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smartsolutions Credit Union

an educational guide for credit union products and services | 2011

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Investment Winning strategies to make your credit union a better place






s technology marches on, so does our annual guide to credit unions, with input from experienced parties on developing a formal IT strategic plan, adapting board distribution packages for the iPad, interactive web training and an efficient business

intelligence strategy. On the customer-relation side, there are articles on customer retention tools such remote services, automation at the teller post that frees staff time for more customer interaction, and how to set priorities for that most basic of core services, the checking account. There’s a focus on biometrics for security. The lead piece is an overview of the entire scene – what credit unions are buying (or not), and why. We hope you find the 2011 edition of Smart Solutions to be helpful, interesting and informative. TECHNOLOGY 5 Plan for Success The Value of IT Strategic Planning By Dan Vassallo


What’s in Your Shopping Cart? 12

Third-Party Support and User-Friendly Solutions Drive Credit Union Buys. By Christina P. O’Neill

Credit unions want to be faster, cheaper, and better, but are proceeding with moderation with their equipment investments. Consumer acceptance of the iPhone and iPad, and the consequent technology to bolster them, is raising interest in mobile banking applications, but slowly. Internet security is also a pressing concern. Business intelligence, to make report analysis more efficient, is becoming a necessity as regulation increases. We take a bird’s-eye view of the current buying climate.

©2011 The Warren Group Inc. All rights reserved. The Warren Group is a trademark of The Warren Group Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Advertising, editorial and production inquiries should be directed to: The Warren Group, 280 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210. Call 800-356-8805.

AUTOMATION 6 Role of Credit Union is Changing By Douglas R. Magee Jr. INTERNET SAFETY 8 The End of an Era By Brian A. Colella CASE STUDY 10 ERM in Action By Michael D. Cohn, CPA, CISA, CGEIT E-LEARNING 11 A New Way to Train Online By Stephanie Lutz

REPORT ANALYTICS 16 How Credit Unions Can Complement Business Intelligence for Data-Driven Decisions By Michael Morrison iPACKAGES 18 Taking Board Package Distribution to the Next Level By Patrick “PJ” Schunke MOBILE BANKING 20 Remote Services Score Efficiencies and Convenience By Michael Rawlins CORE SERVICES 22 Keeping the Focus on Checking Accounts By Cindy Draper


Timothy M. Warren Chairman

Vincent Michael Valvo Group Publisher & Editor in Chief

Christina P. O’Neill Custom Publications Editor

Timothy M. Warren Jr. CEO & Publisher

George Chateauneuf Publishing Division Sales Manager

Cassidy Norton Murphy Associate Editor

David B. Lovins President

Emily Torres Advertising, Marketing & Events Coordinator

John Bottini Creative Director

Jeffrey E. Lewis Controller/Dir. of Operations

Richard Ofsthun, Cara Inocencio Advertising Account Managers

Scott Ellison Senior Graphic Designer Ellie Aliabadi Graphic Designer


Where Efficiency Meets Service

“At Freedom First Credit Union, we value our partnership with CRI Solutions. The organization is very responsive to our needs. It is truly a pleasure to work with a vendor that cares for the end user - to not just be a number among many.” Pam Jones Loan Service Manager Freedom First Credit Union Roanoke, VA

“During these challenging economic times, it is vitally important that we maximize revenue opportunities for all of our financial and credit insurance products. Our partnership with CRI Solutions has allowed us to streamline our processes and operate efficiently to benefit our members and employees.” Richard Williams, Jr. Chief Executive Officer Securityplus FCU Baltimore, MD Online Lending/ LOS Financial Services IT Solutions

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Plan for Success The Value of IT Strategic Planning B Y D A N VA S S A L LO


