Weston, Mass., Credit Union Gains Wisdom by Using Credit Union On-Line
Griffin is the manager-treasurer of $4.4 million Turnpike Credit Union in Weston, Mass., and Wisdom is the name of Fiserv Inc.'s accounting suite that Credit Union On-Line Inc. is currently deploying to its client list of 23 credit unions.
"They chose us because we're small. We've been using it since May, and we love it. We love being the guinea pig," said Griffin, whose 1,000 or so members are primarily employees or retirees of the Massachusetts Turnpike or Massachusetts State Police Troop E.
Griffin is using the general ledger and investment functions of the Wisdom suite and said while she can't put a return-on-investment number on the benefits so far, "it's been beautiful, a huge help."
The new software replaces an older system that required the use of multiple screens for even single entries and included only manual opportunities to spot errors.
"Say you had a pre-set list of entries. You'd have to go in and fill those in and then have to generate them and give them a name to print them out, and then you'd be able to know if there was error, and you'd have to go back to the drawing board and start over," Griffin said.
"Now it's all right in front of us. You go in and as soon as you make an entry in the general ledger you know whether or not it's balanced," she said. "You also have the option of the system making investment entries for you or you doing them manually, and at the end of the month, the system spots any discrepancies of what's been accrued and what's been actually paid to you."
Automatic general ledger entries also are a feature and Griffin takes advantage of the ability to make such entries in advance, knowing the system will require reconciliation when that date arrives. "Before I could also only have two months opened at a time, so if I hadn't closed something, it wouldn't let me move ahead," she said.
The ability to customize reports also makes compliance and other tasks easier, she said. "And they're even in color, which is nice," she said.
CUOL, the only data center provider of Fiserv's XP2 enterprise-processing platform, has converted nine credit unions to the Wisdom platform so far, said business analyst Glenn Babikian.
The full suite includes cost center, branch and department accounting functions, accounts payable software, vendor information, laser check printing, asset-liability management and a 5300 Call Report preparation tool.
The Wisdom software is fully integrated with the XP2 core platform, generally requiring only a coding extension for the new functions, Babikian said. He said more extensive deployments require his on-site presence, "but for the most part we can get them set up with remote connections and online training."
He said he also puts a day or two between the cutoff date of the old system and the live date for the new software "to give me time to update all their data and get them current on Wisdom."
The Web training usually consists of two to four days of daily 90-minute sessions, depending on how many Wisdom services are involved, and the process of going live takes about two hours, Babikian said.
"Then I follow up during the next couple days to make sure they're operating smoothly," he said.
Griffin at Turnpike CU said she's still in the learning curve with the Wisdom software. "I'm still working with new transactions that come up," she said. "But I know in the long run it'll probably cut it down to a third of the time from my old system. And just being able to see things that need to be fixed on the screen instead of having to do it from printed reports is saving us a ton of paper."
Griffin has been manager of her credit union for about 10 years and was a board member for about 10 years prior to that. She said her credit union's relationship with CUOL, based in Waltham, Mass., covers most of that company's 30-year history.