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From the March-20, 2002 issue of Credit Union Times Magazine • Subscribe!
Riverside County CU creates an in-house lending system that's saving the CU over $120,000 a year
<p>RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Surf and sun may be on the minds of a lot of young Californians, but for Scott Murray and Jeremiah Worthington, the big thing was creating a home-grown online lending system that's now saving their employer a cool $120,000 a year or so. Using what was available in-house, they led the development of a new online loan application system at 67,000-member Riverside County Credit Union that, in addition to shrinking outsource fees, can generate loan decisions within 45 seconds and let four customer-service representatives change duties from keying in loan app data to actually working with members. The idea for the new system was born while exploring ways to interface Riverside's third-party loan-application solution from LoanLink with the credit union's Symitar core processing system. Murray, a programmer, and Internet manager Worthington discovered that a utility in the Symitar system, named Symconnect, would allow integration between the core system and the credit union's new Experian Fast Start tool that was being brought into allow for fast scoring. With the addition of "several additional matrices," Worthington said, the loan application and underwriting decisions now could be done in house and automated to such an extent that the third-party loan application service was no longer needed and four customer-service reps could concentrate on more productive things than punching in numbers from the 50% (about 1,200) of RCCU's loan applications that came in each month through the Internet. There were challenges during the six-month process, Worthington said. One was having no standards to follow. "We were using Symconnect in a way no other credit union we knew of was doing," he said. They also had to use the Experian system beyond its intended function as a scoring solution. And they had to find ways to blend all this with the home-banking solution they had in place, plus find ways to write all the applications to an external SQL database for backup and make sure applications were queued accurately through all this. Then there was the interface to the actual core system, for which they said the Symconnect utility proved crucial. In creating such an open system, "we now have the ability to interface any of our online products with our operating system," Worthington said. "This allows us to instantly create new accounts and process loan applications more efficiently. Web usage is becoming the norm, and it will only increase as more credit union products and services are offered online," he said. "Our new technology platform was built with this in mind." In-house innovation is becoming a bit of a tradition at RCCU, where other accomplishments have included a share-draft posting program, home banking, account cross selling, Web hosting and electronic board meetings. Worthington, meanwhile, noted that this was his first in-house solution, and that it's not yet complete. Adding instant loan payment information and instant loan funding are on tap for this year. Among the satisfied members is the credit union's chief executive. "Through a series of `what-if' conversations with senior management, it became apparent that our Internet team had found an efficient technology solution - a $10,000-a-month in members savings solution," said Mark Hawkins, CEO of the $400 million community CU. "We embrace this innovative spirit and encourage it among our employees. Jeremiah and Scott are fine examples of it," Hawkins said. "It's this passion that fuels the level of service excellence our members receive, year after year." -firstname.lastname@example.org</p>
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