S1 Staying the Course on Plan to Get Deeper into Credit Union Market
ATLANTA -- A focus on business services, integrated end-user experience and partnerships is going to help drive S1 Corp.'s new push for credit union business, the company says. "We've hired a sales team to specially focus on the credit union space," says Baron Unbehagen, senior director of product marketing and alliances for Atlanta-based S1. The effort began late last year with a reorganization following S1's acquisition of Mosaic Software, an online cash-management specialist. Mosaic's established Postillion platform has helped give S1 the ability to soon launch a new set of products backed by a new team "to do what we need to do to increase our footprint among credit unions," Unbehagen says.
S1, which itself began as an Internet bank and then became a provider of technology instead, now has approximately 950 financial institutions using its voice banking solutions and about 500 using S1 software for online retail banking and cash management. "Cash management and business services are essentially the same from our perspective," Unbehagen says. "We have a number of credit unions using the Mosaic cash-management software for ATMs but only a handful on our Internet banking platforms." S1, known for a client list that includes such heavyweights as Bank of America and SunTrust, actually has a large number of small- to mid-size clients, Unbehagen says. Its online banking customers average about $250 million in assets and the dozen or so credit unions on that list average approximately $125 million.
That short list includes Texas Tech Federal Credit Union, a $50.5 million institution with just under 10,000 members and three branches at the university's Lubbock campus. Texas Tech FCU first became an S1 client several years ago when the company bought Q UP, an Internet banking firm with close ties to the university.
"We're either their first or one of their very first, credit unions and we weren't sure what the situation would be, but it ended up being very seamless," says the CU's Manager/CEO Ellen Hein. "We had seen their product at some local community banks in Lubbock, and while we're a credit union, when it comes to Internet banking, it's really no different."
Operating with an IT consultant but no full-time IT staff, Hein says Texas Tech FCU will be implementing some new service packs, as well as a new multi-level authentication solution from RSA Security.
"We also have renewed our contract with S1 because we were pleased with the product and service. We extended it out five years and were given some benefit for doing that," she adds. The CU uses S1 for online banking, bill pay and Web hosting services and has a real-time interface between S1's tools and the CU's core processing system from XP Systems. S1's software integrates with about 30 different core processors and the company plans to continue to build on those relationships. Unbehagen says he has been "spending time at Symitar conferences, building relationships with Symitar and others tightly tied to the Symitar space." For instance, S1 is working on a Symitar interface with eCU Technologies, the tech CUSO of Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union that focuses on integrating that popular core processor's systems with other third-party platforms. Unbehagen says "tight product integration focused on the end-user experience and very predictable cost models" are among his firm's selling points. "Institutions know what they'll be paying each month because it's not based on user activity that could actually drive up fees," he says. And expect to see more signings by S1 in credit union land, the S1 executive says. Although he was reluctant to predict how many, "we wouldn't have invested in this space if we weren't serious about it."