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MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – Not satisfied with what they had, the staff at Kinecta Federal Credit Union went out and built themselves a better mousetrap, in this case their own online banking system. “We believe we’ve done something unique,” says Juan Luna, the $2.8 billion CU’s vice president of information technology. “Other than check orders and ACH transfers, nearly every aspect of our online banking system was designed and built in-house.” The team effort included two developers who spent 18 months on the project, with the end result an online banking system with a new look and improved navigability, including being able to see account balances on the first log-on without going through multiple screens, Luna says. Kinecta Direct Online Banking, the brand name, also provides the credit union’s approximately 60,000 online bankers an online calculator, online help as transactions progress and a special feature that allows members to see loans they’re pre-approved for, along with links to the online applications. With so many vendors out there, why go the in-house route to create a new www.kinecta.org? “Well, since we had the talent right here, and we wanted more control over what we were doing online, we decided to utilize those resources we had and do something we could manage and add to at any given time,” Luna says. “Now we have something very extendible, very current and with no licensing fees or cost issues.” The credit union had been on a Corillian platform. The new system was built using the SymConnect API from Kinecta’s core processor, Symitar, to interface with outside products, and some custom port work done in-house completed that integration. E-statements are generated through IDS software Kinecta already had in place, and the current third-party ACH software also will be re-written in-house, Luna says. “We also are looking for a better interface for check ordering online and have several RFPs out on that,” he says. Meanwhile, Luna says, “we’ve had excellent reliability and really very minimal issues with our new system. There were some cosmetic things but nothing that was significant in terms of member impact. “But then, we did test the heck out of it.” Others did, too. The system’s code was tested by PriceWaterhouse and another independent auditor “and passed with flying colors,” Luna says. It’s also been put to the test by members, including the 7,000 or so who logged on and conducted transactions in the first hour the new system was up and live. The average use now is about 8,000 to 10,000 a day. Kinecta has about 186,000 members. “We’re really excited about what we’ve done here,” Luna says. “Obviously there was some heartache involved, and it’s really hard to dedicate resources to something like this without impacting the rest of the organization. But we’re really proud of the way we got it off the ground, and about how our members are benefiting from it.” Luna’s enthusiasm is shared by Leslie Grask, Kinecta’s vice president of remote delivery. “Because we built it here, the ability to customize and enhance is almost unlimited,” Grask says. “Our team did a great job. The combination of a skilled, coordinated team of programmers – and great passion – produced a terrific result.” – [email protected]

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