Thirty-seven years after it powered up its present core, the $2.2 billion Northwest Federal Credit Union based in Herndon, Va., is convertingto Symitar’s Episys core platform, which Northwest will maintain and operate in-house, said CEO Gerrianne “Winky” Burks.
The decision came after a deliberate selection process that took around nine months, said Burks. She added that the conversion is scheduled for full implementation in November, 2013.
The breaking point that forced the decision to convert, said Burks, is that “we couldn’t execute on our strategic plan. We had integration problems.”
As the credit union sought to add new services to better serve its membership it kept bumping into the problem that the existing core was never designed with 21st century services in mind. “We couldn’t keep up. We had 21 products that sit outside the core. It is difficult to get a snapshot view of a member and we wanted that,” said Burks.
Burks said Northwest considered switching to a service bureau-based corebut, “because of the security nature of our field of membership” – Northwest was formed in 1947 to serve employees of the Central Intelligence Agency – “we decided we did not want to go that way.”
She added that to her the must-have for going ahead with a core conversion was, would it improve the member experience? “I became convinced it would,” said Burks.
In a prepared statement, she elaborated: “The complexity of our existing core combined with the number of ancillary systems made critical updates nearly impossible in this regulatory environment. It was requiring an ever-increasing allocation of resources just to maintain the system and keep it in compliance, and development of new products had to take a back seat.
“Even more important, our standards for system infrastructure and security are of the greatest consideration with the nature of our membership, and Symitar was able to deliver on all of our requirements in this area. We know that this solution will provide a better member experience, enable us to be quicker to market with new offerings, and provide us with new efficiencies.”