Customer Stories

Association of Military Banks of America

For the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA), dependable customer service and firewall protection were challenges strongly associated with other board portal solutions. Now, those concerns are a thing of the past.



Industry: Association

Headquarters: Washington, D.C.

Board Management Goals

  • Seeking a board communication solution that improved the user experience.
  • Finding a virtual meeting option that worked effectively around the firewall features that are common when working at banks.


  • Significantly reduced the time and effort spent creating board books
  • Enabled board members to approve minutes and other agenda items before meetings
  • Increased board diversity participation with ease of use for board members with disabilities.

The Challenges

The Association of Military Banks of America doesn’t work with your typical bank. Founded in 1959, the group sets professional best practices for banks that operate on military installations, banks that serve military customers, and other military banking facilities designated by the U.S. Treasury.

The association serves as a liaison between the U.S. Department of Defense and the bank branches to ensure they’re servicing the military bank members as effectively as possible. It’s the only trade association representing banking institutions that specialize in providing financial services for military personnel and their families worldwide.

AMBA features two separate boards of directors that comprise a combined 15 members, and each board meets twice annually. 

Online security is at a premium in the military and in the banking industry, which presents a unique set of challenges for AMBA’s online communication. That reality manifested itself even more profoundly in the spring of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and AMBA moved its board meetings from an in-person format to a remote environment.

When the board initially made the switch, it encountered more than a few initial hiccups. AMBA dabbled with piecemeal virtual solutions prior to COVID, but Andia Dinesen, executive vice president, communications and operations, says issues with their previous board portal such as firewall problems and clunky information flow prevented the board from working as efficiently as members hoped.

“The firewall issues have not been a problem with OnBoard, thank goodness.”

Improving the User Experience

Dinesen and the AMBA board learned about OnBoard’s board intelligence platform from a partner agency, the Armed Forces Financial Network (AFFN).  

“We were looking for solid customer service,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many times we were using a program [with a previous provider] that our point of contact changed. I could never keep up with who we were supposed to email.”

Once Dinesen and AMBA signed up with OnBoard, Dinesen says they immediately saw the benefits, and they couldn’t have been more necessary, given the timing of the switch and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The firewall issues have not been a problem with OnBoard, thank goodness,” she says. “We’ve put our information into meetings into Zoom, which has been really easy to do. It’s worked really well. Since we’ve had OnBoard, all our meetings have been virtual, because we brought it on board during COVID.”

"There hasn't been a heavy lift on training ... I'm pretty well-versed in the product now.”

An Easier Learning Curve

AMBA’s board ranges in boardroom experience level from one year to more than 20, so training board members on the new software wasn’t guaranteed to be smooth. But OnBoard’s platform and customer support made for a smooth, efficient transition, Dinesen says.

“The biggest learning curve was that we wanted folks to do approvals during the meeting,” Dinesen says. “Now we send the agenda out a week ahead of time, so if they want to do an approval early, they can. There are some things that require discussion, but they can approve minutes from the prior meeting and things like that that are easy to approve. So we’ve just made some adjustments along the way.”

Dinesen adds the board can look at approvals in real time and see once they’ve reached a majority vote on a point and move on to the next topic.

“There hasn’t been a heavy lift on training,” she says, referring to the most recent board additions. “I’m pretty well-versed in the product now.”

“The biggest ROI is that I'm not constantly annoyed.”

Obvious Time Savings

While Dinesen hasn’t measured the exact time savings the OnBoard platform provides, she’s certain it’s noticeably more efficient than the previous approach to board meetings.

“The biggest ROI is that I’m not constantly annoyed,” she says, laughing. “It’s so easy when we create the board books. The last product we were using, there was this lull between opening a copy-and-edit sort of tool, and then I had to wait for it to actually save…losing that irritation is my biggest ROI.”

“He said it was so easy for him to navigate ... During our board meeting, he said, 'I don't understand why you guys can't do these approvals, even the blind guy can do it.”

Accessibility a Key Factor

AMBA Board Director Steve Beres knows how board meetings should operate. He’s a member of six boards in all. He’s also blind, having lost his vision while serving in Afghanistan, which makes navigating board meetings challenging if the board or its board management solution don’t account for that disability.

Beres, a vice president and veterans outreach manager for Regions Financial, uses screen readers and can easily access board postings and sign documents through OnBoard’s board management portal.

When AMBA decided to switch board management software providers, Dinesen says Beres’ vision wasn’t even a consideration; partially due to Beres’ own technological savviness and partially due to OnBoard’s ease-of-use.

“We’re used to trying to make concessions for Steve when and if they’re needed, Dinesen says of Beres. “However, when we switched to OnBoard, we basically knew it was going to be better than what we were using before so it honestly didn’t really cross my mind. We were just going to be happy with the new solution, and if we needed to make concessions, we would.

“He said it was so easy for him to navigate,” Dinesen adds. “During our board meeting, he said, ‘I don’t understand why you guys can’t do these approvals, even the blind guy can do it.’

“A lot of companies need to take accessibility – whether that’s physical or digital – into consideration from the start,” Beres says. “It’s a heck of a lot easier to build something up with accessibility at the forefront, than it is to try to add it in later.”

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