The $9 million institution, working with the $8.7 billion BECU, recently expanded to better be able to provide affordable financial services in King County. The upgrade to the Complete Credit Union Solution-sme from its former enterprise platform, an SOSystems solution acquired by Open Solutions in 2005, was helped along by a donation of a portion of the upgrade and licensing fee from the Connecticut-based e-commerce software and services provider.
"Open Solutions has a long-standing relationship with BECU, so when they approached us about ECU's initiative to provide banking services to an underserved community, we were more than happy to donate our technology," said Ross Curtis, Open Solutions' group executive vice president for North America.
In addition to expanded products, the new platform will enable ECU to reach out in a mobile environment. For instance, the credit union staffers visit 16 different social service agency locations to help people open accounts, make deposits and apply for small loans.
Brenda Kurz, CEO of the 1,500-member ECU, said, "Our goal is to provide access to quality financial services to create lasting financial stability for our community, and to specifically meet the diverse needs of lower to moderate-income families while continuing to deliver value to middle and upper income families. With Open Solutions' support, we're able to achieve that and we look forward to our continued relationship with them."
State Department FCU to Deploy
VSoft Worldwide Check Capture
State Department Federal Credit Union plans to go global with remote check capture.
The $1.1 billion institution said it will be using the Agile Merchant-Web check-capture solution from VSoft Corp. of Atlanta to first serve its organizational accounts at schools, commissaries and recreation associations across the country.
That will be followed by implementation at the department's more than 250 embassies around the world, offering savings in time and money as members can scan checks at their offices and send them electronically to the credit union.
The first such deployment already has taken place at the U.S. Embassy in the North African nation of Tunisia.
"The demand for merchant capture services arose predominantly from our overseas members," said Charlie Roberts, chief information officer at State Department FCU in Alexandria, Va. "Using the VSoft system, we can now offer immediate deposit to all of our international members, and by eliminating international courier expenses, we have drastically cut costs."
It also makes the money available faster and allows members to consolidate deposits at a single institution, the company said.
"Paper lag means added cost and lost float. This is accentuated for the large number of checks from outside U.S. borders," said Vijay Balakrishnan, chief operating officer at VSoft, which said it now serves more than 1,700 financial institutions around the world. "This deployment of remote capture on a global scale is an excellent example of the tangible benefits of Straight Through Image Processing by shrinking the distance between capture and clearing."
State Department FCU serves State Department employees worldwide, as well as other SEGs that include NCUA employees.
Fiserv Completes XP2 Migration
Fiserv Inc. said the migration of credit unions using its XP2 processing platform is now complete, including all those formerly using the FOCUS XP system.
There now are 240 credit unions running the system, including 66 using the latest version, Release 15, and they represent nearly 10% of all credit unions of more than $500 million in assets, according to Wisconsin-based Fiserv.
"The completion of our clients' migration to XP2 represents a major milestone for Fiserv and the credit unions that rely on our technology solutions," said Naseer Nasim, segment executive for the XP2 solution from Fiserv. "With all of our former Focus XP clients on the XP2 solution, we will be able to devote even more of our considerable resources to the system's continual enhancement."
The company said that client credit union involvement was key to the development, testing and migration process of the XP2 platform, which uses a .NET development framework and an IBM DB2 relational database to ease data access and third-party integration.
"As we embrace new ways to improve our members' financial lives, we expect to put XP2 features to even greater use, especially in areas like cross selling at the individual member level," said Larry Biernacki, CEO at $730 million Arkansas FCU, an early adopter of XP2.
Release 15 includes streamlined account creation, automated verification of deposit, teller capture, automated loan rewards, and a member loyalty capability that automates the maintenance of marketing promotions. To date, 66 credit unions are live with Release 15, and 55 more have committed to upcoming installations, the company said.
Wescom Resources Group Offers
Programming Toolbox for Symitar
Wescom Resources Group is offering credit unions running on the Symitar Episys host system a set of cost-saving tools such as electronic notices and templates for commonly used host system reports.
The tech CUSO of the $3.2 billion Wescom Credit Union said the package is the first of a new line of products aimed at helping credit unions improve efficiency and reduce costs.
The first programming toolbox also includes an automated hold decisioning engine that proactively sets a check deposit hold base on each member account and a "goodnight optimizer" utility that checks for errors and verifies coding in end-of-day processing tasks.
"In today's economy, credit unions are really searching for any way to reduce operating costs without compromising member service. Our programming toolbox products are easy to deploy, and can provide immediate benefits in hard dollar cost savings or reduced workload," said John Best, vice president/chief technology officer at WRG.
He said Wescom CU already is saving $5,000 a week using the eNotices solution, which creates electronic versions of notices, significantly reducing costs of postage and third-party preparation and delivery.
WRG, based in Pasadena, Calif., said it now provides its solutions-which also include online banking, bill pay, remote deposit, ACH, automated lending and new member applications-to more than 230 credit unions.