CIO, Symitar Put Their 'iQ' To Good Use

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The things people dream up over a cup of coffee.

IQ Credit Union CIO Jim Morrell was eating breakfast a week before he would attend the Symitar client conference and reading the morning newspaper. The images of suffering and damage in the Gulf Coast states dominated coverage, and Morrell began to wonder how he could help. What if everyone in a credit union donated just a little money? A small percentage maybe, or just the interest from an account?

Crediting techniques he has learned as a member of the Filene Institute's i3 program, Morrell said one thought led to another before the "eureka moment:" ask credit union members to donate one month's dividends from their share draft account. One account wouldn't be much, but an entire credit union or a group of CUs could generate some funds.

"I think it would be fairly significant," he said.

After his second cup of coffee, Morrell realized he would need the help of a programmer so members could easily make a donation. IQ Credit Union runs on Symitar's Episys core procession system and Morrell contacted Symitar President Kathy Hooker-Buress to pitch the idea. She loved the idea and quickly sought the advice of Zandy Reinshagen, the head of product delivery.

In only one week, Morrell and Symitar were able to produce a program that Episys clients can download from the clients-only website portal. Credit unions will need to ask each member if they would like to make a donation and move the donation to a separate general ledger account. Members can choose to donate the entire amount of interest earned, or a percentage thereof from checking accounts, share savings and money market accounts, according to Morrell. It will be up to each credit union to decide to which organizations will be sent, and how to market the idea to members, he said.

Hooker-Burress wanted Morrell to publicly announce the program at the Symitar conference, which he did to good response. The idea is perfect for credit unions reflecting the "people-helping-people" concept, plus it's "painless" for members who don't have to write a check or make a withdrawal to support hurricane relief efforts, she said.

"Hopefully we'll see traction with it. The credit unions loved the idea. I think it will be a little while before we see the results," she said. "I think it will be interesting to see if we can get a movement going. Who knows?"

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