Oryx Credit Union has become the most recent convert to a client-server system, manifesting a trend toward distributed computing among these financial institutions.

The Dallas-based credit union, with $53 million of assets and 6,500 members, ended its servicing arrangement with Electronic Data Systems Corp. to bring its operations in-house. It is using a client-server system that - unlike many such networks - will not be linked to a mainframe.

Oryx will run its core processing functions on Newtrend's Credit Union Business Environment, or Cube, system.

Oryx's decision to move its small operation in-house onto personal computers was driven by the need to compete against bigger players in the busy Dallas marketplace and by a belief in client-server technology, according to R.J. Walters, a vice president at the credit union.

"Our advantage has always been in finding programs and technologies that give us a competitive edge over larger financial institutions," Mr. Waiters said. "Cube really does that. It pushes us into the forefront of technology."

The credit union hired a consultant to help it decide on a new core system after terminating a seven-year service bureau contract, Mr. Watters said.

Credit union executives chose Cube for its loan origination functions and optical disk storage capability, as well as for the low cost of upgrading a PC-based system, he added.

The credit union, whose member base includes employees of Oryx Energy Co. and more than a dozen other Texas companies, will also use the system to offer members profitability analysis and telephone voice-response services.

Cube runs on a Novell operating system, with DOS and Windows on the front end. Oryx's system will operate on Unisys hardware.

About a dozen credit unions are now using Cube, which was introduced in January 1993.

Although most of these are small to midsize institutions, Orlando-based Newtrend plans to target larger credit unions after taking Cube to a Windows NT operating system next year. The largest customer so far is 50,000-member Pacific International Business Machines Federal Credit Union.

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