ArcNews Online

Fall 2008

GIS Helps Analyze Current and Potential Service Centers

Credit Union Streamlines Siting


  • GIS helps credit union analyze customer demographics.
  • System pinpoints new service center locations, raising the level of customer service.
  • GIS-based mapping software supports important business decisions and solutions.

Security Service Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in San Antonio, Texas, and the tenth largest in the nation. Founded in 1956 with only $25 in deposits, this not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution was started to serve the financial needs of the U.S. Air Force Security Service Command. The credit union charter has since expanded to $4.3 billion in assets and more than 640,000 members, including 30 locations in Texas and 13 Colorado service centers. Security Service is recognized as a leader in the credit union industry by implementing the latest technology to improve convenience and service to its members. Security Service was the first credit union in San Antonio to implement online banking and is forward thinking in its other service offerings to its members, including a 24/7 Member Contact Center, where members can speak directly to a person in English or Spanish; a network of more than 100 ATMs; and regular Saturday hours at every service center. The credit union also has select service centers open on Sundays, and mall locations are open during mall hours.

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Even though a potential site may have desirable demographics for a new branch location, Security Service is able to double check how convenient it is for customers by using BusinessMAP Financial FSE drive-time analysis.

To continue excellent customer service, accessibility to customers, and business efficiency, Security Service was interested in analyzing useful demographic information for areas surrounding its current service centers and new areas for potential sites. The credit union wanted to find out what the market areas looked like in terms of demographics to target them for different marketing purposes. First, the credit union tried a Web-based geodemographic solution but found the software limited in what it could accomplish. "We couldn't import or export data easily, and that turned us off the solution," says Javier Cano, marketing product research analyst, Security Service. Cano also found that running complex queries over the Internet meant a long wait time or, worse, the application timing out.

After this experience, Cano had a better idea of what to look for in a solution. Researching the marketplace, he found that Esri's BusinessMAP Financial offered the tools and data he needed to better analyze data. "BusinessMAP Financial was able to easily resolve the issues we had," says Cano.

BusinessMAP Financial is an easy-to-use database mapping product that gives access to a number of datasets for financial analysis and planning activities, such as Esri's 2005/2010 demographic data, Community Tapestry segmentation system, credit union data from the National Credit Union Administration, BranchInfo data and MarketBank data from RPM Consulting, D&B business listings, data from community development financial institutions, aggregate total employee data from Infogroup, and street-level map data for North America from Tele Atlas/TomTom.

BusinessMAP Financial has more than 25 report templates that make it easy to present the data once it has been analyzed. Templates include Demographic Summary, Net Worth Profile, Deposit Potential, Loan Potential, and Competition.

Security Service first licensed the software for business development purposes. Being able to look at demographic data and import its own database of customer information using either street addresses or ZIP Codes gave the credit union the ability to see where members were located and if the credit union was providing services as well as it possibly could. Using this method, Security Service can target special services to areas it might have missed before using the mapping software, such as a large concentration of young families near a particular branch who might be interested in first-time home loans. "Exporting information from our marketing database and importing into BusinessMAP Financial is a breeze. Since BusinessMAP is on my computer, it can process data imports and exports so much quicker than the Web-based mapping solution I'd previously used," states Cano.

Security Service now also uses BusinessMAP Financial to analyze its current and potential sites by conducting ring studies and generating drive-time analyses to see how much time it will take customers and potential customers to visit a site. Using the ring-study analysis provides Cano with a quick and effective means of revealing and analyzing demographic information for his site planning. The drive-time analysis creates one to three drive zones around a location, representing the distance that may be driven within a specified time. The zones can then be analyzed by aggregating demographic data for such things as targeted advertising campaigns and new site locations.

Says Cano, "Even though a potential site may have desirable demographics for your organization, how convenient is it for your potential customers to get there? BusinessMAP Financial's drive-time analysis, which lets you set the parameters, shows a realistic reach of the site. Not only do you have a visual representation of this, the ability to create reports based on the drive-time analysis lets you dig further around the site's reach."

Once a site location is pinpointed, Cano uses the retail and deposit potential data to see if each market area has room to grow. Finally, a competitor analysis is run to find out which competitors are in the area and how many locations they have. "The large demographic database that is included with BusinessMAP is easy to query," states Cano. "Having the database window open while working on creating a map is great because it shows demographics as you go."

These studies are important in supporting the business decisions the credit union makes. The maps included in the reports are also easy to create, allowing Cano to add or remove data layers and customize symbols and text within the map. This gives him great flexibility with what he wants to show on the map. Says Cano, "We never thought we could customize maps as much and as easily as we can with BusinessMAP."

Using BusinessMAP Financial, Security Service is able to create specific maps for each report it generates for business development—something it couldn't do before. This has significantly improved its data presentation. "Conducting a ring study with reporting from a point of interest is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse. The ability to customize symbols, text, and coloring visually helps our maps speak specifically about our goals," adds Cano.

Cano was so impressed with the solution that he introduced it to the marketing department, and now it is used to analyze various marketing campaigns. "This solution is all in one when it comes to demographic data and mapping," says Cano. "Before, I would have to pull demographics from our previous online solution and then export that data to import it into a generic mapping software solution that was not customizable or user-friendly. BusinessMAP Financial allows me to query demographics, customize maps, and generate reports with the report templates in minutes." Security Service has been able to save a lot of time used in researching because all the market demographics are included with the product. Cano has already received more than a return on his initial capital investment in the software. "Costwise, BusinessMAP Financial has the data and functionality that much more expensive mapping solutions have, at a fraction of the cost."

More Information

For more information, contact Javier Cano, marketing product research analyst, Security Service Federal Credit Union (e-mail:

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