Living and doing business in a digital world accelerated rapidly this past year. E‐commerce is hitting numbers we weren’t predicted to hit for another four to six years. Total online spending in May hit $82.5 billion, up 77 percent year‐over‐year according to a recent Forbes article.

Mike Bowen, OlyFed’s senior vice president chief information officer, has been with the bank since 2017. He is responsible for anything technology-related, including internal technology and infrastructure networks as well as customer-facing tools like the online banking platform. Photo courtesy: Olympia Federal Savings

Even more popular is the growing trend of buying online and picking up in‐store, which saw a 195 percent increase in the month of May. Banks saw a 200 percent increase in new mobile banking registrations, while mobile banking traffic rose 85 percent, according to Fidelity National Information Services (FIS).

People and businesses have had to pivot overnight, so we consulted OlyFed’s Chief Information Officer, Mike Bowen, for tips on how to maximize your mobile and online banking experience to help better manage your finances in this ever‐changing digital world.

In mid‐July, OlyFed launched a brand‐new digital banking platform. Bowen was integral in its roll out and has a wealth of knowledge to offer.

Can you share some best practices for safely conducting your banking online?

The best way you can ensure the security of your online banking at OlyFed or on any digital banking platform is with a strong password. Make sure you always use a unique password for all of the different websites you use. Don’t recycle your Facebook password. We also strongly encourage the use of a passphrase. These are minimum 16‐ character, easy‐to‐remember phrases that derive their strength from how long they are.

Two‐factor authentication is another great way to prevent fraudulent activity in online finance management. OlyFed’s new online system requires users logging in from any new device (smartphone, tablet or a new browser on a desktop) to verify their identity with a six‐digit passcode sent by text, email or voice phone call. You can choose to let the new platform remember your device or require that two‐factor authentication be used every time you log in for an added layer of security. Two-factor authentication has been proven to be one of the most effective security measures to prevent unauthorized access to systems.

Why did the bank make such a big investment with the new digital banking tool and what are some of the new features it offers?

The digital support team at OlyFed is ready to answer any questions and address any concerns you might have about your experience with their new online banking platform. Photo courtesy: Olympia Federal Savings

One of the biggest reasons we made this investment was the quality of our customers’ experience online. We want our customers’ online experience to match the level of service and care they know they can expect in our branches.

Our new platform has a unified user experience, meaning that functionality is the same across all platforms, whether it’s being accessed from a smartphone or a desktop, on a Mac or a PC. With our old platform, the desktop version would often get features before the mobile version. We know how important it can be to stay connected and manage money remotely, so we knew we had to take this step.

One of the most exciting new features is the Personal Financial Management tool. We had a lot of demand from our customers for a tool that could help them budget and track spending. You can now do everything from categorizing your transactions to help you budget, to integrating information from outside financial institutions such as retirement accounts.

What are some of the benefits of banking online? What kind of services does a person have access to online with OlyFed?

Arguably, the best benefit to banking online is that you can do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our branches have limited hours, but with our new system, you can take care of a huge variety of needs. You can deposit checks remotely, pay bills, view eStatements, initiate person-to-person payments and even open checking, savings and CD accounts.

You can also take advantage of our Card Control services through OlyFed’s online platform. You can set your debit card so that it can only be used for certain transaction types at certain merchants or put geographical restrictions on it. Personally, I’m not leaving the greater Olympia area much right now so I could set my debit card to only work within a 100‐mile radius.

Can you share how safe online banking is and what all goes into protecting a customer’s information and identity?

OlyFed’s new digital online banking platform was designed with customer service in mind. “OlyFed is about community and family,” explains Mike Bowen. “It’s harder to convey that digitally than in our branches, but we hope the new online banking platform unifies that experience for our customers.” Photo courtesy: Olympia Federal Savings

OlyFed has some extremely stringent practices in place to protect our customers’ identity, information and finances. If we are working with a third‐party vendor for any reason, we go through a rigorous process reviewing their security practices before we ever sign a contract. We do an annual review of all third‐party vendors to ensure they’re continuing to maintain safe and sound practices that prevent a breach or loss of data.

If you ever have a concern about the safety of your funds or your identity as it relates to online banking and the services OlyFed offers, just give us a call. Our online banking team is more than happy to spend the time with you and work through solutions to help you feel safe. We can often tailor services for the individual, to help provide additional layers of security online.

Has OlyFed seen an increase in customer adoption of online and mobile banking over the course of the past few months? What’s some of the feedback you’ve received from customers who have newly adopted the practice of banking virtually?

We’ve definitely seen online and mobile banking use increase. Our new digital banking platform has been a huge success. In general, lobby traffic has gone down year-over-year as we’ve seen website traffic increase as much as 20 percent annually. Customers have been vocal about sharing how much easier digital banking has become, and how it makes their day-to-day life easier, too.

Our new Digital Banking Team is here to answer phone calls and emails as quickly as we can. They are here to respond to your questions about how to best utilize our online tools and resources. In fact, our Digital Team is seeing more and more customers complete loan paperwork online and make an appointment at a branch to sign it in person.

Visit The Olympia Federal Savings website to learn more about what OlyFed can do for you and your finances!

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