With over 61,000 members, St. Louis Community Credit Union (SLCCU) serves residents of St. Louis City and those of Franklin, St. Louis and St. Charles counties in Missouri; as well as St. Clair, Madison, Monroe, and Jersey counties in Illinois. SLCCU is a low-income designated credit union and one of the largest minority depository institutions in the country (per the National Credit Union Administration). We spoke with Craig Reno, SVP & CIO, about the projects he focused on in 2021.
Tell us about your role in the credit union.
Reno: I came to the credit union back in 2013. It’s kind of a switch in terms of the domain in which I had worked. I went from manufacturing and durables to banking and financials. My line of responsibility is basically all things technology. I participate in a number of other organizational roles in the credit union as well, such as vendor management. Then COVID-19 came along and thrust us into a digital mindset. This past year, we were hyper-focused on our digital offerings for membership. We set up our digital platform for services with AccessSoftek software,, and now we are adding new features.
What are some of the implementations you have been working on?
Reno: This past year, we introduced remote deposit capture for online accounts, online loan payments and online person-to-person payments. We are set on the path of the pillars of digital — member services to member products, operational efficiency, as well as business intelligence and analytics. There’s a lot of integration in our world. We’re constantly on the lookout for those things that fit. It’s generally drawn from existing relationships with our core partners, because it saves us from having to reinvent the wheel. At a future stage, we’d like to partner with a Fintech startup.
What tech do you use?
Reno: Generally, we use Jack Henry banking software and access optics, like the digital platform AccessSoftek.
How big is your team right now?
Reno: I’ve got a hybrid environment. That was done by design when I first came to the credit union. So, I’ve continued to look for others to help us on the outside. In my core team, I’ve got basically four people in-house that do all of the business app support. We use outside firms for all of our desktop server data center support, another firm for networking, and two other firms for cybersecurity. As a community credit union, we’ve got almost 200 employees and about 15 branches, so we do quite a bit with that small group of four.
What skills and programming languages do you depend on?
Reno: A lot of our work is in the Microsoft environment. We don’t do a lot of in-house development, so mostly SQL at this point. Generally, we try to stay away from customization.
What were your biggest wins in 2021?
Reno: Our biggest wins were with the introduction of remote deposit and online account openings. We’re trying to grow that for net membership. We’re also implementing a new loan origination system now with an April  go-live date. Everything we’re doing in our digital domain is really where we’re making our best improvements and getting the best bang for the buck. We’re looking at technology around texting as another support channel. We’re working on other methods of communication for confirmation of deposits.
Another thing that we’re hyper-focused on is the digital pillar of employee operational efficiency and employee experience. We’re doing more with single sign-on technologies. In late 2020, we hired a management firm to work with us to study our potential member growth. We’re looking at how we do something in five steps if it normally takes 10. That’s not so much a technology exercise, but it’s really championed by myself and my group. That’s because my group knows how to take something apart, and look at it analytically like that.
Is the customer base responding favorably?
Reno: Yes, it’s been a surge to the digital platform. We’ve certainly seen a very big shift in our members using the digital platform during the pandemic. We’re seeing more account openings happening online that we didn’t have before, because of the convenience factor. People don’t want to do business in person if they don’t have to. We know with some certainty that about 60% of our membership is using the digital apps. We’re looking at other options, particularly with voice, particularly for our older population.