s consumers continue to demand smarter, more convenient electronic banking services, community financial institutions are faced with the challenge of understanding the current market landscape, anticipating future consumer behavior, and forming ways to provide comparable services offered by larger competitors – often at a fraction of the budget. In effect, IT investments can no longer be throttled in reaction to each and every regulatory recommendation or potential new service. Instead, credit unions and community banks like The Village Bank in Auburndale, Mass., are finding increased value in developing and maintaining a formal IT strategic plan. For many community banks and credit unions, IT-related investments only take place when something bad happens: a server fails, an exam finding calls for instant remediation, a data breach or disaster occurs. In this type of environment, decisions around information technology are reactionary, unplanned and urgent. As a result, IT as a whole is viewed more as an expense rather than an investment of assets. There is nothing strategic or planned about it. Nevertheless, certain community banks like The Village Bank have incorporated into its business model the exact opposite of this break-fix tendency. In fact, for The Village Bank, IT strategic planning has become more than just a sound business practice; it has become a crucial component of successful operations management. The benefits of documenting a formal IT strategic plan are many, including: • Improved project planning and project management • Avoiding costly missteps and one-off purchase decisions • Gaining a better understanding of IT costs and improving budgeting capabilities • Achieving/ensuring regulatory compliance • Staying ahead of the curve and remaining a market leader • Better aligning IT infrastructure with business processes and initiatives Dan Vassallo is an associate of the Information Security Practice at GraVoc Associates, Inc., a family-owned and operated consulting firm located in Peabody, Mass. Vassallo has authored several articles and whitepapers on various topics related to IT and information security.

Understanding these and other potential benefits, Jeffrey Tucker, The Village Bank’s vice president of information systems, and the rest of his management team, undertook efforts to initiate bank-wide IT strategic planning in the fall of 2009. To get the ball rolling, the bank asked GraVoc Associates to facilitate the initial discussion and develop the plan document. In retrospect, Tucker explains that “having GraVoc facilitate the input from all departments was key in ensuring a fair and balanced approach. They also offered the perspective of having assisted many of our peers.” Now, two years later, Tucker notes that the bank’s IT strategic plan “has been a useful tool for us to refer back to from an overall resource and budget planning perspective. We give our board of directors annual updates as to the major accomplishments and potential projects looking ahead.” Following the three-year roadmap set forth by this plan, The Village Bank has been able to consistently meet its primary business objectives and improve service delivery to customers. In 2010, the bank was able to make notable strides toward improving business process and IT infrastructure by increasing document imaging, completing a network migration and introducing server virtualization. This year, the bank focused on enhancing online service delivery channels and rolling out a mobile banking platform. While these types of initiatives are often met with increased scrutiny from auditors and examiners, Tucker explains that “the IT strategic plan has been a great document to give to auditors to show we have given serious consideration and aspirations to the overall development of our infrastructure.” In fact, the bank’s plan carves out a unique space for regulatory compliance and security and covers project initiatives specific to both objectives. As a result, IT and information security have become not a hindrance to service expansion, but an extension of the bank’s commitment to customer service. For The Village Bank, the benefits of IT strategic planning are clear. The process has assisted bank management in making levelheaded, rational decisions and investments into the bank’s IT infrastructure, allowing for business objectives and IT initiatives to work hand in hand toward the common goal of ultimately improving product and service delivery to customers. n



Role of Credit Union is Changing


B Y D O U G L A S R . M AG E E J R .

ne thing is for certain, things have been changing in the financial arena. Credit unions are quickly picking up the role of full-service financial institutions, ready to serve the entire community. The American public has expressed their distrust and dissatisfaction with our large financial institutions and credit unions are seizing this opportunity for growth. If there is one concept credit unions fully understand, it’s member service. In order to capitalize on this opportunity, progressive credit unions both large and small are moving quickly to automate a great many of their services – and their image. This not only includes changing the hours open and the installation of the latest ATMs, but also automation at both the teller line and in the lobby. Credit unions have, for many years, been striving to get new members in the door, and have implemented a variety of programs to achieve that end, including programs to promote opening new accounts to bring in new members but, just as important, to get children involved by having their own accounts at a young age. Over the past 10 years there has been a rapid growth in the number of self-service coin centers installed in credit unions of all sizes. These self-service coin centers have proven to be excellent destinations not only for members, but also for potential members. Some credit unions have even added digital marketing to their selfservice coin centers, which allows them to fully cross-sell all their services to the person using the coin machine. In spite of the slower economy, credit unions in particular are rapidly moving toward automation at the teller line with a similar goal in mind, giving tellers the ability to cross-sell to their members. It is a proven fact that the more accounts a member has with an institution, the less likely they are to leave it. This doesn’t happen

