Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations that offer a similar range of financial services to banks and building societies but at generally significantly lower cost and with a strong tradition of encouraging responsibility and thrift. They have been in existence for many decades elsewhere around the world but it was not until the 60s that they became a notable part of the financial services scene in the UK.
Founded 36 years ago in the London borough of Southwark, the London Mutual Credit Union is one of the larger and faster-growing CUs in Britain. Recently the LMCU has broken out from its traditional customer base of those living or working in the London boroughs to address people serving in the armed services, and the membership of a fast-growing evangelical church that was founded in London but is now spreading out across the UK.
The LMCU has just three branches, all within London, and so as membership has grown to encompass people elsewhere in the UK, and armed forces personnel stationed around the world, so too has the importance of remote transactions. Although many members choose to interact with the union online, a large number of the credit union’s 26,000 members still prefer the assurance of talking to a credit union representative.
When the armed forces and church initiatives were being planned managing director Shan Godagama knew that the demands of additional members would stress the then current phone system to beyond breaking point. Using a PBX from Avaya, but with legacy ISDN lines that were costly and delivered by a supplier that frequently showed it was disinterested in customer service, Godagama knew a radical overhaul of the incoming lines was needed to support the expected growth in customers.
LMCU invited a number of vendors to bid, deciding on Gamma as partner after weighing up evidence of technical competence and service reliability. Gamma’s solution of 14 SIP trunks was installed without any blips in service.
Three years on, that decision is one that Godagama remains entirely comfortable with. In fact, so comfortable that LMCU is currently in the process of renewing the Gamma voice relationship for a further three years.
The impressive business outcomes of moving to Gamma have been a more than 20 percent reduction in line and calls costs. Plus staff and critical customer approval for the very much higher standard of call quality. Plus a responsiveness by Gamma’s expert support engineers that has smoothed over what Godagama says are ‘almost inevitable’ occasional issues.