NEW YORK - Being in the middle has proven to be the sweet spotfor qbt Systems Inc., whose middleware solutions have quietlygained traction connecting core systems and key third-partyapplications at some big credit unions and technology providersacross the country. New York-based qbt's first client was CreditUnion Services Corp., and the eight-year-old company now connectsapplications for such vendors as EPL, Open Solutions Inc., ServiceCenters Corp., Share One and Fidelity's Mercury division. Creditunions using qbt's flagship MultiPoint Integrator solution includeBoeing Employees Credit Union, South Carolina State Credit Unionand Desert Schools FCU, a recent contract win. The $2 billionArizona credit union is now in the testing phase of connecting itsCorillian home banking platform with its core processing platformfrom Summit Information Systems, says Stephen Anderson, qbt's vicepresident of product management. Gary Lieski, senior director oftechnology for Desert Schools FCU, says, "The Desert Schools ITorganization is focused on providing the best tools to the creditunion so we can in turn serve our members quickly and efficiently.It was clear that we needed a flexible middleware solution that hasa proven track record to meet our objectives." Meanwhile, at $4.6billion BECU, the qbt middleware is connecting a wide range ofprocesses, including home banking from Corillian, an ATM/debit cardsolution from Fiserv EFT/CNS, shared branching from FSCC, theIVR/VRU system from Maxxar, loan origination from APPRO, auto loanapplications through CU Direct Lending and a core system from OSI.The qbt solution was a key part of the big CU's core conversionproject in 2002 because of that ability to integrate applicationsusing a wide variety of data transfer and communication protocolsand standards. That translates to improved service to members andco-workers, says Kyle Welsh, an IT integration architect atSeattle-based BECU. "Products and services are easier to deployacross our multiple delivery channels," Welsh says. "The design,development and testing phases of projects also can be moreaccurately be estimated and executed. That allows us to run moreprojects concurrently and complete more projects for our internalcustomers." BECU has four staffers maintaining the qbt servers anddeveloping adapters between applications, after an initialinvestment and software and professional services of about$250,000, Welsh says. The return on that investment? "The ROI isbeyond measure," Welsh says, "as it radically improved our abilityto integrate solutions from different companies quickly." Andersonat qbt says deployment costs vary by size and function, rangingfrom "the low five figures to the mid six figures." He alsomaintains that his company is "the low-cost provider by far"compared with industry giants such as BEA and IBM and that atypical deployment takes from three weeks to three months. He saysqbt now has about 150 clients and that there are some differences,both in what banks and credit unions do in the technology area, andin what middleware itself is. As for the latter, for instance,Anderson says he sees a core processor's application programminginterface referred to sometimes as middleware, which he says "canbe a bit of a stretch, especially if the transactions supported arevery limited. "For instance, if a loan origination system and ahome banking application were purchased from different vendors, thecore's API would not be involved in getting loan applications fromthe Web site to the loan origination system. qbt's MultiPointgathers information from multiple systems and delivers theaggregated bundle of data back to one application." His company'sMultiPoint Integrator middleware typically uses those APIs tocommunicate with the core system, as well as "any application,system or network in whichever language the systems prefer, whetherit is a legacy format like ISO8583, a newer Web-services basedformat, or a hybrid. As for the culture of technology, Andersonsays, "Banks and credit unions do, in general, have very differentmissions, and their goals and methods also are often quitedifferent. "Credit unions are always thinking first about how toeffectively serve their members, and they have been very innovativeand typically more focused on real-time systems than their bankcounterparts. "However, in some ways their information technologydecision process is becoming more similar. Credit unions are nowgaining more experience with handling many different applicationsfrom different vendors and many are starting to write their ownapplications," Anderson says. "Most banks have been doing this foryears." That growing need to innovate, and word of mouth, is what'sdriven qbt's growth in the CU market, Anderson says. "The mainreason for our traction in the credit union space over the lastcouple of years has more to do with the growing needs of creditunions themselves," he says. "In order to best serve their members,many credit unions have demanded the flexibility to pick thebest-in-class solutions from multiple vendors. To efficiently meetthis objective, credit unions have had to develop faster, moreflexible and more sophisticated architectures," the qbt executivesays. -


[email protected]

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.