Douglas R. Magee Jr. is president of the Magner Corporation of America. 6 | SMART SOLUTIONS 2011

automatically; face-to-face contact at the branch level and effective cross-selling by tellers is still the number-one driving force for new accounts. To that end, credit unions have been installing both currency dispensers and currency recyclers to ease some of the burden on the teller, specifically the counting and recounting of currency and to dramatically shorten the balancing cycle at both the beginning and the end of the day. This frees the teller from the tedious task of counting currency numerous times before handing it over to the member, allowing them to better develop a dialogue with the member. Put yourself in the position of the member – you do not want to interrupt a teller that is hand-counting currency for the third time to ask about new car loans, because you know this is going to result in a recount for the fourth or fifth time. However, when a teller can simply remove the money from the dispenser and hand it to the member, a dialogue can take place. Understanding the different types of currency automation is important. Currency dispensers do just that – dispense currency that has already been preloaded into the dispenser safe. Dispensers are most effective when used at high volume drive-up windows and check cashing windows. Easy-to-use software, seamless integration and adequate capacity are the key ingredients to a successful currency dispenser installation for any institution. Currency recyclers have come into the market as the latest rage over the past several years. They are great automation tools for the teller line, but not necessarily the right solution for everyone. A currency recycler allows the teller to take in a cash deposit at the teller window and deposit the money in any denomination sequence and in any facing sequence. The machine will verify the authenticity of the currency, reject any bills that are unrecognizable or counterfeit and then sort the verified currency by denomination into a safe. Mutilated bills can be programmed to go on a separate

storage module. When the next member comes in to cash a check, money from the previous deposits will be recycled back out in the amount requested. This system works well as long as there are more deposits than there are withdrawals, which is not always the case. So why would you want a recycler if you do not have the right mix of deposits and withdrawals? One of the most common applications for a recycler today is for dialogue banking: it allows a unit to be placed in an island or pod in the lobby for use by the teller when conducting banking transactions in an open space area. Units for this purpose are available in both stand-up and sit-down configurations. Today many financial institutions are installing a combination of both dispensers and recyclers in traditional branch applications. Dispensers are considerably faster than recyclers; therefore they are most ideally suited for the drive-up windows or heavy volume check cashing windows. It is not uncommon to install a recycler at a commercial deposit window, where it can be used by an individual teller, or jointly by all of the tellers in the branch for depositing money from their cash drawers once they reach a certain preset limit or if they receive large over-the-counter cash deposits. This helps to greatly reduce the security exposure of the individual tellers and, at the same time, substantially reduce their balancing time at

the end of the day. Another scenario is a recycler that allows storage of individual denominations of currency on separate modules, also accepting deposits of excess currency into high security, self-sealing deposit bags that can then be turned over to an armored carrier. This allows branches that have large cash deposits to handle the volume via the substantially increased capacity of the machine. Again, it’s all about having the correct software in combination with machines that have the right capacity. The end result of a good installation is quicker service for your depositors, increased accuracy and security for your tellers, overall increased branch efficiency and, most importantly, the ability to cross-sell, which ultimately adds to the bottom line. Don’t be sold on the idea that one solution fits all; it does not, especially in the case of credit unions. Credit unions need automation tools that meet everyone’s expectations. The window of opportunity for credit unions to grow into the role of true community financial institutions is still wide open. The progressive credit unions that focus on growing their membership and number of accounts per member need the tools and services to draw new members into the branch and the ability to cross-sell on an effective and steady basis. Doing things the right way does not always mean spending the most money – it means finding the right solution for the institution. n



The End of an Era The Beginning of a SAFE-AGE



round the world, over 2 billion people access the Web regularly through traditional copper and fiber lines. In the United States alone, an estimated 70 percent of the population owns a networked computer. More than 200 million Americans have a broadband connection at home and that number is growing daily. The numbers are significant, but imagine adding millions to these numbers to include all the smartphone web users. These figures are daunting. Technology is everywhere and in many ways it is a beautiful thing, but it is only a tool. No particular technology can fix a bad philosophy or compensate for bad practices; in fact, if you are going in the wrong direction, technology will just get you there faster. Present-day technologies have become antiquated and inefficient in their ability to combat fraud and ID theft. While basic methods have worked in the past, they have become archaic and can no longer provide an adequate secure solution. Hackers and ID thieves have virtually taken over, and the time for change is now. The most critical vulnerabilities which must be protected are our financial networks, electrical grids, air-traffic control networks and national defense. Intrusions cannot be allowed. The greatest areas of risk must be identified, the greatest of which is secure online access. Much of the populace believes that current online sign-on solutions and the technical approaches for secure online identity verification are sufficient. They are not. In many ways these beliefs are as outdated and ineffective as the antiquated and inefficient sign-on means currently in use. Current methods for validating an online user by entering a user name, password, PIN, or token when accessing accounts or critical information can no longer prevent intrusions by the thieves and hackers. Security breaches are made easier when employees and consumers resort to writing down their passwords where they can be easily found or when the same password is used for multiple accounts. It must be understood that if an account is compromised, other accounts with the same password are immediately at risk. One of the biggest security threats facing all cyber users is unauthorized access allowed by hacked passwords and PINs. As a global leader and innovator in secure biometric identification systems and access solutions, SOSB invites you to explore the many capabilities and benefits of our innovations. Please visit our websites at or, or contact Brian Colella at (443) 223-3888 or 8 | SMART SOLUTIONS 2011

