Fintech Update: Biometric Enablement, Homebuying Help & Disaster Planning | Credit Union Times

Some recent financial technology announcements include palm vein authentication solutions at a Pennsylvania credit union, a homebuying platform at a Missouri credit union and disaster-recovery testing at a Michigan CUSO.

The Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv, Inc. announced the $627 million, Chalfont, Pa.-based Merck Sharp & Dohme Federal Credit Union is utilizing a suite of palm vein authentication solutions and, according to Fiserv, is among some of the first financial institutions in the country to adopt biometric technology to this extent.

Merck Sharp & Dohme is utilizing three Verifast biometric authentication solutions from Fiserv, including Verifast Branch for member authentication and Verifast SSO to authenticate its employees across its internal computer systems. It is also the first institution to implement Verifast Access, a system of building-wide, stationary palm scanning devices that replace traditional building access fobs and keycards with convenient, highly secure biometric technology.

“Many of our members have spent their careers in STEM fields and have a natural appreciation for technology,” Dave Whitehead, president/CEO for Merck Sharp & Dohme, which serves nearly 30,000 employees and contractors of Merck & Company Inc., said. “Verifast delivers a rare combination of speed and security that facilitates an excellent experience for our members and employees. I use Verifast daily – it’s simple, it’s smart and we’re proud to be an industry leader in biometrics thanks to what we’ve built with Fiserv.”

“Building access is a big-ticket item in facilities management,” Dave Shannen, facility manager for Merck Sharp & Dohme, said. “The introduction of Verifast Access has been transformational for my workflow and for our staff. We don’t have to manage lost or temporary fobs and can easily facilitate differing levels and terms of access for staff and visitors alike.”

“Any change at the credit union requires careful planning and time,” Pat Kreidler, vice president of operations for Merck Sharp & Dohme, said. “Our marketing team has promoted Verifast with contests, signage and outreach since the start – our members and frontline staff have really embraced it. In particular, the retired professionals that frequent our branches have quickly adopted the technology and appreciate the convenience and speed.”

The palm readers utilized by Verifast, which can be embedded in on-counter palm scanners, computer mice and wall-mounted terminals, use light to capture a user’s unique palm vein pattern. This pattern is then matched against a database that synchronizes with the financial institution’s core processing and other systems for secure login or access.

“Like the employees at Merck Sharp & Dohme, I use Verifast at my desk daily,” Vincent Brennan, president of Credit Union Solutions for Fiserv, said. “It makes a routine but essential task like authentication easier, and enables interactions that can set a credit union apart.”

The $272 million, O’Fallon, Mo.-based West Community Credit Union chose the Montreal, Canada-based NestReady, a tech firm that develops platforms to unite parties in the homebuying process, and provide members with an end-to-end user experience.

West Community Credit Union, with 26,000 members and eight locations throughout the greater St. Louis, Mo., area as well as in Columbia, Mo., strives to offer the most advanced technology available. After attending an event at Six Thirty, a global fintech fund and accelerator in St. Louis, the credit union’s president/CEO, Jason Peach, knew he had seen a solution that would greatly enhance West Community’s mortgage lending process.

Peach explained, “Our credit union strives to be very early adopters of technology that will enhance our members’ experience. Being at the leading edge of innovation is important as there are many larger financial institutions as well as non-banks vying for our members’ business. NestReady’s platform offers a transparent environment for potential homebuyers as they search for their dream house.”

NestReady’s machine learning and AI-powered technologies provide actionable insights and automation while enabling the credit union’s loan originators to act precisely when a consumer is ready to make their homebuying decisions.

“Enhancing our digital user experience was paramount, and now we are going to be able to provide a single platform that streamlines the more challenging aspects of the homebuying process,” Peach said. “The partnership, the technology and the concept behind the NestReady offering will transform our homebuying process for the better.”

“NestReady’s mission is to assist credit unions to get ahead of the game and prepare for the major technology shift the industry is experiencing,” Marcos Carvalho, NestReady’s chief revenue officer, said. “Enabling them to offer a true end-to-end homebuying experience and making them the trusted brand for every homebuying need is our primary focus. Every member wishes they could get full support from their credit union during the challenging process that is buying a home.”

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based CU*Answers, a 100% credit union-owned core data processor, announced it successfully completed disaster recovery testing of the ItsMe247.com member online banking application in August. During the test, web and mobile applications were moved to a CU*Answers backup data center and live traffic was served from this location for the 24-hour duration of the test. The live test was executed as planned without issue.

“Testing the recovery of member-facing web and mobile applications brings with it a unique set of challenges,” Jim Lawrence, vice president of business continuity, CBCP, CISSP, said. “Coordinating and orchestrating the recovery over the public internet with integration to more than 60 third-party vendors requires planning, preparation and practice. If you are not testing on a regular basis, you’re just guessing.”

It’s Me 247 is a set of internet and mobile applications that allow credit union members to perform online and mobile banking transactions.

CU*Answers said its disaster recovery posture is constantly evolving, and this test represents one more step in that advancing plan. Additional live testing of additional applications within the It’s Me 247 suite are planned in the near future.

CU*Answers is a CUSO providing services to credit unions representing over two million members and $21.5 billion in credit union assets.