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BROOKFIELD, Wis. — When Fiserv Inc. acquired the credit union core processing operation of EDS back in 2003 and renamed it IntegraSys, the company found itself with seven different CU processors, each with its own user community and identity.Industry observers wondered how long that would last, and whether Fiserv would follow the lead of others in the space, most notably Open Solutions Inc. and Digital Insight, and blend those operations into existing product lines.Well, it’s lasted five years and the individual organizations-Galaxy, CUSA, Summit, USERS, IntegraSys, AFTECH and XP-still exist, together employing about 2,400 people and serving a core processing client list of about 2,800 credit unions.“The product lines that those companies develop and deliver are still intact and still headquartered in each of their locations, and the leadership teams that are responsible for directing that development and mobilizing their employees to deliver on their commitment to their clients are still intact,” said Sara Brooks, chief strategy officer for the Fiserv Credit Union Division.But there is some change afoot. For instance, products developed by one core processing unit-such as Galaxy’s MyMoney solution for Facebook-are now offered to the entire client base by a sales force that was revamped earlier this year to represent all seven units simultaneously.That’s but one example of the integration ongoing at the credit union industry’s single largest provider of technology products and services.“In the last two years, really, we’ve been moving away from a holding company model to more of what I would call an operating company model,” Brooks said.“Rather than having pockets of expertise work independently on their own to deliver to their clients, we’re looking to bring all of this together in a way that can bring the benefits of a 2,400-person strong operation to all of our credit union clients,” she said.While the individual core processing platforms each retain their own feature sets, look and feel, products like the Virtual Branch online banking solution are becoming ubiquitous across the division.“We’re having much more success with integration now than five years ago because of the advances in open architecture, middleware technology and the ability to more quickly integrate ancillary products,” Brooks said.And in perhaps the most visible integration yet-Fiserv plans to hold a single users conference for all seven credit union core processing units, with the first set for Aug. 24-27, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn.“This is a great opportunity to bring together nearly a third of the credit union industry,” Brooks said. “We are going to be able to offer a lot of best practices and learning opportunities at a level we haven’t been able to in the past, and bring a whole lot of technology solutions into one place, so our clients can see the full range of things that Fiserv and our partners can do for them.”There also will be sessions for clients of each of the individual units, Brooks said.“More than any industry I’ve been a part of, I believe that credit unions who are processing on a given platform feel a sense of community with one another,” she said. “Fiserv employees are an important part of that community as well. Technology is what we deliver to help enable our clients’ success, but at the end of the day this is all about relationships. This is a relationship business.”The Fiserv executive also said the collaboration and integration across the CU7 units will continue to be a work in progress.“These sorts of things take time as we bring a group of people together and collaborate across businesses, and it’s going to take time for the market to see the real value of that collaboration. We know that,” Brooks said.“But we did a lot in 2008 behind the scenes to develop the way we’re going to be able to do business now with our core clients and the market as a whole. And I think we’ll be able to look back at 2009 as a year in which many of the things we did internally made it out into the marketplace,” she said.–[email protected]

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