Whatever the capabilities of the accessed system, its number-one weakness is a user with a password or PIN. Given the number of vulnerabilities faced by consumers and businesses, as well as the record number of data breaches, ID verification and online security can no longer be an afterthought.

“Although many attempts have been made to

provide new forms of multi-factor sign-on, these have unfortunately failed – and major access breaches are still occurring.” A daunting challenge facing businesses and organizations today is combating insider fraud and theft. It has now become mandatory to know what employees are accessing, when they are accessing it, and most importantly, to have the ability to track and audit usage. This requires more than usernames and passwords – namely, it requires a strong user authentication and a single sign-on approach that can prove a user’s identity. Although many attempts have been made to provide new forms of multi-factor sign-on, these have unfortunately failed for the most part and major access breaches are still occurring. As we continue to grow and expand into a global environment that relies solely on cyber connectivity and the secure use of it, we must incorporate new and advanced technologies and innovations to guide us. The recent advent and deployments of biometric, multifactor, single sign-on solutions are an excellent solution and are already playing an important role in secure account access around the globe. With the use of biometrics, physiological or behavioral characteristics can determine or verify an individual’s identity. Because of this unique factor, this technology is rapidly taking hold. These single sign-on solutions are proving to be the most secure way to access any account or network while providing indisputable identity verification. What was once out of reach because of high cost or the need for elaborate computing systems is now available through affordable biometric technologies. From single sign-on solutions to identification cards, biometrics can provide convenient, reliable and cost-effective ways to prove identity and irrefutable verification of a user. Of course, not all biometric solutions are created equally – certain technologies are better suited for specific applications based

on security, ease of use and cost. While most forms of biometrics follow the same general process of enrollment, comparison and identification, SOSB, a pioneer in biometric solutions, provide a unique process of validation equal to none. The SOSB Corporation, based in Maryland, is able to meet these present day challenges and can offer alternative solutions to answering the innumerable identification and access concerns through new biometric innovations and solutions. SOSB is the first company in the world to offer an advanced state-ofthe-art, proprietary family of biometric identification cards, secure individual identity devices, and biometric single sign-on solutions. SOSB’s sister company SAFE-Age Corporation is home to the Restricted Accessed Global Environment (RAGE), a global network environment that is only accessible through a person’s biometrics on their own SOSB biometric sign-on device. Through the collaboration of high level encryption and multi-staged challenged response, these multi-factored biometric authentication processes create an individualized validation for each and every use. Each swipe of a finger produces a completely different authentication process each time that can never be copied or reused for future authentication or use. SOSB’s solutions and processes eliminate any recurrences of verification data, reducing both unauthorized access and use. Mapping an individual to his or her own biometric device, along with an encryption process that individualizes and authenticates each device to that individual user, creates a process that fully eliminates any chance of unauthorized device use. In a class by themselves, SOSB’s identification and verification processes all occur on the device itself, completely independent of databases or networked computing systems. Leading the way in biometric secure individual identity devices (SiiSs), SOSB offers cost-effective solutions to the many security challenges we face today. SOSB’s secure sign-on and identity devices have been effectively integrated into many levels of industry, government, and a

technologically savvy society. By lowering the cost and reducing “time to market” with its state-of-the-art turnkey solutions, SOSB leads the way to a new generation of biometric products. As we evolve into the future, the immediate requirement for exact verification and authentication becomes

essential. The new technology now before us is more than just a temporary fix; it is the solution for now and into the future. There is no real reason to miss this opportunity towards what could possibly become our new “travel lane” in the congested and vulnerable Internet superhighway.  n

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ERM in Action A Financial Institution’s Journey

B Y M I C H A E L D . C O H N , C PA , C I S A , C G E I T


nterprise Risk Management (ERM) programs are not required by current regulatory laws, rules or compliance guidelines. However, the value in these programs lies in the opportunity to expose and prevent potential losses and missed business opportunities. The goal of ERM is to help all areas of the institution run more effectively by providing greater insight for board members, senior executives and line managers.

