Cloudbakers helps Vibrant cut waiting time for loans, improve collaboration and reduce costs with Google Cloud Platform, G Suite and Chrome

Credit unions are the lifeblood of many towns and small cities. Non-profit and owned by their members, they fund local businesses with loans, provide affordable mortgages for homeowners and provide other financial services that communities need to thrive.

Four years ago Vibrant Credit Union, with existing locations in Illinois and Iowa, had plans to expand by opening new branches over eight hours away from existing ones. The distance would make it difficult for loan officers to move among branches and complicate staffing. To help with the transition, Vibrant sought videoconferencing technology that would allow loan officers to remotely meet with customers. Leadership also wanted to maintain the close-knit culture that had developed over eighty years of existence, so tools that made it easy for staff to collaborate were critical.

Vibrant’s existing Microsoft-based technologies weren’t up to the task of videoconferencing and collaboration, because Office lacked true live sharing capabilities and Skype didn’t have the tools for building conferencing apps. It would also be expensive to scale for employees in the new branches because of the high cost of buying new PCs and software licenses.

The company moved to G Suite because of the platform’s low cost and easy collaboration, and reported savings of $20,000 per year by eliminating a costly intranet. To build on the success of G Suite, Vibrant turned to Google Cloud Premier Partner Cloudbakers to provide custom development for videoconferencing and other applications using Google Cloud Platform.

“We chose Google Cloud Platform because its flexibility and scalability are ideal for building custom applications like videoconferencing. To develop the applications, we turned to Cloudbakers because of their deep expertise with Google technologies.” — Steve McAtee, CIO, Vibrant

Building a videoconferencing service to help customers apply for loans

One of the most vexing problems Vibrant faced when it opened new branches was how to properly allocate loan officers among its 11 locations. Because the branches are geographically dispersed, Vibrant could not easily move loan officers among them when some branches were busy and understaffed and others were overstaffed. Some branches had wait times of up to 40 minutes, while others had no wait time at all.

To solve the problem, Cloudbakers built a videoconferencing service for Vibrant called Video Loan Officer (VLO), powered by Google Compute Engine and run on Google Chromebases. Customers can now walk into any branch, and instead of waiting in line to see a loan officer, they use VLO to meet a contact remotely.

“VLO has been a big hit with our customers. In the surveys we sent to them, almost all respondents reported a very high level of satisfaction,” says McAtee.

Cutting staff costs, reducing wait times, improving collaboration

Using VLO, Vibrant no longer needs loan officers at each location, because employees can meet with customers by video conferencing from any branch. Wait times have been reduced more than 10x, from 40 minutes to less than five.

The solution has also improved staffing efficiencies. Previously as many as 60 percent of loan officers might be idle, while 40 percent were overworked. Work is now spread out evenly among employees. Because Vibrant does not have to staff each of its branches for the maximum number of visitors, it can handle the same volume of customers with 40 to 50 percent less staff than it would if it did not use VLO, McAtee says.

VLO wasn’t the only application Cloudbakers built for Vibrant. They also built an application called VAN which allows Vibrant to upload business files into Google Drive , making it easy for employees to quickly find documents. Another application, EDC, automates the addition of documents sent by Vibrant’s employees to Google Drive.

Vibrant plans to continually add new capabilities using Google technologies. They’re currently working to add the ability to sign electronic documents in VLO, making it easier for customers to complete the loan process onsite and paperless.

“The combination of Google Cloud Platform, other Google technologies and Cloudbakers has been a tremendous win. We’ve saved hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive, archaic third-party systems, improved our productivity and delivered services our customers have been asking us for,” says McAtee.