FedComp Stays Committed to Small Credit Unions
After 30 years in business, the Fairfax, Va.-based core data processing system provider FedComp Inc. made the decision to move the 130 credit unions using its Internet banking product VirtualCU onto the Boise, Idaho-based Database Management Services’ more modern HomeCU. That’s left FedComp to put more resources into its flagship product, the FedComp Platinum core data processor, as well as add-on services the company has developed over the years.
Originally written in DOS mode, FedComp’s core data processing product launched in 1982, according to Bob Duff, CEO/founder for FedComp. Duff has worked in the credit union industry since 1974, and his staff members are industry veterans as well. Combined, FedComp staff has just under 300 years of credit union industry experience, said Karen Rys, vice president of operations.
“We made a conscious effort to build a team with experience in the credit union industry,” Rys said.
Small credit unions are FedComp’s forte. In the beginning, it only served clients with less than $25 million in assets. Five years ago, the company expanded to serve credit unions with less than $100 million in assets.
“We have a passion for small credit unions,” Duff said. “Our motto is to provide the same sense of community to credit unions that they provide to their members.”
The company’s total number of credit union clients was at a high in the late 1980s at around 2,000, Duff said. It now has around 900, and Duff attributes the fall to an onslaught of mergers.
“We peaked before the merger heyday,” Duff said. “The small credit unions are who we’re serving, but they’re also the credit unions that are merging. That’s been our biggest external challenge.”
VirtualCU, designed to fulfill the earliest home banking needs of FedComp’s credit union clients, came out in the late 1990s as a website that held a link to a home banking interface, where members could view and print their transactional history. A relationship blossomed between FedComp and DMS in the early 2000s, and FedComp later realized DMS’ HomeCU would be a better fit for VirtualCU users.
The 130 credit unions set to migrate onto HomeCU will continue to use Platinum simultaneously, and FedComp said it views the change as a welcomed technology improvement for those clients.
“We have strong relationships with our clients, and they come to us regularly with ideas of what they’d like to add to their packages,” Rys said. “Sometimes, there’s someone else in the marketplace that we can partner with in order to offer that to them.”
Platinum’s features include a virtual cash drawer and filing cabinet, credit bureau inquiry services, a teller system, loan application tracking capabilities, and inventory management and reconciliation services. Duff emphasized that the system is module-based and allows credit unions to purchase customized sets of features that best fit their needs.
One of Platinum’s clients is the $27.9 million Hopewell, Va.-based Vantage Point Federal Credit Union, which signed on with FedComp in 2007. Vantage Point FCU President/CEO Violet West said she learned about FedComp while doing consulting work for the Virginia Credit Union League. At the time, FedComp was in the midst of a project with the league that entailed implementing technology at small Virginia credit unions.
West said her credit union values Platinum’s custom report writer, which allows users to select desired fields and create custom reports, the system’s ease of use, and the fact it gives tellers a full picture of each member on a single screen.
The $70.3 million, Houston, Texas-based Southern Federal Credit Union began working with FedComp in 1988, when the credit union decided to move from a batch-based data processing system to a Web-based system, according to CEO Jeanne Walker.
Southern FCU Operations Coordinator April Baker, who joined the credit union in 2001, said she likes that Platinum allows staff members to import member profile photos, email members directly, select customized color schemes and block specified content through the system’s security settings.
Baker added FedComp ensures its clients’ voices are heard when it comes to system changes and updates.
“We can make suggestions about enhancements, and they’ll take them into consideration,” Baker said. “Sometimes they’ll take your idea and expand on it themselves. For example, we asked if we could print from a certain screen, and they took that a step further and developed several new printing capabilities. They’re really open to making it more useful for their clients.”
Aside from the Platinum system, FedComp produces forms, stationery, and statement processing and marketing solutions through FedComp Supply, a company it created with Norristown, Pa.-based vendor CU ink. FedComp said it’s also committed to educating clients by putting out a newsletter, and organizing training meetings.
“We believe in keeping our credit unions trained and up to date,” Rys said. “So we enable conversations between our credit unions and find out what kinds of enhancements would help them with their productivity.”
Duff said through its partnerships, such as the one it has with DMS, FedComp can help credit unions stay on the cutting edge of technology and successfully serve a young market. He added that from his point of view, the innovations taking place at credit unions are continuing to grow.
“Technology is our biggest focus, and we’re looking to put out technology that aligns with what younger folks want,” Duff said. “There’s a lot of experimentation going on in credit unions. I’ve really been seeing a lot of risk-taking and new features.”
What’s next for FedComp and its clients? The company said thanks to HomeCU, its credit union clients can now provide mobile and text banking services to their members. Rys added FedComp plans to work with state credit union leagues on technology projects designed to help small credit unions go virtual.
“The level of service that young members are seeking is something that credit unions need to keep up with,” Rys said. “The barrier for credit unions isn’t always the dollars, it’s the internal capacity that’s needed to develop it.”