What IT Execs Want From Santa This Year

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CRM will resurface in 2005 if some credit union IT managers get what they want from Santa this year.

IT officers at North American credit unions of all sizes-from $50 million to $5 billion in assets-told The Credit Union Journal which technologies they're wishing for in 2005.

The Comeback Kid

This year, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) joins Internet and core processing enhancements at the top of CU wish lists.

As vendors and analysts enter their fourth year of pitching CRM technology, some CUs are finally ready to use it.

"The time is now right for CRM implementation," said Butch Leonardson, chief information officer at $5-billion BECU in Seattle. "We have a compelling vision of the desired member path and member experience. Second, we have considerable skills now in project management, data transformation and integration."

North Shore CU in North Vancouver, British Columbia and Wescom CU in Pasadena, Calif. are also unwrapping CRM projects.

Wescom's beta CRM platform shares an integrated split-screen with the CU's core processing system on employee desktops, according to Rob Guilford, senior vice president of IT at the $2.9-billion CU.

Fred Cook, chief information officer at North Shore Credit Union, said the $1.5-billion CU wants to integrate its CRM engine with Business Intelligence and Enterprise Content Management.

And Business Analytics and Intelligence tools are in the wings at $81.5 million GHS FCU in Binghamton, NY, as well, said Lisa Minor, vice president of Information Systems

Internet Shake-down

"We want to implement and refine new and existing on-line delivery systems," said Todd Kenthack, president at $110-million Pacific Resource CU in Los Angeles. Some of the more costly services may get the ax if active use is low, he said.

A new online mortgage application goes live at Pacific Resource in March, Kenthack added. The $88-million Central Coast FCU wants to follow suit with online lending and instant decisioning, according to Michael Blanksma, operations officer at the Seaside, Calif. credit union.

"Instant decisioning would be a valuable tool in helping increase loans, especially for our indirect lending program with the local car dealerships," said Blanksma.

Many of Pennsylvania State Employees CU's plans focus on the Internet channel and include a redeveloped account processing system for online membership applications and an online banking upgrade to PSECU's CUSO's platform, according to Rick Long, vice president of IT at the $2.3-billion PSECU in Harrisburg, Penn.

Public Health Service (PHS) FCU got what it wanted last year -secure online chat. Now, the wish for 2005 is to "promote the channel and offset any fears that members might have so that they will give it a try," said Jonathan Rhodes, president at the $55-million CU in Rockville, Md.

Cut to the Core

Both Fairwinds CU and San Antonio CU want to switch to a new core system, according to Charlie Lai, vice president of Information Systems at $1.1-billion Fairwinds in Orlando, Fla. and Dale Marroquin, vice president of Information Technology at $1.7 billion SACU in Texas.

Meanwhile, Peoples CU, North Miami, Fla. hopes to integrate service center transactions with its front-line data processing system, according to Jeff Miller, president at the $55-million credit union.

Windows vs. Linux

Jerry Johnson, vice president of Information Technology at $400-million March Community CU in Moreno Valley, Calif., will continue to straddle two operating systems. "I want to complete our migration to Windows 2000 and Active Directory and continue to implement Linux where appropriate."

Down with Paper

Both GHS FCU and $160-million Pinnacle FCU want email and document images to replace the paper pile-up.

"Our managers need to react more quickly to changing results without waiting to be handed paper reports," explained Jeanne Chichelo, senior vice president at Pinnacle in Edison, NJ.


David Reis at Atlantic CU in Newtown Square, Penn. also wants things to go faster-by increasing network infrastructure speed with gigabit network connections all the way to new Hyper-Threading desktops.

"As credit unions try to serve more members with the same or less staff, we have demonstrated that faster PCs increase worker productivity," explained the $290-million CU's vice president of Information Technology.

Up, Up, Up

Calvin Curdt, vice president of Information Systems at $680-million Anheuser-Busch Employees' CU in St. Louis, hopes to deliver 100% system availability at all delivery channels.

Staying Home

At least two CUSOs will also get some business-from their own credit unions. Wescom Credit Union plans to go with Wescom Resources Group, and Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union wants eCU Technologies to deliver certain products.

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