Preaching To The Converted
When Pawtucket Credit Union decided it was time to upgrade its informations system,
During the first phase of a massive sell-off of branches by FleetBoston Financial Corp. to Sovereign Bank -that
According to local and state media, it was a fiasco that resulted in the loss of a lot of customers.
"It was the talk of the whole state," said PCU President and CEO Karl A. Kozak. "We were determined not to let the
Part of PCU's plan to avoid a similar nightmare was to take things slowly and keep members informed every step of
That meant deciding what the community chartered CU with $675-million in assets wanted in a new system, and
"The banking climate was not so good, so we needed to do something to keep that confidence with our members, let
"It went off without a hitch," said Robert P. Andrade, executive UP and COO at PCU. "When we opened Monday
The process began more than two years ago when PCU staff and board decided it was time to overhaul its core
"Our (then) current provider wasn't keeping up with the technology that was happening around us," Kozak said.
Open Architecture Sought
What the credit union was seeking was a solution based on an open architecture platform- "One you can add to,"
After making inquiries to 15 different providers, PCU narrowed the field to four finalists and brought officials from
"There were 30 to 40 people (at PCU) involved in the process," he said. "One of the advantages in making it so
While the selection process was admittedly time consuming-it took well over two years-Andrade claims it was well
"The bottom line is our new system will allow our members to do their banking faster and more flexibly," Andrade
William A. Besse, senior VP of business development, added that PCU is "extremely comfortable and confident that
"We were offering a lot of the same products (as our competitors) but we could never get them to the level that we
One advantage, of course, is that they can cross-sell products more effectively, he said.
Kozak said it would be difficult to calculate the investment in the system, but said some of the hardware was already
"It is a considerable savings to what we were paying," he said, adding that PCU can switch the services in-house at
Before the late April conversion took place, staff underwent extensive training to learn how to use the new system.
"We have a training center in our new operations building," Kozak said. "Everyone was put through it so they could
In addition to classroom training, he said, each of the credit union's nine branches had a test bank terminal on which
Kozak and the others interviewed agreed that the public relations efforts were a huge part of the conversion's
"It included the changes they could expect and the things that would remain the same," DiFiore said, adding that
"As the date of the conversion approached, we sent out a series of e-mails telling them what was coming," she said.
Kept In The Loop
She said employees also were kept in the information loop with material similar to that sent to members, along with
"Right from the onset we felt it was extremely important that everybody know what was going on so when the
He said the credit union received many favorable comments from members "thanking us for letting them know what