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How is your core?
At the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions’ 50th Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Credit Union Journal asked attendees how happy they are with their current core processing system. Though the majority of the executives interviewed had mostly good things to say about the system and provider they're using, a couple key themes emerged: 1) those happiest with their systems either cited how easy it was to add and integrate new technology and/or were pleased with the add-ons offered by their core providers; 2) those least happy with their systems pointed to the difficulty and cost of integrating new technology from someone other than their core providers. In other words, it came down to many of the same functionalities and features experts say modern core systems need if a CU hopes to be successful and grow. And, not surprisingly, there were rumblings about how difficult it is to change providers, and how that can dissuade a credit union from taking a closer look at its options.
Tracie Wilcox, On Tap CU - CUJ 062017.JPG
Tracie Wilcox, president and CEO of $237 million On Tap CU, Golden, Colo.
We are very happy with Symitar. It is an open frame platform, so we can link other software to it. Everybody uses it differently and it can be configured multiple ways. Really, keeping up with all the upgrades Symitar offers is our biggest challenge.
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Joe Walsh, Jr., president and CEO of $560 million DIRECT FCU, Needham, Mass.
We are very happy with our core. We have been on it for 30 years. We were on Summit Spectrum for years, and then Summit was purchased by Fiserv. Fiserv continues to put assets into it. Spectrum has a number of the largest credit unions. Some of the larger credit unions in the Boston area are on Spectrum, so I can talk to the CEOs of those credit unions about the direction of the software while at local networking events, which is really nice. It is very easy to add third-party products. In recent years we added mobile banking, mortgage processing and more. It is very effective.
Phil Heinlen, Services Center FCU - CUJ 062017.JPG
Phil Heinlen, CEO of $64 million Services Center FCU, Yankton, S.D.
I use CU*Answers and it is very user-friendly. I am able to get what I need from the system quickly and easily without doing a query. I can pull reports for the board that include charts from the system. The system tells them the information it is supposed to. We are able to add new functions and add-ons such as mobile banking. We are currently adding a Visa component to our existing Mastercards.
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Joe Hutyra, president and CEO of $400 million Educators CU, Waco, Texas
We are on XP from Fiserv, and I am not happy with it. We have had it for 20-plus years. We keep hanging with it. It is functional and we are making it work because old dogs don’t like change. What I don’t like is we have to go through extra screens to make the process happen. Fiserv hosts users groups for us to describe experiences, but it takes six months to a year for a change because it has to go through testing. We have considered changing, especially during the crunch in 2008-2009. There was a fear of what would happen in the market so we did not invest in making a change. We probably will make a decision before I retire.
Rick Allen, Premier Members CU - CUJ 062017.JPG
Rick Allen, president and CEO of $950 million Premier Members CU, Boulder, Colo.
We are on Symitar and yes we are happy. Symitar reacts to whatever we ask of the company. It is a system a lot of people use, so it is not a surprise it works well. We have mobile banking and all products we need to be competitive. Whatever we need to do, we can do.
Jan Roche, State Department FCU - CUJ 062017.JPG
Jan Roche, president and CEO of $1.8 billion State Department FCU, Alexandria, Va.
We are very happy with Symitar. One of the reasons we are so happy is it integrates so well with PSCU, our card processor. Symitar and PSCU have formed a working group with credit union leadership that talks about tighter integration. We switched to Symitar in September 2014. This was a level change for our organization, and it became a bonding experience for our team. It was a culture change for the whole organization. We had been on the same system for 35 years. Now we can add a lot of technology and improve the member experience.
Bret Rigby, TransWest CU - CUJ 062017.JPG
Bret Rigby, president and CEO of $135 million TransWest CU, Salt Lake City
Overall we are happy with Fiserv XP, but one issue I have is the cost of plugging on new technology from an outside company. If I want to collaborate with a fintech company it costs a lot. The revenue model my current core is using is stifling my ability to be creative.
Linda Bodie, Element FCU - CUJ 062017.JPG
Linda Bodie, CEO and chief innovator for $31 million Element FCU, Charleston, W.Va.
I am extremely happy with my core. CU*Answers is a cooperative, and working with a cooperative is like working with other credit unions to make things better for the whole organization. You can share insights, strategies and solutions, and just help each other. CU*Answers is constantly innovating, adding new products. They never sit still.
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Doug Wadsworth, president and CEO of $40 million Tri Cities Community FCU, Kennewick, Wash.
I am extremely happy with our core system. CMC Flex is our provider. They are a smaller company and they develop everything internally – and it always works, which is unusual. They are always Johnny-on-the-spot with new developments. We are a small credit union, but in our area we were the first to roll out bill pay and the first to roll out remote check deposit. CMC is fast, good and the price is really competitive.
Jeff Sermon, Utah Community FCU - CUJ 062017.JPG
Jeff Sermon, president and CEO of $1.2 billion Utah Community FCU, Provo, Utah
We are just 60 days after converting to DNA. We use the Q2 home banking system. DNA has open architecture so we like it. Every conversion has its challenges, particularly member education. People don’t like change. We did 18 months of planning and education leading up to the conversion. I see it as being like life-saving heart surgery. It is necessary to continue to offer top-quality services to our members. Like surgery there is pain, but then you feel better. Our members like the new system so far. We were on the previous system for 20 years. Switching to DNA and Q2 is what we needed.
Jeff Jorgensen, Sioux Empire FCU - CUJ 062017.JPG
Jeff Jorgensen, president of $100 million Sioux Empire FCU, Sioux Falls, S.D.
I love my data processing system. CU*Answers is my best partner and the reason we are growing. I would recommend them for any credit union that wants a partner, not a vendor. I was a customer for four years and liked it so much I joined the board.
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