CHALLENGE The financial institution’s senior management team recognized that the operational decision-making process needed to better align with the inherent risks of conducting business. It was important to incorporate the experiences and perspectives of more team members. Managers spent their days stabilizing credit quality, solidifying liquidity sources, and focusing on customer service delivery. This was detrimental to the collaboration and cross functional support that used to be so frequent before the recent financial industry crisis. The question posed was: “Could an ERM program, or at least deployment of the basic tenets, provide better operational decision making throughout the organization?” The CEO was skeptical of the value proposition due to the fact that the institution had a long history of success without an ERM program in place. Additionally, the board was inundated with new compliance requirements and was not seeking additional analysis or reports.

SOLUTION Given these beliefs, senior management’s plan was simple but comprehensive: The new ERM program had to utilize current resources instead of new ones to shed light into technology, vendor, privacy, and operational threats prior to line management

For more information about WolfPAC Integrated Risk Management, contact Joe Romanello, WolfPAC National Sales Director, at 781-799-3966 or For more information visit


committing to any operational expansion and changes. The goal was to improve day-to-day management and oversight through end-to-end policies and procedures. This meant understanding the impact and incremental contribution by each department to the customer’s experience with the institution. Management also realized that critical to the success of ERM was the identification of a senior manager as a single point of contact. If threats to the institution crossed department boundaries, then the senior risk executive required the authority to implement both corporate and department level change. This maintained efficiency, safety and soundness. A senior manager was designated as the institution’s risk officer and took the central role of overseeing all day-today risk assessment activities, and was granted the authority to override line management’s risk assessment analysis. As senior management methodically instituted the ERM fundamentals using the WolfPAC Integrated Risk Management® system, they discovered gaps in internal policies and procedures and oversight of key activities. As they closed the gaps, they collectively strengthened their understanding of end-to-end customer service delivery. The integration of the risk assessments and discussions of threats and internal controls (both actual and missing) forced a discussion on how the institution did business. There were areas at the institution that had the potential to incur operational losses, and it was surprising to some that those losses had not been realized.

RESULT After hearing the results of the integrated risk assessments, the board deepened their understanding of the institution’s operations and business plans. WolfPAC® enabled senior management to provide a foundation for reporting on enterprise-wide threats, and to determine if the actual risks being taken were in line with the inherent risks, given the strategic objectives of the credit union. Additionally, line management gained a better understanding of potential threats to the institution and how to adjust operational controls to remain safe and sound. WolfPAC served as the risk assessment tool to integrate the risks and control ratings, replacing the many siloed functional risk assessments with a single score card. This knowledge has led to improved oversight and guidance, all without increasing staffing or the number of reports to review. n


A New Way to Train Online B Y S T E P H A N I E LU T Z


-learning for financial products in the credit union world has, to this point, been limited to pre-recorded or live webinar training sessions and stagnant reference sheets. While this delivery system can be an effective use of credit union resources, it is often a cumbersome and boring process that has given online training a reputation for being tedious and easy to ignore. Some credit unions are discovering a better way to train their front line staff using the online channel: interactive online universities. This method of course delivery is often more efficient and more engaging than other methods of satellite course delivery, which results in a higher level of service for members.

webinar delivery method is the fact that the participant must sit through the entire session, even if certain sections do not apply to them or their needs. Online universities address these inefficiencies to allow staff to participate when it is convenient for them and navigate to the sections that pertain to

them. In this type of training course, a computerized instructor guides the student through the material, which is listed in a menu format. The content is easily accessible at any time during the day for a quick refresher. This allows the credit continued on page 19

IMPROVED EFFICIENCY One of the pitfalls of live webinar sessions is that they require participants to log in at a specific time in order to take part in the training. This is certainly not the most efficient delivery method for credit unions, since it would make staff unavailable to members during the course’s duration. Adding to the inefficiency of the Stephanie Lutz is a management analyst with CRI Solutions in Elkridge, MD. CRI Solutions exclusively serves credit unions by integrating insurance and financial products with the company’s best-of-breed technology platforms, resulting in market leading custom lending and workflow solutions. SMART SOLUTIONS 2011 | 11



What’s in


Shopping Cart?

