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<p>CALABASAS, Calif. – The aftereffects of the VIFI/Digital Insight merger were playing out fast and furious at press time. Here’s what was known. VIFI’s Indianapolis headquarters is being shutdown within six months. Also on the VIFI front, all of its 95 employees are being laid off. Termination periods range from 30 days to six months. “All 95 positions have been staged for ultimate elimination. There will be opportunities for those people to be considered for openings that are arising,” said Dale Walker, president/COO of Digital Insight. Those “arising” openings would either be at DI’s Calabasas, Calif. headquarters or its office in Norcross, Georgia. As for VIFI’s Indianapolis headquarters, Walker said the acquisition of VIFI’s 150 CU clients means about a 10% increase in DI’s overall volume. That increase can be handled by DI’s existing data centers, so there’s no need to keep the VIFI office open, he said. There are another 10-12 VIFI employees (above and beyond the 95 being laid off) that will be part of a spin-off of VIFI’s credit/debit EFT business. That business was not part of the DI deal. That division will be spun off into a separate company. A number of VIFI clients Credit Union Times spoke with expressed concerns about what they were hearing through the grapevine – that is that DI planned to merge them off the VIFI system and on to the DI system within six months. Walker said he would not confirm that until all VIFI clients were contacted, but it is a sure bet given that he said DI has no plans of maintaining two separate Net banking systems. “I think it’s kind of strange that they didn’t contact us. That to me smacks of a powerplay, a `we’re going to show you mentality,’ ” said Larry Hoffman, CFO of Anheuser Busch Employees CU. “ It’s been common knowledge that this was going to happen, and our phone hasn’t rung once,” said Hoffman. Hoffman did say he heard about a Webcast scheduled for Friday Feb. 1, which Walker confirmed. “That would have to be pretty generic to talk to 150 customers at once,” said Hoffman. Hoffman said he was surprised that on Jan. 29, the day after the merger closed, the VIFI Web site was already converted to DI, as well as VIFI’s phone system. Walker said DI was planning on calling as many as the 150 clients as possible, but with the deal officially closing on Monday, Jan. 28, it needed at least a few days to make those calls. Kevin Marshall, vice president of Technology for Chartway FCU, said a listserv VIFI had set up to talk about the effects of the merger has been taken down by DI. Chartway has started its own listserv for VIFI clients to utilize to discuss merger effects. Marshall said his CU plans to fully evaluate its Net banking vendor options before making decisions about who will be the CU’s next Net banking vendor. Forget the system conversion news, Marshall said he’s still trying to get over the shock of the merger announcement. “I met with Mike Winter (VIFI’s former president) and Dave Becker (VIFI’s former chairman/CEO) and had been assured there was no intention of selling out. This came as quite a surprise. On the flip-side to that there are more and more options available for credit unions now,” said Marshall. He said Chartway will evaluate other Net banking options, and there’s no guarantee that it will or will not become a DI customer. Walker however said that just about all of the 150 VIFI clients are obligated by their contracts to turn into DI clients. “Most of them are on contracts that expire in the future. They have to stay with us and we have to honor those contracts,” said Walker. Walker did say that as part of its financial forecasting as a publicly-held company, it has figured in a certain number of VIFI client losses. He said some CUs may eventually jump because of price. “The VIFI price is a little lower than our price on average. We have a suite of products that VIFI doesn’t have. We’re quite optimistic as we work with VIFI clients, we can show them the added advantages,” said Walker. Walker also noted potential VIFI client concerns over customer service. He quoted a CUES survey that had VIFI ranked higher than DI in customer service. Walker said DI’s customer service is now as good as VIFI’s, but the reason it may have slipped a few years back is the three acquisitions DI made in 2000. One point of contention is clearly going to be with bill pay, given that VIFI and DI have different models. VIFI’s is known as the “good funds” model which basically means members have more leeway in deciding when the money comes out of their account when paying a bill online. Most EBP transactions involve the cutting and mailing of a check, so this model allows for members to essentially get the float as if they mailed a check. DI’s model calls for debiting the member’s account once they slate a bill to be paid online. While members lose float, it does ensure that funds are available once the online bill payment is scheduled. “I’m reluctant to say anything to the press prior to communications (with VIFI clients). It’s a big concern of the customers. Some people think one model is terrific others think the other is terrific,” said Walker. Walker said these are the types of things that will be covered in the Feb. 1 Webcast. [email protected]</p>

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