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SAN DIEGO – From CUs jumping on the aggregation bandwagon to almost daily announcements of CUs offering wireless banking, the credit union tech scene is as trendy as it gets. CUSO Financial Services here may be kicking off a new trend – wireless brokerage. The CUSO, which has 58 CU partners, has inked a deal with wireless enabler SensCom, San Diego, to wireless-enable CFS’ online brokerage solution. “I see the other large brokerages moving in that direction. For credit unions to continue to compete in this area, they’re going to have to be able to compete on service. Credit unions are already the leaders in adopting wireless banking,” said Valorie Seyfert, president and co-founder of CFS. Seyfert, who prior to co-founding CFS was in the brokerage industry, said she helped found CFS because she wanted to assist credit unions in meeting their members’ investment needs. Along those lines CFS couldn’t ignore the wireless factor any longer. Initially, CUs using CFS’ online brokerage solution will be able to give their members wireless access to portfolio values and transaction history, but Seyfert said the next phase will be wireless brokerage transactions. “That is one of our goals. First we’re going to set it up and look at the number of users and then look at adding transaction capabilities,” said Seyfert. Robin Richmond, SensCom’s executive vice president for marketing and strategic alliances, believes that online brokerage is probably the best example of where wireless and a financial service makes sense. “Timeliness and accessibility are issues extremely attractive to consumers, particularly enabling people to react to changing market conditions. Mobile wireless and brokerage service is so inextricably intertwined,” said Richmond, nothing that the TowerGroup expects wireless brokerage users to number 28 million by 2005. Richmond said credit unions have been asking SensCom to offer a wireless-enabled brokerage platform. In the case of CFS and SensCom, it was a tech-savvy credit union that got the two together. “We kind of matched CFS and SensCom together,” said Charlie Lai, president of Fairwinds CU’s tech CUSO, Fairwinds.net. “We went live with wireless home banking and bill payer in January. We didn’t want to stop there,” said Lai. The CU was looking for wireless brokerage services. Fairwinds was originally utilizing CUNA Mutual’s CUNA Brokerage online brokerage piece, but left that system for CFS’ because it didn’t think CUNA Mutual’s system had the name recognition with the members. Fairwinds was attracted to CFS’ system because it is powered by E*Trade, a name most consumers are familiar with. “The E*Trade name is an advantage with this product,” said Lai. Fairwinds has about 4,000 members using its online brokerage solution. The CU launched wireless online banking and bill pay in January and has just 200 users so far. “That’s nowhere near the 30% penetration rate the industry is looking for, but it’s something we expect to grow,” said Lai. Richmond envisions the day when a credit union offering members wireless brokerage service will be able to send out a message to a member’s cell phone or PDA alerting them of some movement in a particular stock. “If Cisco falls to a level where you want to purchase stock, an alert can be directed to a member’s phone. We’re already doing things like this,” said Richmond. One place SensCom is doing this is with online lending at Mountain America Credit Union. SensCom set up Mountain America’s wireless service so that members viewing rates on their cell phone can hit one “hot key” on the phone that connects the members with the CU’s call center where they can apply for a loan. Richmond said SensCom can wireless-enable just about any online service a CU offers, but some are harder than others. For instance, online lending applications over a cell phone might be a bit awkward right now, but Richmond said CUs that have integrated online apps that can pre-populate a member’s info could make sense over a wireless device. Also, look for wireless aggregation at a CU near you coming soon. “SensCom is about to sign a re-seller agreement with an aggregation company where we are are going to integrate wireless, aggregation and online banking,” said Richmond, who at press time wouldn’t reveal which aggregation vendor it was. [email protected]

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