Credit unions now face marketing opportunities resulting from the turmoil of the U.S. financial industry, but operating budgets are tight and getting tighter. So when every expenditure has to count, what are credit unions buying? The answer: anything that will attract and/or retain customers – but no new whiz-bang technology. Instead, existing technology is being upgraded, with a sharp eye on products that already have a high rate of uptake among members. “You’re not seeing new systems, you’re seeing improvements in existing systems,” says Paul Schaus, president of financial-institution consulting firm CCG Catalyst. That’s because of the rapid change in consumer-friendly technology that can now perform many basic banking functions that change the price-to-performance dynamic. The iPad has challenged notebooks and laptops, and the iPhone serves as a lowcost computer for many people who now use it to get banking information, says Madan Mohan, head of the consumer group at Infosys.


Third-Party Support and User-Friendly Solutions Drive Credit Union Buys

Credit unions want to be faster, cheaper, and better for members. They strive to offer services compatible with the latest innovations, but in a manner and at a pace that reflects the phrase, moderation in all things. The member-driven mission of credit unions frees them to invest more in member service products and compliance than in cost-savings to boost the bottom line, says Mohan. Credit unions are able to roll out technology much faster than larger institutions because the base over which they’re deploying it is relatively small. This also makes it easier to implement tighter security and verification of member credit and debit cards. They rely on their core providers and third-party vendors for improved security and safety measures for members, such as incorporating personal questions into their user ID system, and verifying a user ID that comes from a computer the system doesn’t recognize. Few credit unions have dedicated IT systems, but they’re definitely looking for IT talent, says Mohan. Their goals are to provide members a rich online experience, while at the same time reducing operating costs. continued on page 14 SMART SOLUTIONS 2011 | 13

WHAT’S IN YOUR SHOPPING CART? continued from page 13

The customer-facing side of credit unions’ Internet capabilities are embodied in their websites, which are increasingly a target of upgrades. Credit unions are making their sites more contemporary and user-friendly, with online tools such as financial calculators and analytical tools. Infosys’ Mohan notes the advances made in financial literacy tools on the web, and targeting the right members with Internet and online banking. But they still have a ways to go when it comes to social media. Mobile payments and near field contact (NFC) technology may not be economically feasible for many credit unions because of the smaller size of their customer bases. Social media and PayPal are more cost-effective for most small credit unions, he says. Curtis Hallowell is vice president at Cummins-Allison, an international company that develops money-handling products and services. He says that while both credit unions and banks are looking for ways to reduce costs, credit unions are more likely to invest in products and services that will give members a reason to visit a branch. One humble example: the self-service coin changer, which ballparks at around $20,000 for a one-time investment. “Credit unions ask: ‘How many new members am I going to sign up if I get this?’” Hallowell says. But they see value in keeping the coin-laden member in a branch rather than sending him or her to a supermarket – which likely has an in-store bank competitor. “Credit unions don’t want to lose one member,” he says.

PRODUCTS OF INTEREST Mobile banking: Schaus expresses reservations about how quickly mobile banking is catching on. “Mobile banking 1.0 was a complete failure … in 2004,” he says. “The reason you don’t know about it was no one bought it. Mobile 2.0 got 14 | SMART SOLUTIONS 2011

traction; 3.0 [introduced the] paymentenabled side of the house.” But consumers may not be ready to swipe with a mobile phone instead of a debit card. “Vendors do a great job pushing mobile, and [financial institutions] to a degree are buying, [but] it’s not something [that is] on fire,” he says. Its role today is largely as an inquiry system – checking balances, seeing if bill and credit card payments have been processed. Those who use mobile banking now are more comfortable with mobile devices overall.

“The advent of the

iPhone, iPad and Android technologies has expanded the universe of banking devices, but also it poses new challenges for Internet security firms that don’t want their solutions to inconvenience users.” But mobile banking won’t be a must-have from an operational standpoint until the mobile payment system grows more robust, Schaus says. Remote deposit capture (RDC): As RDC becomes more accessible to retail and small-business consumers, it offers the opportunity for members to cut down on branch visits. However, there’s a catch: In exchange for attracting timestrapped members and cutting back-office check-processing costs, it eliminates the opportunity for tellers and other branch personnel to cross-sell their customers. As RDC moves from scanners to mobile phones, the question becomes whether market demand will justify the migration. Consumer RDC gets very

