For three Dolphin Debit credit union clients, ATMs have proven to be incredibly valuable during the Covid-19 pandemic, from the early days of the tightest lockdowns and severely limited branch access to the current environment, in which many members still remain more comfortable with contact-free transactions.

The ATMs, coupled with mobile and online banking, helped these credit unions and their members deal with the disruption and upheaval. And because they are Dolphin Debit clients, all the ATM maintenance and care was handled without any need to involve their staff, many of whom were restricted to working from home.

One of those credit unions is Community Choice Credit Union, a $1.36 billion credit union with nearly 106,000 members and 21 branches across the state of Michigan.

Susan Setera, AVP of Business Systems at Community Choice CU, said ATMs were vital because they “provided uninterrupted access to cash withdrawals and cash and check deposits” during the most challenging times of the pandemic.

“ATMs were very important, especially during times when we had to close our member center lobbies,” Setera said. “Our members needed access to their cash or to deposit cash or checks to their accounts. The ATMs provided them this option, and we promoted them as a safe and convenient alternative in all of our pandemic communications.”

Setera did say the credit union saw an increase in ATM transactions, adding that “we were surprised at the volume of cash deposits made.” She added that making sure the machines are available and operational at all times is a high priority for Community Choice CU.

That is where Dolphin Debit’s proactive monitoring and maintenance is so important, with problems typically spotted before a credit union even receives the first member complaint.

Pathways Financial Credit Union, based in Columbus, Ohio, is a $486 million institution with nearly 41,000 members and 14 branches across central Ohio.

“Throughout the pandemic we have encouraged members to utilize our ATMs to avoid having to come into a branch,” said CEO Michael Shafer. “Furthermore, we have been forced to temporarily close a number of our branch lobbies and our branch ATMs have proven to be a critical tool in helping ensure that our members have access to cash.”

Shafer added, “I cannot overemphasize the importance of having a reliable fleet of ATMs for members to use. It is essential that members are confident they can access their money anytime they need it.”

Pathways Financial CU has seen a year-over-year increase in ATM transactions at branches since the pandemic dislocation began, Shafer noted.

The same is true for United Credit Union, based in Mexico, Missouri. United is a $212 million credit union with more than 25,000 members and six branches.

“ATMs have definitely been a great asset during the pandemic, offering much needed increased accessibility during times when our lobbies were closed,” said Heather DeMint, Vice President of Operations. “We were fortunate to not have our lobbies closed as long as some other FI’s did, but even if we were open ATMs provided those who were uncomfortable with face-to-face interaction another alternative.”

At one point shortly after the first wave of the pandemic hit, United Credit Union deployed a mobile branch with a Dolphin Debit ATM in the credit union’s main office parking lot on busier days to provide another access point for members, DeMint added.

These three credit unions and the many other Dolphin Debit clients who have recognized the value of outsourcing their ATM management had the peace of mind during the pandemic that their ATM fleets would be available around the clock and operating properly for their members. It was one less management burden they needed to deal with as they scrambled to cope with the fallout from the arrival of the pandemic.

For many credit unions who weren’t already Dolphin Debit clients, the pandemic served as a wakeup call, convincing them that it was time to move away from managing their own ATMs and turn to a trusted partner. They are now becoming our newest clients.