Call it an especially long courtship.
The search for a new core system at the $393 million Vermont Federal Credit Union began in the fall of 2011 and it was not finally resolved until late January, 2013, said Lance Potter, its senior vice president of information systems.
That was when the Burlington-based institution signed a contract with Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv which, shortly before, had announced its acquisition of Open Solutions Inc. and that company’s flagship product, the DNA core system.
Vermont Federal had in fact decided on DNA months earlier, in August 2012, remembered Potter. The credit union had determined it wanted to move off the core – Fiserv’s Spectrum –that it had been on at least since the mid-1980s, said Potter.
Pretty quickly the search landed on DNA, said Potter, because of the core’s advanced features, including a member-centric approach, rather than the account-centric approach that defined Spectrum and cores of a like vintage.
Another DNA advantage, said Potter, is more efficient and flexible loan processing. “We will be able to do it in the core and won’t have to use third-party systems,” he said.
As for why the long lag between deciding on DNA and contracting to go forward with the conversion, Potter indicated the credit union’s concerns about OSI’s financial stability, given its high debt load (around $1 billion at the time of the Fiserv acquisition).
“The process went longer than we had anticipated but we did not have to be off our core at a specific time. We could wait,” said Potter, who indicated that OSI had suggested solutions for its financial woes were in the works, although “they offered no specific details,” he said.
“OSI was open with us, they said they were looking to address their finances,” said Potter.
“When it was announced that Fiserv was acquiring OSI we were pleased,” said Potter. [The decision to sign with DNA] “required little due diligence on our part,” mainly because Vermont Federal already had several decades of experience working with Fiserv and knew the company well.
Potter added that Vermont Federal had “just now started our formal conversion process.”