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VALLEY FORGE, Pa. – Credit union data processor USERS is so confident these days that it’s even making one of its own clients an Authorized Business Partner. USERS recently announced that FORUM Solutions, a tech CUSO of the $640 million FORUM CU, Indianapolis, will become a USERS’ ABR. “It’s the whole concept of co-opetition that we believe in where we cooperate with our business partners, and compete with many of them,” said USERS’ President/CEO Joe Barry. Since assuming the top spot at USERS, Barry has been a big believer in giving CUs the tools to make tech decisions on solutions such as home banking, online lending, and others, even if it means they choose a non-USERS product. “Ultimately the market speaks. It makes the decisions,” said Barry. Typical ABRs for USERS include major third-party vendors such as the Digital Insight’s and Maxxar’s of the world, and even Barry admitted doing this with a long-time client was a bit different, but sensible. “We both have a mutual interest in bringing products to market and are very focused on strategic goals. We can complement each other on development tasks at hand,” said Barry. Conceivably the two could also start competing with each other. FORUM Solutions has been very aggressive in developing and promoting new tech products for credit unions. FORUM Solutions’ two core products are online lending (TAPS Lending) and online banking (TAPS 24/7). USERS of course offers its own version of these products in its USERS Lending Navigator and PCU Internet Banking Suite. USERS willingness to allow FORUM to offer its products to USERS’ core solution users is not lost on FORUM’s leadership. “USERS philosophy has always been to provide credit unions with tremendous choice and control in selecting the most appropriate technology solutions, and we are elated to earn the trust and confidence of this industry leader,” said Doug True, SVP/CIO for FORUM CU and FORUM Solutions. True said FORUM’s online banking and lending solutions are a great fit for USERS’ CUs. “We believe this combination will result in an attractive, results-driven package for a variety of credit unions,” he said. Barry said choice is what CUs want and he thinks USERS’ commitment to open systems is paying off. “Our client satisfaction is the highest it’s been in 17 years. The whole organization is focused on client satisfaction,” said Barry. He noted that the processor realigned itself last year by restructuring around a product management group responsible for such products as lending, systems, e-services, and core processing. Previously, USERS organized its product planning, programming, quality assurance, software delivery and support as separate groups each responsible for just a part of the many products it offers. An industry veteran, Barry said one of the many things different these days in the DP world is conversions and mergers. “Fifteen years ago a credit union converted shares and loans. Today there are so many interdependable systems to convert.” Also, the number of credit unions continues to drop as mergers increase. “Our project management group was kept busy last year with mergers. Sometimes the new credit union is going from online to an in-house system. We do track the internal growth of our customers, and even though we had a couple merged away, more merged in then out,” said Barry. Right now the average USERS’ CU client is about $119 million in assets, he said. [email protected]

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