Bank Security Upgrade: Credit Union Goes High-Tech

April 18, 2014
Multifactor authentification required to access safe deposit vault

Walking into the state-of-the-art Union Square Federal Credit Union is almost like going into the Treasury Department and Starbucks at the same time.

The newly constructed, roughly 10,000-square-feet facility has all the security checks, double checks and triple checks most would hope for in a financial institution. From time locks, no cash draws and a hand scanner to get into the safe deposit vaults, the new facility at 2903 Kemp Blvd., Wichita Falls, Texas, is high-security.

Joe Mannion, vice president of information technology, said the new branch is set up from a technological standpoint not too differently from other branches. But what the others don't have are cash recyclers -- mini high-security vaults between tellers -- and the multifactor authentification procedure needed to get into the safe deposit vault.

The cash bar is a open-concept area where tellers assist members. Mannion said the only time the teller or member sees money is when cash is exchanged between the two. Other than that, it stays locked up in the cash recyclers.

Members with safe deposit accounts must enter a PIN, and then place their hand on a scanner before they are allowed to enter the room. They also have a key to open their specific box. Once they are in the room, no one else can enter.

"One of the features it has," the VP said of the safe deposit vault, "is that it won't allow other parties to come in if someone is already in there."

Another feature built in to better serve Union Square members is the almost autonomous nature of the banking side and the mortgage lending side.

President and CEO John Barad said the setup was intentional so one could operate independently of the other if needed.

"We designed to where if we decided to keep the credit union side open on Saturday mornings when the mortgage people aren't going to be here, we can close off the (credit union) side of the building," he said. "If the mortgage loan department is going to stay open until 7 on Thursday nights, we can keep them open and (the credit union) side of the building wouldn't be accessible."

Another added security feature is where cash is dropped off by couriers. Mannion explained a high-tech video and entry system has been installed to make sure people who are supposed to come in are coming in, and a "man trap" is in place for additional measures.

The facility has adequate spacing for financial service representatives to work with potential or existing members of the credit union, and a technology center where staff will sit with and help members with the different electronic methods of banking including online and mobile.

Copyright 2014 - Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Texas