circuit board background, technology illustration, christmas gift

Dear Santa...

With visions of data security dancing in their heads, credit union executives’ holiday wish lists probably look a little different from most.

For the sixteenth consecutive year, Credit Union Journal asked top technology execs from credit unions around the nation to share what technology “wishes” would make their 2018 more proactive, productive and exciting.

Read on to learn what new innovations IT professionals are hoping to get for their credit unions, this year—including something decidedly low-tech: more staff.
Adam Siruchek, Hudson Heritage FCU.jpg

Another employee, please

Adam Siruchek, assistant vice president of Information Technology for Hudson Heritage Federal Credit Union, is hoping that he finds a new data security specialist underneath his proverbial tree.

“My wish is to sharpen our focus to even more aggressively pursue our already robust information security [platform], and specifically add a data security position,” he said.

The $378 million Middletown, NY-based CU supports 40,000 members at 12 branch locations as well as 150 employees. Siruchek noted that the IT department is staffed with four employees and one temporary employee.

Siruchek and his team are currently in the “final phases of transitioning to a virtual desktop infrastructure environment.” This process, he added, will allow the CU to centrally manage software, applications, patching and device management.

When asked the chances of his 2018 wish being realized, he responded: “Highly likely given the ever-increasing number of threats to information and data.”
Brad Aspgren, American Airlines FCU.jpg

Dreaming of a new data center

Across the nation in Fort Worth, Texas, American Airlines Federal Credit Union collectively wishes to successfully move its data center from its headquarters building to a new co-location data center, explained SVP Technology & Innovation Brad Aspgren.

Aspgren said this move aligns with the building and moving of the $6.8 billion CU’s new headquarters that is scheduled for 2019. “These will be located a half mile from its current location,” he noted.

“This will improve power, connectivity and HVAC redundancy than our current data center,” said Aspgren who added that the CU supports 690 employees, 65 of which are in the IT department, 47 branches and 247,000 members.

When asked what are the chances that this wish will be granted, Aspgren summed it up in one word: “High.”
Alan Watson, Catholic FCU.jpg

If it's not too much to ask...

Early in 2016, the $347 million Saginaw, Mich.-based Catholic Federal Credit Union partnered with Member Driven Technologies (MDT) to handle its core processing platform. “Everything is new for us,” noted President and CEO Alan Watson.

“The conversion process was well-organized and methodical and our internal team was ready,” said Watson. “We are happy to be running the Symitar platform and a lot of other ancillary products, including a new mobile product that is vastly superior and more reliable than what we had previously.”

After undertaking a core conversion, many executives might hold off on a holiday tech wish until 2019, but Watson had his pen and paper ready for old Saint Nick. He wants to add a synergy administrator to his team of 100 employees, five of whom serve in the IT department.

“We use Symitar’s Synergy Document Management system, which is an incredibly powerful imaging tool. Documents can be centralized, decentralized or both and document search and retrieval is amazingly fast and accurate,” said Watson. “We are ready to take our administration to the next level and manage our own documents and cabinets within Synergy so we can be self-sufficient in making changes of this type as well.”

On the heels of a successful core conversion, Watson, with a little help from his new friends, has high hopes that his 2018 wish will be realized.

“I expect this to be a sure thing. MDT knows that their clients rely on them for the delivery of new products and services,” Watson suggested. “MDT has worked hard to streamline implementation processes and procedures, so I expect the implementation to be straightforward.”
Chad Ritchie, Solarity CU.jpg

Freedom from 'monoliths'

Yakima, Wash.-based Solarity Credit Union’s CIO Chad Ritchie seeks to change a tech paradigm in 2018. He wants to do away with legacy systems, an industry norm that he said has resulted in “monolithic vendors” that provide closed, proprietary, end-to-end solutions that “dominate” the CU space.

“Solarity must be agile and provide meaningful experiences to our members and potential members independent of our vendors’ capabilities,” said Ritchie. “We are doing that through decoupling our vendor dependencies and taking ownership of our experience layer.”

To this end, Ritchie’s tech wish list for 2018 is adopting APIs and cloud services platforms.

“As for the cloud, our migration wraps us around the end of this year,” he said. “We already have some APIs deployed, and while it is an ongoing and iterative strategy, we no longer allow any new vendors to do business with us unless they provide APIs at project kickoff.”

Ritchie remains optimistic that the transition will be both smooth and completed in the coming year. “The likeliness of this wish being implemented is 100 percent,” he said.