SAN DIEGO – For 17 years credit union data processor Symitar Systems here has only offered credit unions one processing option – those days are over. Symitar, which has only provided in-house core processing solutions since opening its doors, is now offering a service bureau version of its Conductor core processing solution. “Over the years credit unions have come to us and asked if we had a service bureau offering. We’ve always had to say no. I think we’ve had more requests recently,” said Kathy Hooker, national sales manager of Symitar Systems. There are some rumblings among processors that more and more CUs are looking for service bureau processing. The two primary reasons cited are lower costs and ease of administration. Hooker said it can be cheaper for some CUs, especially smaller ones, to operate in a service bureau environment, but you can’t make that a blanket statement for all CUs. The idea is that if a CU is running in service bureau mode it does not need to have as much IT experience on staff. That can be a big money-saver given that IT salaries are on the rise. A just-released CUES survey found that salaries for IT executives are rising faster than any other executive position at credit unions. Base salaries for IT executives were up 9.47% this year according to the survey. “The cost of maintaining highly-skilled employees, and the cost of maintaining technology has become more and more expensive. I think credit unions will always look to the service bureau as an answer,” said Hooker. The Symitar move is a good example of how once independent processors are benefitting from having a large parent company. Symitar, long an independent company, was acquired by banking processor Jack Henry & Associates a few years back. Jack Henry already has the service bureau infrastructure in place to support Symitar’s service bureau offering. In fact, initially there won’t even be any Symitar employees at the main data center in Allen, Texas where the product will come from, said Hooker. This location also serves as an R&D center for Conductor. “They (Jack Henry) have paved the way for us from the infrastructure side, so we’re able to key off their knowledge,” said Hooker. Bruce Cormode, president of Symitar, said clients who choose service bureau, but eventually want to convert to Symitar’s in-house version, will find the process very easy. “A credit union using Conductor in a service bureau environment can switch to an in-house deployment with virtually no conversion at all,” said Cormode. Symitar has approximately 350 CU clients. [email protected]

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