The Birmingham Business Alliance is proud to partner with several organizations that work tirelessly to highlight and celebrate innovation throughout the year for 2017 Innovation Week Birmingham. Each week leading up to Innovation Week, beginning August 18, we will shine a light on what the sponsors and partners of 2017 Innovation Week Birmingham are doing to support innovation in the Magic City.
America’s First Federal Credit Union is a proud sponsor of Innovation Week. Mike Northrup, Senior Vice President and Chief Operation Officer at America’s First Federal Credit Union, discussed how his company is supporting innovation and technology resources in the region and why Innovation Week is beneficial for Birmingham.
BBA: How does your organization promote innovation in Birmingham?
Northrup: As a leading financial institution in the Birmingham area, it is incumbent upon us to provide the best products and services for our members and to lead the way with new and innovative ways to deliver financial services. In the Birmingham market, America’s First Federal Credit Union was one of the first to offer a mobile application, remote deposit capture and a new open concept branch structure at our Vestavia branch that utilizes service PODs rather than teller lines. America’s First has also rolled out a new interactive teller function that allows for member-to-teller interaction at an ATM much like FaceTime. In 2016, America’s First formed three task forces to look deeply into financial education, the branch of the future and engagement through technology. These task forces have made great progress in innovating the way we deliver services and will continue to be a part of the innovative structure at America’s First.
BBA: What aspects do you feel make Birmingham an innovative city?
Northrup: Located just a few blocks away from Innovation Depot, Birmingham is focused on allowing new and innovative concepts to be nourished and brought to market. Being a community minded company, America’s First enjoys partnering with local innovative companies. The current resurgence of downtown Birmingham is attracting the best and brightest talent to our market, and we are excited to see the diverse offerings new innovative companies in Birmingham are producing. America’s First is happy to be part of this downtown resurgence with our recently announced $19 million expansion of our downtown facility where we will incorporate many of the innovative ideas generated by our task forces.
BBA: Why is it important to have a week that highlights innovation in Birmingham?
Northrup: To set aside a specific time for Birmingham to focus on innovation keeps it top of mind for executives to lead the way in this area. Also, seeing what other companies are doing only fuels the fire for us to consider new and innovative ways to meet our member needs. Birmingham is a great place to live and work, so having a week to celebrate our innovative focus and our desire to lead through innovation is a great way to rally Birmingham companies to excellence.
Be sure to check out the 2017 Innovation Week calendar and don’t miss the BBA’s Business@Sunset, presented by America’s First Federal Credit Union and hosted by Southern Research, on Thursday, August 24.