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SAN DIEGO – Bolstering member service and the bottom line through in-house innovation is at the heart of the award-winning efforts in this year’s CUNA Technology Council awards for best practices. The winners were named at the council’s recent annual conference in San Diego. “The winners were judged according to the criteria we had set up, which includes showing results and examples and ingenuity. Ingenuity often plays a big part in this because this is about not solving problems in the same old way, but doing things with a little twist,” says Gordon Gregory, vice president of technology at $300 million Mazuma Credit Union in Kansas City, Mo., and co-chair of the council’s communications committee who coordinated the panel of judges. The judges included Jackie Buchanan, vice president of IT at $515 million T & C FCU in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; Kirk Couser, senior vice president of technology/CIO at $85 million EPCO CU in Shelbyville, Tenn.; and Matt Mower, vice president of IT at $530 million Point Loma CU in San Diego. “We certainly felt the bar was raised again his year in terms of quality of the projects and the presentations,” Gregory says. “They were very professional, and we appreciate the energy and commitment of all the entries.” The winners were: * Member Convenience Category: $627 million Unitus Community CU of Portland, Ore., for a real-time online membership application the CU developed using the SymConnect integration tools from core processor Symitar. In the first full year of use, the system generated 27% of all new member applications, and has also enabled service representatives to sign up new members while out in the field, generating both new accounts and new loan business. * Miscellaneous Category: $747 million State Employees Credit Union of Lansing Mich., for the joint development of a new Products & Services module in the intranet offering from Passageways LLC. The new module has eliminated the need to search through a 300-page product and procedures handbook which often contained outdated information, the credit union says. Improved member services and cross-selling have resulted as well as $50,000 in direct savings primarily from re-assigning an employee previously managing the intranet, SECU says. * Sales Management Category: $1.2 billion SAFE CU of Sacramento, Calif., for a new account opening and supporting sales management system developed by integrating software from several vendors. The CU says results have included measurably improved member satisfaction with the account-opening process, an 80% reduction in account-opening errors and $33,000 in annual savings by reducing the amount of Chex Systems reports unnecessarily run. * Technology Infrastructure Category: $1.5 billion Coastal FCU of Raleigh, N.C., for a digital video marketing system developed in-house using Microsoft’s Visual Studio software and now in use at 13 branches, with the rest to be online by the end of the year. Called CoastMedia, the system offers three channels. One shows rates and product ads, another offers instructions on how to use the Personal Teller units and a third will be used for internal employee communications. The channels also are coupled with Direct TV and cable channels. The judges were impressed both by the quality of the projects and by the presentations of the 12 contestants in the four categories, Gregory says. “We feel this competition really exemplifies what the CUNA Technology Council is all about, sharing new ideas and practices,” he says. “It’s an opportunity for us to benefit from the hard work of our peers and for each of us to share the hard work we’re proud of, get a little exposure and help each other out.” PowerPoint presentations of each of the winning entries are available at http://www.cunatechnologycouncil.org/awards/best_pract05.html. Tom Kroen, vice president of IS at $1.5 billion First Technology Credit Union in Beaverton, Ore., is the new chair of the CUNA Technology Council, succeeding Jim Morrell, vice president of support services and CIO at $298 million iQ CU in Vancouver, Wash. -

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