Helping Credit Union to Branch Out

Thornapple Credit Union (TCU) is a growing community credit union headquartered in the town of Hastings, Michigan. Windemuller had worked with the business previously, providing new phone systems for both the Hastings head office and TCU’s second branch office in Delton, Michigan. TCU was so satisfied with Windemuller’s work on their phone systems that we ended up taking over IT support for the entire business. When TCU decided to open a third branch office in Middleville, Michigan, Windemuller got the call to handle IT, security cameras, phone systems, and other technological needs. The project was a chance for us to combine many of our functions together under one project, including low voltage cabling, camera and video management systems, telephones / VOIP, computers and computer hardware, and more.

The Challenge

The core challenges for this project included:

  • Equipment compatibility. Since this branch would be TCU’s third location rather than their first, we had to integrate all the technology for the new location into the company’s existing corporate technology. Camera and phone systems had to be able to talk to each other across multiple locations, so that business leaders could oversee everything seamlessly from the Hastings HQ.
  • Improving the ATM. Most banks or credit unions make do with the built-in camera that comes with their ATM. TCU felt that this built-in camera did not offer satisfactory video quality and tasked Windemuller with providing a better alternative.
  • Security video redundancy. In the case of a robbery, it is sometimes too easy for perpetrators to destroy a bank’s video storage system. For the TCU job, we wanted to provide redundancy to give the client extra protection and peace of mind. We also wanted to make the video management system easy to back up, so that it could be recovered quickly if there was damage or some sort of technical issue.
  • Working with the incorrect equipment. TCU signed up for phone lines and internet through a third-party provider, which ended up delivering the wrong equipment. We re-engineered our system to work until the internet provider could deliver the correct phone and internet equipment.

The Solution

Since Windemuller had installed much of technology in TCU’s first two locations, we were in an ideal position to design compatible solutions for the new branch. To give TCU leaders visibility into all locations, we set up a VPN and used exacqVision Professional video management software from Exacq Technologies. ExacqVision offers several built-in tools that are ideal for spanning video across multiple business or branch locations. Select TCU employees can view any camera, in any branch, at any time.

We designed the phone systems so that TCU employees would have the ability to extension dial from a TCU phone to any other phone at any of the three branch locations. At the same time, each office maintains local trunks, so that if the main branch goes offline, the phone systems still stay on at other locations. For the ATM, we worked with TCU to select a camera that met their quality standards. We were able to install this new camera seamlessly into the ATM system, despite the fact that it wasn’t an original component.

Windemuller thought outside the box and came up with creative solutions to address backup, recovery and redundancy. With our custom offering, TCU can recover video even if their VMS server is damaged or stolen.

We also designed the phone system to be virtualized, and even made sure that TCU could use the same server for their virtual phone and video systems, reducing cost and recovery times. When the internet provider delivered incorrect equipment, we adapted our design to work, temporarily, with the equipment we had. Once the provider delivers the correct equipment, we will go back to TCU to implement the virtual phone system as we initially intended it.

Ultimately, Windemuller’s flexibility, versatility, and knowledge of the latest technology allowed us to provide TCU with state-of-the-art systems for their IT and communications needs. It spoke volumes that, after agreeing to an initial contract, TCU kept adding additional products and services as they learned the depth of our services.

When the Middleville TCU location opened its doors in mid-October, it did so with robust, intuitive technology and seamless cross-branch compatibility. Going forward, Windemuller’s support will enable TCU to serve its growing membership more effectively.

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