Lafayette FCU Is Launching Business Analytics Solution
o The 14,000-member credit union is using technology that developed at global enterprises and has moved downstream.
o The SAS software will be used to build a data warehouse bringing together daily information from multiple sources, including core processing and lending solutions.
o Member histories will be built and predictive modeling will be used to help determine such things as product offerings and relationship pricing.
Lafayette Federal Credit Union is joining the business analytics revolution, deploying the kind of sophisticated technology that used to be found only at big corporations to help it better understand the daily nuts and bolts of its business and better deal with what's ahead.
The $351 million, 14,000-member institution in Kensington, Md., is in the process of launching the Banking Intelligence Architecture solution from SAS, the Cary, N.C., software giant with solutions in place at more than 45,000 sites worldwide.
The system will be used to integrate data from multiple sources with reporting and predictive analysis functions. Daily financial reports will be automatically produced and volumes of transactional data will be analyzed for trends and patterns. Business rules can be coded in a comprehensive fashion and there also will now be a consistent method for organizing the credit union's products and services.
"Predictive insight is going to be the biggest benefit," said Ronda Polhamus, the credit union's chief administrative officer. The credit union also expects to be able to share information more effectively, for instance, by allowing individual managers to organize and track data from their departments, analyze it and share it above and below.
"Being better informed about our organization, based on better data, will help us make smarter management decisions," Polhamus said.
Bringing all that data into one place is the crucial first step to making sense of it, and it all begins at the center of that network of applications, the core processing system, the credit union said.
"Everything at our credit union revolves around our core system, a Fiserv DataSafe system. We have all our member accounts and transactions there and then from there we connect to separate systems for lending, mortgage servicing, business intelligence, and other things, and we're going use SAS to bring this all together into one unified data warehouse," said Lafayette systems analyst Andrew Mason.
High on the to-do list is tracking members' first 18 months of membership. "We want to watch from day one what kinds of accounts they open with us and at the end of that period, look at how that relationship grows," Polhamus said. "That will be useful to our business development team and our branching staff and help us have good, profitable member relations."
David Wallace, global financial services marketing manager at SAS, said such data make a good starting point that over time will "produce a member lifetime value that you can then use to make decisions such as relationship pricing and new products and services to roll out."
Polhamus said she also is going to focus on product tracking-such as upcoming CD maturity dates, monthly payoff and projected income from mortgage payments-and on restructuring the credit union's general ledger to do better profit-and-loss reporting.
"Mostly we're going to find a place to start and go from there, because this type of information is only possible in real time. Our transactional system is not designed to report that kind of history, so we're going to use SAS to store that information now and use it as a starting point and move on from there," she said.
Mason said the reports will be delivered and easily accessed by browser or e-mail. But behind the scenes, it's not plug-and-play. "It's taking a lot of training for us but depending on how shallow you want to go, you can customize reports to meet your needs pretty quickly," the systems analyst said. "The learning curve can be pretty fast for the front-end user. Someone like Ronda in her job can go get exactly what they asked for the first time and use it for however they need to."