neb., in 1934 by telephone company employees whose needs were not being met by other financial institutions, the credit union stays true to the principles of its founders.
But the 79-year-old institution has not been immune to the challenges other financial companies have faced in trying to figure out how best to serve today’s underserved consumers—a group that is large, varied and growing every day. Serving the underserved requires management support and board backing, but also a willingness to engage in non-traditional thinking and accept change. These are lessons Centris gleaned from participating in the Center for Financial Services Innovation’s Underbanked Solutions Exchange, an industry network for smaller financial institutions looking to develop profitable, high-quality products for the underserved.
In June 2012, the credit union launched Centris Express as its solution to the problem of how to reach and better serve underserved consumers. Centris Express offers users a complete suite of products and services through a bank-in-a-box kiosk powered by Nexxo Financial Corp. Set up in eight locations around Omaha, in both Centris branches and grocery stores, as well as in a specially designed Express Money Center adjacent to a branch, Centris Express enables customers to cash checks, buy money orders, transfer money, pay bills, buy cellphone minutes, and reload prepaid cards, all with the touch of a few buttons. The kiosks integrate with the credit union’s backend processes, so users can make deposits and withdrawals from Centris checking and savings accounts.
Centris: Using Technology to Build Relationships
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