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Credit Union Journal Article - Best Practices 2010


Telling On Tellers

Credit Union Journal  |  Monday, November 29, 2010

SUNRISE, Fla.-Tracking the number of transactions each teller handles per hour and publishing the data for staff to see has helped one CU save $17,000 annually in salaries and reduce full-time teller staff by six.

In 2008, the $68-million PriorityONE CU of Florida employed Financial Management Solutions, Inc.'s (FMSI) Teller Management System (TMS) to increase efficiency. "Like credit unions across the nation everyone wants to reduce expenses," said EVP Kelly McConnell. "We knew we needed to look at how our tellers were handling branch transactions, and figure out how many transactions per hour tellers were performing." 

TMS evaluates teller performance using transaction data from the CU's host processor sent to FMSI, along with information on each teller, including hours worked and salary. "FMSI crunches the numbers and sends us a detailed report," said McConnell.

PriortyONE learned tellers were averaging 13.5 transactions per hour, and much fewer in the early morning and late evening hours. That data helped the $70-million CU make decisions about staffing and hours with confidence, McConnell said. For example, PriorityONE reduced operating hours at all three branches by one hour a day, and also increased its use of part-time personnel.

"We had a gut feeling we were overstaffed," said McConnell, noting staff has been reduced through attrition. We reduced full-time tellers from nine to three, and added three part-time tellers to cover peak hours. "We had not been very efficient, and the data showed us that."

Over time, the system helped bring transactions per teller up significantly, to 18 per hour. Primarily, the improvement was achieved by generating "healthy competition" through posting monthly transaction data so the entire teller staff can see how they are performing individually and how they stack up against the rest of the front-line team.

"Posting the data, we feel, is extremely important," said McConnell. "It motivates employees. Most want to be the best, or at least, perform at a certain level." It also lets staff know what level not to drop below, he added. Incentives play a role, as well. Each month the teller who averages the most transactions per hour receives $25. Branch managers, too, help tellers set realistic goals "We want tellers to get better, not frustrated," said McConnell. "Therefore the goal you set is important, you want to make it something that is achievable."

The ability to track teller performance also sets goals for the entire credit union, shared McConnell. After employing TMS, PriorityONE eventually moved from the 67th percentile among FMSI CUs to 35th percentile. "We previously had no way of comparing our performance. By FMSI publishing (among their clients) monthly client performance rankings, it helps us set and achieve our own goals."

See original article here.