ATM Strategy Moves from Brand Building to Outsourcing

Jim Minge and Pamela Stephens with Texas Trust Credit Union ATM at The Epic Grand Praire

What started as a small venture to test how a few off-premise ATMs could build brand awareness has grown to a long-term relationship and management of 50 ATMs.

In 2013, Texas Trust Credit Union dipped its toe into outsourcing when it partnered with Dolphin Debit to leverage Dolphin’s relationship with Murphy USA gas stations, located adjacent to Walmart stores. Texas Trust’s goal was to install new ATMs to increase brand awareness and give members more convenient places to withdraw money from a surcharge-free ATM.

Dolphin installed 11 ATMs at high-profile Murphy USA locations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, each wrapped with eye-catching graphics to increase visibility and branding for the credit union.Jim Minge and Pamela Stephens with Texas Trust Credit Union ATM at The Epic Grand Praire

Texas Trust quickly discovered the benefits of having Dolphin Debit drive and service the ATMs, which led the credit union to turn over management of additional ATMs to Dolphin.

Once the new ATMs were installed, Texas Trust realized it was no longer necessary to have branch managers service the machines, or worry about balancing each ATM, or fixing a machine when it went down. From a back office standpoint, there was hardly anything they had to do.

“Dolphin monitors the machines and often knows when one is down before we do,” said Pamela Stephens, Chief Operating Officer at Texas Trust Credit Union. “When a terminal needs assistance, they automatically send out a technician if needed without us having to request it. They also work directly with armored services, which is another service provider we don’t have to worry about managing.”

For a growing credit union focused on adding branches and exploring merger opportunities, managing ATMs wasn’t a high priority. As Texas Trust evaluated the cost structure of its existing ATMs, it came to the realization that Dolphin Debit could manage all of its ATMs in a more favorable manner and less expensively.

Since 2013, Texas Trust has gone through three mergers and added six branches to its footprint. Today it boasts 21 on-site ATMs and 29 off-premise machines, including those at Murphy USA gas stations.

With each merger, Dolphin Debit has been there to take over the acquired ATMs, which includes ensuring they are compliant. If they aren’t, Dolphin Debit brings them up to date or replaces them with new machines.

“The compliance issues alone can be complex,” said Stephens. “And when you have 50 machines it would require a whole department to manage them. Thankfully, Dolphin handles it all for us now.”

Dolphin Debit has also been able to help Texas Trust add new ATMs in locations that would have been cost prohibitive for the credit union to do on its own.

Stephens explained that “Because of Dolphin’s economy of scale, we were able to add four machines inside the plant of one of our local SEGs, where before we only had one, which limited accessibility to a large number of employee members.”

She added that “Adding these ATMs wouldn’t have been possible if we had to purchase the machines outright and then maintain them, especially since they are accessible primarily to members, which means we earn reduced surcharge revenue from these particular machines.”

Dolphin Debit provides full service ATM management to Texas Trust, which includes emergency dispatch, cash management, monitoring, and armored delivery and settlement. Dolphin works with Texas Trust to ensure every ATM is compliant. That includes an annual ADA audit and making any necessary corrections if issues are identified.

“Dolphin has helped us place ATMs in prime real estate locations that allow us to be more visible in the market, increase member convenience, and removed the management headache associated with ATMs,” Stephens said. “Dolphin has also helped us be more strategic about our ATM strategy.”

Texas Trust has assets of more than $1.2 billion and is the 17th largest credit union in Texas. It has more than 117,000 members and 21 locations, in Dallas, Denton, Tarrant, Henderson, Ellis, Johnson and Tom Green counties.