PFM Tool Has More Than Just Member Appeal

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LARAMIE, Wyo.-UniWyo CU here can't decide what's best about its new personal financial management (PFM) software: that PFM offers members the best in online money management, or that the CU's core vendor delivers the software integrated with the data processing and Internet banking platforms.

"We compared PFM products, and the features seemed fairly consistent," explained Bill Froehlich, technology manager at the $212-million CU. "Compatibility with our core was an important factor in deciding which product to deploy."

UniWyo's service, called Online Financial Management (OFM), automatically pulls member accounts from the credit union's Episys core system, provided by San Diego-based Symitar, a division of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc. OFM is delivered to Jack Henry & Associates by Lodo Software, Inc., of Denver.

Members can then add accounts from other financial institutions, such as checking, credit cards or retirement accounts-"every account they need to see every facet of their financial outlook," continued Froehlich.

"Account aggregation is particularly exciting because once members make the effort to import their accounts and create budgets and goals, they won't want to do it all over again with another FI," Froehlich said.

Online third-party accounts can be automatically linked and synchronized, and offline accounts can be manually entered and updated. The aggregated accounts are dashboarded in OFM, which the member can use to build budgets, track spending by category and set alerts.

"We needed to offer PFM in order to keep our cutting edge and offer value that you can't get at other FIs in the area," he said. OFM will appear as a tab called My Finances in UniWyo Home Banking, he said.

UniWyo can use a cross-sales component, called FI Dashboard for Automated Cross-Selling, to push member retention and profit, suggested Mark Vipond, CEO, Lodo. "You can proactively mine the member data within OFM, such as assets, external accounts, OFM activity and risk profile, to create and send cross-sales messages and targeted marketing."

The cross-sales module helps users via a campaign wizard; schedules the delivery of ads via e-mail, text message, pop-ups and alerts; and tracks click-through rates. "That made our marketing person giddy," said Froehlich.

UniWyo "didn't have to jump through any hoops with a third party to make sure PFM was going to work with our core," he added. "We knew compatibility issues between Lodo and Episys and NetTeller had already been tested and approved for rollout. Even third-party vendors who claim compatibility with a core provider are not nearly as reliable as the core vendor themselves.

"There will be no back-and-forth finger-pointing between the the PFM vendor and Jack Henry should a problem arise," Froehlich said.

"Many times I've seen a core vendor and a third-party vendor blame each other for a problem while the credit union gets ping-ponged between them. This way, if there are issues, we can go straight to Jack Henry and resolve them from one point of contact."

UniWyo went live with OFM this month after three months of testing and is the first Symitar credit union to offer OFM. UniWyo will "heavily" promote the service via email and Internet banking, statements, and the website and branches, said Froehlich. He said he hopes to see at least 10% of Internet bankers using OFM in six months.

Symitar and Lodo are working within OFM's service-oriented architecture (SOA) to connect with Symitar's goDough mobile banking and to My NetTeller, a version of Internet banking that allows members to customize NetTeller using drag-and-drop widgets, Vipond said.

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