little volume compared to small-business customers who may do 30 or 40 checks a day. Infosys’ Mohan notes that some credit unions are moving into the RDC arena as an alternative to increasing their ATM presence, but that their choices of RDC technology may be determined by what their third-party provider offers. Image-enabled ATMs: Now becoming ubiquitous on the banking scene, ATMs that process checks and cash at the point of deposit are another potential for streamlining. But once a financial institution offers one, it has to upgrade all its ATMs, and that’s a cost decision, rather than a technology decision. Developing products: Hallowell says a big challenge for financial institution is to balance customer strategies with cost-saving strategies. More specific challenges exist in determining a return on investments for particular solutions that have success measures too soft to conduct a traditional ROI analysis: for example, Cummins-Allison has developed a desktop device to process both cash and checks. It eliminates the need for two different machines – for checks and cash – that feed into two different systems.

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE Credit unions are swarmed with thousands of reports from many different internal systems and third-party service providers and regulatory agencies. At the same time, a generation of senior credit union management is retiring or preparing to do so, resulting in a loss of the institutional memory that gives history and context to today’s data. In days gone by, more staff hours could be put into reconciling data by entering it into a “work-around” program such as Excel. This not only opens the process to human error, it’s also not good use of staff time when the ability to do more with less is taking a higher priority. Michael Morrison, president and

CEO of report analytics and services company Datawatch Corp., says he’s seen a heightened interest in business intelligence products by credit unions in recent times. Credit unions have already invested significantly in reports and reporting processes from Symitar, Fiserv and other ERP-generated reports, but to gather useful data from these reports, data have to be reconciled across multiple systems. Add to that regulatory reports such as OFAC, which is stored in a government database, but for which the only access credit unions have is a paper report that comes in the mail. The traditional approach of financial institutions is not to leverage existing reports, but to reach into databases, extract data, and stage it in custom-built data warehouses, Morrison says. They then buy more hardware and databases, and add a business intelligence solution on top. The time and cost of such a project can run from a half-million to multimillion dollar sums, and take six to 18 months – a commitment of time and expense that credit unions aren’t keen on. Credit unions prefer to take what they currently have and make it more efficient, Morrison says. They’ll want solutions that compare data from several different sources and formats, and draw out the data that matches or doesn’t match, according to what’s being sought. A Datawatch product, Report Analytics, enables non-IT departments such as finance and sales, to generate their own reports without the need to generate a data warehouse or submit a report request to an IT department that is often spread thin. Morrison predicts that the self-service approach will garner heightened interest in the credit union universe over the next six to 12 months.

president of authentication and product manager for Safenet, a 25-year-old data protection company. The advent of the iPhone, iPad and Android technologies has expanded the universe of banking devices, but also it poses new challenges for Internet security firms that don’t want their solutions to inconvenience users. Malware has become “wildly sophisticated” over the last 18 months, he says, moving from attacking the user ID to attacking the transaction itself. Even when the customer authenticates using a token, the malware waits for a user to perform a transaction, then hijacks that transaction and alters it for malicious gain. This has caused the FFIEC to publish updated guidelines for security, calling for banks to implement a multi-layered approach. “The ROI is starting to really shift,”

Christina P. O’Neill is editor of Credit Union Smart Solutions.

It’s Time to Expect More from Currency Automation Solutions and Self-Service Coin Centers

Doing Things the Right Way

Currency Dispensers

Centers ice Coin Self-Serv

SECURITY Shifting economic forces and technologies are changing the purchasing priorities of financial institution internet security, according to Andrew Young, vice

he says. “A year or two ago, it was not economical to put up a front line [of security]. Fraud was less expensive than the solution. Now, fraud is more expensive.” Coming solutions to combat fraud include trusted browsers restricting the user to the financial institution’s website, and transaction verification technology using an independent channel from the bank to the user via a token or the user’s phone. Any transaction on the latter system, an out-of-band channel, would require user approval. “Risk is not a static thing,” Young says. “They want a solution not for [only] today’s problems, but one that will grow over time.” n



