Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union (RBFCU) is a small financial cooperative that competes against big New York City banks. It upgraded its Windows XP PCs to mobile PCs running the Windows 8 pro operating system so that it can offer modern financial services. By using Windows 8–based mobile computers, RBFCU can calculate and post interest rates faster, serve customers more promptly, and let employees work from anywhere, which improves business continuity.
Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union (RBFCU) is a financial services provider to members who live in Middlesex County, New Jersey, about 35 miles from New York City. When the US financial industry collapsed in 2008–2009, RBFCU froze all technology spending; however, management realized that stagnant technology was holding the company back.
RBFCU needs to constantly monitor fast-changing global financial data and its own investment portfolio so that it can calculate lending rates. Aggregating all this information manually took time on older PCs running the Windows XP operating system. “The loan market is very competitive, and we have to provide better interest rates and faster response than the big banks,” says Mark Malinowski, Vice President of Accounting for Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union.
RBFCU wanted to speed the publishing of interest rates and other time-sensitive information to its website and branch office digital signs and even push it to customer smartphones. However, because of its old technology foundation it couldn’t pursue new service ideas. The old PCs also hindered existing services. “Our older PCs were slow, which hurt our ability to serve customers promptly at teller windows, and it hurt our image when customers saw us using older computers and software,” says Carey Hnath, IT Manager for Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union.
Because of concerns about data security, the company allowed only executives to have mobile computers. However, this proved to be a liability when Hurricane Sandy hit the area in October 2012. The storm destroyed many RBFCU customers’ homes and left the RBFCU office without power for three days. Customers desperately needed to secure loans to begin rebuilding, but without mobile access to the company’s applications, RBFCU employees were unable to respond quickly.
RBFCU turned to eMazzanti Technologies, a New York City–area IT consultancy and member of the Microsoft Partner Network, for help in cost-effectively modernizing its IT infrastructure. eMazzanti recommended that RBFCU upgrade its PCs with mobile HP computers running the Windows 8 Pro operating system.
Migrating the company’s applications and data from Windows XP was straightforward. “Upgrading from Windows XP was a snap,” Hnath says. “All our software, including our core financial applications, runs faster and better on Windows 8 Pro.”
Hnath quickly picked up the new operating system. “I can do everything I did with Windows XP, including create a remote desktop and administer our servers, but I also get the benefits of the live-tile interface and the incredibly fast startups and shutdowns,” he says. Live tiles are interactive apps that sit on the Windows 8 start screen and provide quick access to constantly changing data.
Malinowski uses the live tiles to speed loan interest rate calculation. “All the websites, financial feeds, news feeds, and investment data that I previously accessed through a multistep process are right there at my fingertips in Windows 8 Pro,” he says. Car loans are a huge part of Raritan Bay’s loan portfolio, and Malinowski can review the credit union’s investments in near-real time and adjust loan rates accordingly. “With a glance at my Windows 8 Pro home screen I can see multiple information sources at once rather than manually assembling the information,” Malinowski says.
To improve security of the bank’s sensitive data, RBFCU takes advantage of the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature in Windows 8 Pro to help safeguard data if a computer is lost or stolen.
Some employees also upgraded to Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013, which offers enhanced usability and new productivity features. Malinowski likes the redesigned Ribbon in Microsoft Excel 2013 and the ability to have Excel spreadsheets open as live tiles.
RBFCU has deployed Windows 8 on all 30 of its client computers, some new devices and some older PCs. It runs Windows 8 Embedded on teller PCs that use Windows Remote Desktop Services to access server-based applications. The rest of the staff use Windows 8 Pro.
By adopting mobile computers running Windows 8 Pro, Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union is able to compete more effectively, serve customers faster, and increase employee mobility and productivity. It is also better able to keep the business running in the event of a natural disaster.
Compete More Effectively
RBFCU can now announce new interest rates faster. “Accessing multiple data feeds from Windows 8 Pro live tiles, rather than assembling them manually, lets me calculate loan rates much faster,” Malinowski says. “Every second counts in fast-changing financial markets.”
Having the latest technology also lets RBFCU pursue new customer services such as smartphone apps. “We have a foundation now for doing really exciting things,” Walczak says. “It’s critical to our image that customers see us as forward-thinking and innovative. The faster performance of Windows 8 means that employees can serve customers faster. If we can’t answer questions quickly, we lose customers to the big banks that do have this technology.”
Improve Employee Mobility, Business Continuity
With more employees able to take computers home and on the road, overall productivity is improved, as is work-life balance. “If employees want or need to work from home, we can now enable that,” Malinowski says. “With Windows BitLocker, we no longer worry about data security if the device is lost or stolen.”
From a disaster preparedness standpoint, anytime, anywhere productivity is invaluable. “When another super storm hits our area, our employees can continue to work and serve our customers from anywhere,” Malinowski says.
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