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MURRIETA, Calif. – Two years after leaving Symitar to join eCU Technologies, Ron Murray has left to form his own consultancy, taking with him three fellow Southern Californian eCU employees. Murray is now president of CUTEK, a four-person consultancy focusing on the 350 or so credit unions using Symitar’s Episys core processing system. CUTEK adds to the cadre of consultants serving Symitar clients, which now includes Wescom Resources Group (a Wescom Credit Union CUSO), eCU Technologies, several individual consultants and Symitar’s own consulting group. Until last week, Murray had been director of technology at eCU, the tech-vendor CUSO of Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union, and prior to that was a product development and marketing manager at Symitar. The consultancy’s focus will be on helping credit unions implement and operate their core system, including add-ons such as electronic statements, home banking and online lending and membership applications. Murray is joined by: * Dave Richards, vice president of sales and marketing, who had been sales and marketing director at eCU and worked for WRG prior to that. * Mark Borja is CUTEK’s vice president of operations. He had been eCU Technologies’ consulting services manager and held a number of analyst and project management positions at Symitar. * Doug Petrosky, vice president of IT, had been information systems architect at eCU and a project analyst at Symitar. The consultancy’s services include product selection, pre- and post-conversion operations and training. “We believe our more than 50 years of combined Symitar system experience is unequaled and there are a large number of credit unions looking to maximize the potential of their Episys core processing systems, as well as add-on modules,” Murray says. As for competition, Murray says that he thinks the field is not that crowded. “We see it as very little competition,” he says. “WRG does not provide consulting services in the same sense as we do. They provide add-on products and a hosting solution for Symitar but not the straight consulting services we do. Symitar itself has mainly a programming group. eCU provides products and, up until Friday, the consulting services we were able to offer.” Murray adds: “We hated to do it, but in the long run the fit for us and eCU just wasn’t there. They’re very smart people and they run a great credit union but the direction they were going was not the direction we wanted to go.” Meanwhile, Alan Brunner, chief operating officer at eCU, said the CUSO has about 2,300 hours of consulting contracts on the books and has contacted each of its clients about the sudden departure of the four former staffers. eCU Technologies has 19 staff members now, Brunner says, and is not moving immediately to fill those slots. “We’ve re-defined and realigned our resources, talked to our clients about it and are moving forward to fulfill these contracts. I have no doubt we’ll be able to fulfill those obligations,” he says. “It’s a shock anytime employees leave the company, and they obviously think there’s a need for their type of services. I think they’re very talented individuals and can probably make a run at this,” Brunner adds. PSECU CEO Greg Smith said these departures won’t hurt eCU much because the tech-savvy CU has 60 IT employees – whom Smith referred as his “bench” players – ready to be called into action for eCU. “They’re all qualified to step in,” said Smith. Smith said he was a little disappointed under the circumstances in which the employees left eCU, but he does wish them luck. “It’s being entrepreneurial,” he said of the former employees. eCU Technologies has two divisions – consulting and products -and 82 clients, all but one a Symitar user. That could change, however. Brunner says. The popularity of the UPost online deposit posting product has the CUSO ready to use it as an entre to credit unions served by other core processors (see sidebar below). Murray at CUTEK, meanwhile, says his firm will concentrate solely on Symitar Episys credit unions and says it already has clients lined up, including $2.9 billion San Diego County CU, where Borja will help design and implement custom projects. Others are $436 million Watermark CU in Seattle, where CUTEK will help with programming “to help touch up a very tech-savvy IT department already in place,” Murray says, and $201 million IR Federal Credit Union in Maryland for help with a membership application. “While we were planning this, we decided the ethics of the situation would not allow us to actively solicit clients until after we left eCU, but since we’ve all been in the Symitar world for 10 to 15 years, these just came to us after conversations with friends,” he says, adding that none of CUTEK’s new clients are former eCU Technologies clients, for now. Murray also says several more contracts are in the negotiating stage and that CUTEK may in the future get involved in offering products of its own. He also has an explanation of why Symitar is the focus of so much consultant attention. “It’s a very open company with an open system, and it’s very friendly to its clients. They make a concerted effort to not hide a lot from their clients, and they offer a lot of options,” he says, noting that CUSOs also have popped up to offer similar services through other notably open platforms, such as that of Open Solutions Inc. “The downside is . they offer a lot of options, so a credit union can really take control of its own system,” Murray adds. “But most credit unions don’t have the people or expertise it takes to take advantage of those options. “That’s where we come in.” [email protected] Editor Paul Gentile contributed to this story.

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