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DETROIT – Michigan First Credit Union is using a software plug-in to its core processing system to save thousands of dollars it says it might have spent unnecessarily canceling card accounts and issuing new plastic. The $397 million CU is using PowerOn, a Symitar plug-in which up until recently was called RepGen, to screen incoming lists of possibly compromised credit and debit card account numbers as they occur and then place a warning flag on that account. Michigan First got the module from eCU Technologies, a tech CUSO of Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union which specializes in, among other services, customizing and integrating add-ons to Symitar’s Episys core system. eCU began offering the PowerOn module recently to help credit unions contend with long lists of possibly compromised card accounts, and the CUs that have taken the CUSO up on it so far have taken different approaches. “Michigan First is placing a comment on the account so everyone there knows this is a potentially compromised card, while we have another credit union using the software to automatically generate a letter about it to send to members,” says Bill Clark, a program analyst at eCU Technologies. That credit union also is running tests to determine whether it wants go a step farther and automatically reissue cards when an account number shows up on alert lists, a step that Michigan First has decided not to take. Bryan Randall, the Detroit CU’s technology solutions manager, says his organization has about 12,000 credit cards and 20,100 debit cards issued to its 71,600 members, and a risk management specialist with card experience looking over them. That staffer, Randall says, oversees a “multi-layered, tiered approach to credit card security. For instance, we use the Falcon system to monitor for unusual transactions, and if we see something unusual from that, we contact the member and if we can’t, we go ahead and shut down that account. “That’s in addition to the CDV code and all the other stuff in the VISA-MasterCard world that’s there to begin with.” As an example of the effectiveness of that holistic approach, Randall points to a recent huge credit card security breach that included about 1,600 Michigan First accountholders. “Only four of ours were actually compromised, and two of those were stopped by Falcon, one by a member and the other by an employee,” he said. “If we had issued 1,596 cards for no good reason, at $10 a pop, that would have cost us a lot of money.” So instead of automatically shutting down accounts and re-issuing cards, the software module at Michigan First puts a notice on each account that appears on a particular list, and that can serve as valuable information later if other problems begin to appear. Alan Brunner, eCU Technologies’ chief operating officer, says three credit unions are using the PowerOn report generator now and several others are considering it. At eCU’s home credit union, the system is used in various ways, including generating a letter to PSECU members in certain cases if a card shows up on lists, or simply to flag accounts to notify tellers and other member-service reps in case unusual transaction amounts suddenly show up. “It’s a pretty powerful tool for grabbing data, posting it on a system and doing a lot of other things with, including cross-referencing lists,” Brunner says. “It’s also extremely simple to install. We just send them the actual code in a zipped file or we can WebEx into their system and install it for them.” -

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