Fiserv and Symitar dominate the discussions around credit union core systems, but many smaller providers are nipping at the heels of the core giants.

Part 1 of this series detailed the players in the field. (See Credit Union Times, June 12, page 1). Here, part 2, looks at how the niche players are positioning their offerings.

Probably the single biggest problem facing core system providers that aren’t Fiserv or Symitar is that, for them, the struggle is to seem part of the 21st century conversation. Core systems, in their guts, generally are over 20 years of age–frequently much older–so this is a mature IT solution that has been commoditized.

Where there is profit to be made it is in the add-ons, the plug-ins that upgrade the core, said Tom Berdan, a vice president at Lake Mary, Fla.-based Harland Financial Solutions, who oversees the company’s core systems, PhoenixEFE and UltraData, which are found in around 385 credit unions, generally institutions with under $250 million in assets.

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