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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – A new add-on to its core processing system is allowing Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union to expand for the first time in 16 years the number of products for which members can receive automatic line-of-credit (LOC) increases. The $1.8 billion CU is one of four of the 425 ULTRADATA users so far to deploy the Automatic Line-of-Credit Increase & Solicitation Module that was part of the July update of the core platform from Harland Financial Solutions (HFS). Hudson Valley actually launched the service in April for users of its unsecured LOC that also serves as overdraft protection, says Gwenn Harnen, the CU’s director of consumer lending. So far, 3,651 of the CU’s 147,000 members have received the increases, which totaled $8 million. The outstanding balances on the lines increased in three months by $1.5 million, compared with an increase of $400,000 in the same three months of last year, Harnen says. The module provides about 40 controls for establishing who gets the increases and how much, and then can produce letters to notify members of the increase. Harnen says the CU opted to send the letters without an opt-out option, after the increase was already granted, and less than 1% of the members told the CU they didn’t want the increase. “In those few instances, we just manually lowered the credit limit back to their original amount,” she says. Pamela Harris, product manager for HFS in Pleasanton, Calif., says the application was created in response to credit union customers who said they wanted “the ability to evaluate their existing loan portfolio and automatically and systematically identity the best candidates for an increase on existing loans and solicitation for a new line-of-credit loan.” Hudson Valley was one of those. “Through our credit card processor, we have been able to periodically reward our credit-worthy members with automatic line increases on their credit cards,” says Harnen, the CU’s consumer lending director. “The last time we were able to do this on our other lines of credit was over 16 years ago.” On the technical side, testing was the biggest issue faced in the product launch, Harnen says. “We maintain a separate test server that is updated periodically with our live database,” she says. “This enabled us to simulate the impact of the program in our live environment and test as many different scenarios as needed.” Testing in-house criteria, such as account history, was one thing. Testing credit and bankruptcy scoring from outside was another. “This was more difficult to test as we could not pull live credit bureau information,” Harnen says. “So we used Experian’s test accounts and manipulated the customer data field on the field so that it coincided with a sampling of our selected membership data base. This file was then posted to the accounts on our test server.” Satisfied, they then launched the service. “We worked very closely with Harland for over a year on the development of this product,” Harnen says. “The implementation went very smoothly.” The CU plans to periodically repeat the line increase and implement the solicitation functions in the module on other loan products in the future, Harnen says. They’ll have some choices. Harris at HFS says the application works “with all types of consumer loans, including signature loans, education, stock, secured and unsecured, credit cards and home equity.” -

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