Initial CUFX Feedback Positive
The Credit Union Financial eXchange, which was developed to mitigate core integration costs and redundancies in areas such as online and mobile banking, is faring well in some of its initial runs, judging from credit union and vendor success stories.
More than 75 credit unions and vendors developed and designed CUFX as an open, vendor-neutral, broad integration standard led by the CUNA Technology Council. Its goal is to create and promote a single integration standard utilized by the credit union industry.
Its specifications cover transaction sets, message formats, communication protocols and guidelines based on industry best practices. CUFX has 128 XML Schema Definitions that cover areas such as new member account openings, personal finance management, and online and mobile banking. The XSDs specify how to formally describe the elements in an Extensible Markup Language document.
The core objectives of CUFX proponents are to improve the member experience by enabling a greater range of seamlessly-integrated service offerings, innovation and speed-to-market within the industry. Achieving this requires the removal of technology barriers, a reduction in integration complexities and operating expenses, and providing the CUFX standard and support with no direct cost or fees.
Tim Tibbals, director enterprise architecture for the $2 billion Vernon Hills, Ill.-based Baxter Credit Union, said, “We had an incredible number of vendors we had to integrate; we wanted to support this initiative to lower our overall costs.”
The 200,000-member credit union used CUFX successfully during two projects so far.
The credit union enlisted the Radnor, Penn.-based payments platform FreedomPay to allow members to utilize security badges as stored value cards to pay for meals in SEG cafeterias.
“It came down to how we integrate our environment with their environment at FreedomPay,” Tibbals stated, adding that FreedomPay got excited because they realized once they integrated with Baxter, they could use the same format with all credit unions.
FreedomPay oversees the token validation, security and account management.
“Overall goals were met by allowing the member to streamline the opening, refund the accounts and see their balances,” Tibbals explained.
Baxter's next CUFX opportunity was with PFM and MX (formerly Money Desktop), which facilities money management. MX allows for single sign-on using CUFX 1.0 security services and uses CUFX services to pull account balances and transaction information.
Currently, those services sit on top of middleware at the credit union, however, Tibbals noted that in the long run, it will support them directly from the core.
Tina Baker, director of business development for KIVA Group, Inc. and a member of the CUFX Vendor Advisory Board discussed how the Bedford, N.H.-based KIVA, which supplies multi-channel solutions to financial institutions, used CUFX to execute NMA transactions through an Enterprise Service Bus. An ESB is an architecture model used for designing and implementing communication throughout a service-oriented architecture.
“Our goal was to complete a successful proof of concept,” Baker said. As a result, KIVA executed NMA transactions using the CUFX standard.
“Since we have the Bus in place using CUFX messaging, we can reuse it for any CUFX client, vendor and/or core,” Baker said. The process also reduced integration time from six to eight weeks (for typical point-to-point integrations) to three to five days.
Los Angeles-based CU Wallet utilized CUFX-formatted messages.
“We did not implement the full breadth of the CUFX standard, instead, we focused on member information and card information,” Tom Stacy, director of architecture for CU Wallet, said.
CU Wallet uses CUFX objects for member and credit card information.
Data integration using CUFX is key to the platform success of the Atlanta-based eDea, a PFM solutions provider. Reginald Maisonneuve, president and founder, and Simhadri Yadavalli, co-founder, explained that CUFX's structure facilitates integration, reusability and the ability to build translation adapter components to adapt to non-compliant systems.