Hughes Federal Credit Union

Mary Burruel

VP of Product Management, Hughes Federal Credit Union
  • I have a very unique role in our organization – mostly project management; also taking and reviewing new technology that’s coming forward to determine how that can actually be put to operations, and how it impacts different teams within our organization
  • I try to get buy-in from those teams so that when it goes live they’re already on board for the new things that are coming
  • Been here 20 years; started at the bottom as a call-center rep – worked up to branch manager, and eventually created my own position so I could focus solely on project implementation and technology 
  • I’ve stayed here … I’ve sometimes disagreed with some of the forward thinking or non-forward thinking that doesn’t happen, but ultimately I appreciate and respect them for giving me the opportunity to do what I do. People want my opinion and I appreciate that. And I feel I’m influential in the things that I do, and that is what’s important to me. I value that trust. 

Personal achievement here?

  • Beyond being able to create this role, I would say probably MeridianLink was probably my biggest project – that I project managed and got off the ground. All of our loans originate from there, all our account openings, etc. To me that was a great achievement, and it created a lot of operational efficiency for our staff. 
  • I’ve done a lot of projects that have hopefully streamlined processes for our teams. And a lot of them do say “Thank you for looking for solutions. Thank you for speaking up and seeing that we solved this problem with this solution.”
  • I work closely with IT, though I’m not in the IT department. Rich (Griesser, VP of IT), always brings me into the conversations. He includes me in all his management meetings. Because what they’re doing needs to translate into the operational world. We have to make sure those two things come together and are launched harmoniously so that it’s not creating chaos in the branch and for our members. 

Biggest challenges?

  • There’s always a challenge on the communication front.
  • Our contact center at one point during the pandemic we were getting flooded with calls. We had wait calls close to an hour. We had a very high abandonment rate, and we were trying to solve for this during the pandemic. 
  • We did make some changes. Our VP of Lending is very proactive and trying to solve for these things, so created various call trees that route off to a lending queue now, to alleviate some of those general calls coming into our contact center.
  • Introducing the Eltropy system to our E-Services team who do all our online account opening, collections team, now our contact center … 
  • Texting is just the best way right now to communicate with people. It’s fast, it’s efficient, it’s easy.
  • To be able to reach out and quickly deliver information or answer a question for a member has been key to them being able to communicate more effectively. 
  • Communication is always that challenge. MeridianLink integration – being able to introduce that so one can quickly jump from an application to texting that person asking for documents. 
  • Those are essential parts of that communication, so the member can get fast service, they can continue to process the application vs. playing phone tag

Results hoping to see with Eltropy?

  • The Eltropy side we already know and we like. To be able to bring in other components – the Chat, AI, and then bringing in the Video banking. 
  • That’s not something that’s been on our roadmap before, but definitely part of the conversation now, especially since it’s part of one platform
  • It’s great. We go to conferences. We have many members that get offered integrations with multiple solutions. But at the end of the day it’s like, OK, now we’ve got four more vendors to manage – and you have to login into that one to manage this chat, go to that one to talk to this person.
  • To be able to unify that into one system is going to create buy-in for our staff, number one, and for our members – to be able to jump from Video chat to Text, and now I’m in Secure chat, and now I’m co-browsing with you …
  • For that experience that they get – that’s why we do it. But if you can also create that efficiency for your end user, your employee, then that’s a win-win. And that’s the direction we want to go. We don’t want to introduce multiple platforms to achieve the same thing we could do with just one – with Eltropy.

Leadership conference?

  • It’s been great. Great just being back in person, after all the virtual stuff, which is great for certain stuff, but not for collaboration. 
  • I’ve enjoyed the people who have attended. You have thought leaders, strategy leaders, then you also have the people who actually use the system.
  • That’s been my realm. We’re on the user front. Just being able to get ideas from people – how they’re utilizing the system, or asking them why they’re not using the system in a certain way. It’s just great thought, and great thinking to provoke that thought process more, to develop more, to figure out ways we can utilize the technology we have now – to ultimately do more for our members. 
  • This has been a super great conference. We’ve enjoyed getting to know the leaders of your organization.