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MADISON, Wis. – Four months after its competitor – Clarke American – announced it decided not to renew its national endorsement agreement with CUNA Strategic Services, John H. Harland Co. has stepped in to the spot and reached a four-year agreement with CUNA & Affiliates making the company the strategic alliance provider for share drafts for credit unions. The agreement is effective immediately. As part of the multi-year agreement, CUNA and participating leagues will market Harland’s share draft printing services to credit unions throughout the country. CUs will also have access to Harland’s array of products and services that include: * UltradataT – integrates Unix or Windows 2000 host processing for CUs with lending, retail and branch operations, electronic banking and marketing applications; * CuServT – a low-cost, PC-based CU solution for more than 300 small CUs; * Touche’T – an enterprisewide CRM system designed for financial institutions that includes contact management, sales tracking, referral management, problem resolution, campaign management, and schedule management features; * Max$ellT – MCIF software that provides turnkey, enterprisewide access to account, individual and household level data. It can be integrated with a CU’s CRM system; * “Harland Institute for High Performance Credit Union Knowledge” – a computer-based educational program designed to provide CU employees with background and training so they can serve members more efficiently. CUNA’s endorsement may help Harland boost its share of the credit union share draft printing market – a company source said Harland had about 25% of the financial institutions-market and the company doesn’t break out credit unions – but it will be going up against a plan announced by Clarke American when it ended its 20-year endorsement agreement with CSSI (CU Times, July 17) to pursue direct endorsed relationships with individual credit union leagues. At press time, the New Mexico Credit Union League had announced it had re-signed with Clarke American. ` The company said discussions were also in the works with other leagues, but Clarke American said the names and number of the specific leagues was confidential. Don Dolan, vice president and general manager of Clarke American’s Credit Union Division said, “In the past three weeks, we have signed a number of state league agreements.” Karen Crocker, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Harland said she “couldn’t comment on what Clarke American does.” She added that, “Harland brings a lot to the table, not just check printing services. Because of our multitude of products and services, we offer the greatest strength, and our ability to leverage that would drive a greater value for leagues’ relationships with us.” Crocker offered that “Clarke American isn’t competing in the same arena as Harland.” Wes Millar, vice president of strategic alliances for CUNA & Affiliates said whether leagues choose to give Harland their business or sign agreements with Clarke American or another check printer, “the choice is theirs. Our endorsement agreement with Harland gives the leagues a solid choice, but it’s one they’ll make.” In researching other check printing vendors, Millar said CUNA & Affiliates “had discussions” with other vendors including Deluxe and Liberty. “They were all interested to some degree, and they all have solid programs for credit unions,” he said. “What we liked about Harland was their breadth of product line and their understanding of the credit union marketplace,” Millar said. The process for selecting an endorsed vendor varies and can take from up to eight or nine months to as little as 60 days, depending on the product area, the number of providers and the risk involved, Millar explained. In Harland’s case, Millar said CUNA & Affiliates was in talks with the company since January 2002. Even through the association’s endorsement agreement didn’t expire until June 30, “we knew in January that our relationship with Clarke American would terminate,” said Millar. CUNA & Affiliates considers several factors when choosing a vendor for an endorsement agreement. Among them, said Millar, are: * Is there a need in the credit union market for a solution or service from the provider? * Can the provider, by combining its strategy with that of CUNA & Affiliates, add value to the product offering? * Can the provider offer the products and services nationally? * Does the culture of the provider fit with the credit union movement’s culture? In addition, CUNA & Affiliates does due diligence on the provider to make sure the business can meet its goals and enhance and develop the product offering. In the case of selecting a new check printing provider for an endorsement agreement, five state league service corporation representatives were also involved in the selection process. They developed the documents that were sent to the providers considered asking for information on the companies’ business and product strategies. -

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