Coast Capital Savings Credit Union

Coast Capital Savings Credit Union

March 18, 2008 12:52 ET

B.C. Credit Unions Launch First Canadian "Text Banking" Service

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 18, 2008) -

Photos are included with this press release.

If you're a Coast Capital Savings or Mount Lehman Credit Union customer you can sign up for a new service that will allow you to simply text your credit union to find out if you have enough money in your account to buy that glitzy dress tugging at your heartstrings, or those irresistible golf shoes.

Coast Capital Savings, along with Abbotsford-based Mount Lehman Credit Union, today became the first financial institutions in the country to offer text or Short Messaging Service (SMS) banking, which the credit unions describe as the use of SMS common code for interactive, two-way text communication with customers related to their account and financial transactions.

"Canadian businesses in general have not taken full advantage of the tremendous opportunities that texting provides to build customer relationships and it's exciting to be first out of the gate with a simple yet novel and helpful banking service that fits right in your pocket," said Sheila Baker, Coast Capital Savings' chief information officer. "We're always looking for ways to connect with the youth demographic and SMS banking will appeal to this group, but we also know more and more adults are texting, and the convenience of text-based banking will make it attractive to all age groups over time."

Once registered, Coast Capital Savings members can text "COAST" (26278), while Mount Lehman customers can text "MONEY" (66639) to obtain account information. The two organizations are serving as pilot credit unions for the text banking project, which is being implemented in partnership with Credit Union Central of B.C.

Baker said in its first phase, Coast Capital Savings customers can check their account balances and view recent transactions on all their accounts using the new service, but adds that several more account management options will potentially be added in future, including the ability to sign up for various alerts.

"We are extremely happy to have this text banking service to add to our other mobile banking product, MemberNote," said Gene Blishen, general manager of Mount Lehman Credit Union. "The advantages and use by the end user will satisfy the growing demand for instant information. Text banking is simple, quick and convenient and is a powerful tool which will provide our members with another option to manage their finances and to stay connected. This service allows easy access to an account balance and transaction history even though they may be miles away from their branch or a computer. The data is at your fingertips 24/7 whenever, wherever you need it."

Peter Barnes, president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), said the new service demonstrates the potential Canadian companies have to tap texting as an added customer service channel and a way to engage with their market.

"There are lots of ways businesses can use texting, and application of the technology in the area of banking may well become a staple offering from all financial institutions as the texting trend continues to heat up in Canada," Barnes said. "It definitely is a convenient, fast, simple and relatively non-intrusive way to interact with customers."

According to the CWTA, the number of person-to-person text messages sent during 2007 totalled 10.1 billion, an increase of 133 per cent over the 2006 total of 4.3 billion messages. Canadians now send over 1.2 billion text messages per month - that's more than 38.7 million text messages each day. What's more, the number of people using text messaging continues to grow month over month, as does the number of messages sent, and text messaging volumes have more than doubled each year since intercarrier text messaging was introduced in Canada in 2002.

Wendy Lachance, Coast Capital Savings' manager, e-business development, said while the service is free from Coast Capital, customers may need to pay their mobile carrier for sending and receiving messages. She said the service is designed to work on phones from Canadian mobile carriers that offer text messaging, which includes Telus, Rogers Wireless, Fido and Virgin Mobile, among others.

"Unlike other types of mobile banking and online banking, the great thing about text-based banking is that you don't need internet access to use this service," Lachance said. "We expect that customers will find text-based banking more accessible and convenient than other banking channels for simple account queries."

About Mount Lehman Credit Union

With a focus on personal relationships and a commitment to members, Mount Lehman Credit Union is situated in the heart of the Fraser Valley and has a history of nearly 66 years in business. In 2005, the credit union introduced MemberNote, a service that sends a text or email message to its members every time their debit card is used. Striving to continuously challenge themselves to ensure the best possible products and services, Mount Lehman Credit Union is proud to be a proven leader in innovation and technology.

About Coast Capital Savings

Coast Capital Savings is Canada's second largest credit union with total assets under administration of $11.9 billion, 380,000 members and 49 branches in the Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island regions of British Columbia. Product innovations from Coast Capital Savings include Canada's first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution and the first business account in the country to offer unlimited transactions for a flat fee. The credit union is one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies and is designated a Caring Company by Imagine Canada.


Hear what Coast Capital Savings' members are saying about Coast Mobile Banking by clicking on the following link:

Member Kimberley St Pierre

Member Tara McGuire

Sources available for interviews:

- Coast Capital Savings and Mount Lehman Credit Union sources

- Two text banking users

- Peter Barnes, president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association


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