Hughes Federal Credit Union has been presented with a national excellence award for outstanding approaches to technology. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Technology Council awarded Hughes for its entry entitled Using Biometrics to Build an Efficient Team and Better Member Experiences, describing how Hughes successfully piloted a palm authentication system to replace passwords.

“The award is recognition from peers for outstanding approaches to technology that have universal applications for all CUNA-member credit unions,” explained Rich Griesser, vice president of IT at Hughes. “There are common problems logging onto secure systems, such as forgotten passwords, password resets, insecure password storage; and most of all, loss of employee productivity due to these issues. To save employee time and increase member convenience and security, we agreed to pilot the Verifast Palm Authentication system. It works below the surface of the skin, reading the vascular signature of the palm, which is unique to each person and replaces the need for manually entering usernames and passwords.”

“It’s been a huge success so far,” Griesser notes. Hughes currently manages over 60 unique applications that implement the palm authentication system, from deposit and loan systems to online banking and credit card systems. “It’s fast, secure, and easy to use. Since implementing this technology, employees have saved hours of time previously spent logging into each application every time they need access and it’s saved numerous hours in help desk support for failed login attempts and password resets.”

Awards were presented at the CUNA Technology Council’s 22nd annual conference held October 1-4 in Phoenix, Arizona. CUNA is comprised of more than 890 credit unions across the United States. Voted on by a panel of CUNA Technology Council and Executive Committee members, the award winners displayed finesse in finding the right solutions to intricate technological/operational problems, identifying new approaches and recognizing their universal application to credit union members across the nation.

For more information on the Excellence Awards or to view the entire list of winners, please visit CUNA’s Council Awards Programs. For more information about Hughes Federal Credit Union, visit