Two Years After Conversion From A Legacy Platform...

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VyStar Credit Union employees are in a groove with their current data processing system, two years after it converted from a legacy platform.

And yet there's still much to learn, according to Terry West, CEO at the $2.9-billion CU.

"We took six months to get a good feel for the new system," said West. "A year later, employees were comfortable using it. And two years later we are seeing emerging efficiencies."

Efficiency was what VyStar was looking for when it converted to the Fidelity Information Services' MISER core solution in 2002.

Vystar (the former Jax Navy CU) had grown to serve nine counties, and needed a core platform that would make peace with other systems, said West.

Now, MISER is directly integrated with nine other systems at VyStar, including lending, Internet banking, middleware and ATM systems, according to Debbie Wilson, VP-Information Systems & Development. More than 40 other systems interface to exchange files with MISER.

Currently with 16 counties and a potential membership of 1.6 million, VyStar is making money with MISER's connectivity, in particular as MISER communicates with VyStar's disparate loan systems, West added.

The MISER system is integrated with LoanCenter, an APPRO Systems, Inc. consumer loan automation software, as well as with mortgage tools provided by Prime Alliance Solutions, Inc.

As a result, VyStar, can offer a wider range of loan products, explained Kathy Bonaventura, senior vice president of Lending at the 326,000-member CU.

"MISER fully supports our mortgage loans and has helped us develop and service a greater number of adjustable rate products," said Bonaventura. The CU offers five adjustable rate mortgage loans, up from just one adjustable rate product, she said.

In addition, VyStar is centralizing lending operations. Consumer loan funds are already disbursed from one location and centralized approvals are planned for early 2005, West said.

Lending is further supported by Fidelity's Business Intelligence platform, ViewPoint.

"MISER has plenty of standard reports to choose from, but ViewPoint has been absolutely critical in analyzing loan portfolios," said Terry Mayne, VyStar's chief information officer.

The SQL-based ViewPoint database is gaining popularity across the credit union for creating what-if scenarios and other custom reports from information stored in MISER, Mayne continued.

"The database has opened up the information in MISER," he said. "It's easy to gain access to the data for analysis, or to feed subsequent processes that have become extremely valuable to the Information Systems & Development area."

West is impressed with MISER's member relationship capabilities. For example, a relationship tool installed in the 'waiting rooms' at all 16 VyStar branches allows service representatives to queue members-as well as record a description and profile of each member in queue, said West.

That way, the next available sales representative can easily identify and greet the member and know what the member needs, he added.

New employees are quick to learn how to use MISER's Windows-friendly environment, which is a big improvement over the previous data-string legacy environment, said West. "It's easier to train employees-period."

Even so, West and Wilson agreed that employees are still on a learning curve. The wealth of information may just be too easy to access for employees who are used to fighting for data.

"VyStar is working to get employees to understand how much information is now available at the click of a button," Wilson said.

CUJ Resources

For more info:

* VyStar CU at www.vystarcu.org

* Fidelity Integrated Financial Solutions at www.fidelityifs.com

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