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How Credit Unions Can Complement Business Intelligence for Data-Driven Decisions BY MICHAEL MORRISON


ith the explosion of available data at a credit union’s disposal, and despite the overwhelming offerings available to harness these assets, financial institutions of all sizes continue to grapple with capturing and presenting the information they need in an engaging and understandable format. In an effort to make more informed business decisions, many departments and individual line-ofbusiness users have turned to business intelligence (BI) solutions as a way to mine data for both reporting and forecasting purposes and to address business issues. It’s well known that BI software can provide advanced reporting and predictive analysis, but for many day-to-day reporting tasks, its sophisticated functionality is overly complex. For tasks like these, business users and self-service “data consumers” at credit unions may find the technical challenges of BI a deterrent and, as a result, often rely on the IT department to generate custom reports. This not only creates more work for an already over-taxed IT group, but also introduces delays and frustration for the users who require accurate and timely information in order to perform their job effectively. The underlying issue is that business users often have all the information they need – but that information resides in Michael Morrison is president and CEO at Datawatch Corporation, Chelmsford, Mass.-based provider of report analytics products and services. For more information contact him at or visit 16 | SMART SOLUTIONS 2011

existing reports and business documents scattered throughout the organization. Since they have no easy way to dynamically organize, integrate and analyze the intelligence trapped in these static documents, they are often left with less than ideal options. Credit unions generate thousands of reports, but those reports are largely unusable without investing time and money into burdensome processes. Report analytics software leverages the institution’s existing reports and reporting processes – and provides back office professionals, executives and even individual branch managers with a self-service environment. This allows them to extract the relevant intelligence from any combination of these existing documents and transform that information into dynamic, interactive reports for easy analysis and visualization. Whether the reports or business documents originate inside the credit union or from external sources like customers or suppliers, report analytics allows business users to create, distribute and publish these reports without time delays or involving IT. And with today’s increasing cost pressures and decreasing revenues, anything that bolsters productivity is critical in today’s real-time, customerfocused business environment.

HARNESSING BUSINESS ASSETS In most credit unions, the volume of data is enormous, creating a challenge that lies not in amassing more data, but rather in integrating and using the meaningful data that already exists. Data exists in various static reports, transaction systems, data stores, and formats, which force employees to spend valuable time aggregating

information from various sources. Once they have access, they still need to manipulate the data in familiar programs like Excel in order to present the information in the right format, to the right people, instead of focusing on the more value-added activity of analyzing and acting on the data itself. To complicate matters, existing reports and business documents come from a variety of sources, which creates a major challenge for business users who need to make timely, informed business decisions based on available data.

“Once data is put into Excel, the business user is violating most data governance policies.” MAKING DATA MEANINGFUL Most organizations spend a great deal of money and time consolidating and mapping data into a data warehouse, data mart or other operational data store. Or worse, an organization simply abandons the idea of leveraging that data and operates by intuition rather than hard data. Report analytics began to take root as a way to address this longstanding business challenge. Report analytics tools model, aggregate and transform information from any number of existing reports and business documents throughout the credit union, making it easy for users to access, extract and analyze data without having to invest in new reporting solutions. Functioning as the “missing link” in the broader BI reporting arena, report analytics captures structured and semi-structured data from virtually any existing document. It also enables faster and deeper visibility into the business and better, more informed business decisions.

REPORT ANALYTICS AND BI For many, report analytics sounds like it overlaps with business analytics or business intelligence. In fact, they are complementary, yet key differences between the two exist. For instance, in BI deployments, a few staff members, largely from IT, are charged with managing the data and creating both content and reports for business users. So while BI systems are an invaluable asset for many – allowing them to discern patterns in customer behavior and align the business behind a common goal – it may not always be the best, or only, tool for generating reports. Of the IT staff questioned in a recent study, 31 percent said their department was required to produce up to 100 reports a month while 16 percent generated up to 500. Even worse, 4 percent estimated that they were required to produce more than 1,000 reports every month. The time that IT staff spent on producing

these reports varied, with half taking a day or more and 10 percent estimating an average time of weeks or months. With such a limited group responsible for developing reports for the entire financial institution, back-logs undoubtedly will occur. In other words, it requires lots of IT support to make information usable. And, often, while IT is off programming the custom reports, the business requirements change – meaning the data in custom report is once again incapable of solving a particular business problem. This leads data consumers to the ever-popular BI “workaround” – Excel. All too often, business users dump the data they need into Excel, import additional information from transactional systems or other sources that are not in the data warehouse, and then perform analytics from there. This cumbersome manual process, while painful, is necessary as there is often little analytic value otherwise because of the missing and incomplete data. And while it solves the business user’s immediate need – getting the data they need to answer specific questions – it is fraught with peril. On a tactical level, moving data from a trusted system to the unsecure environment of Excel introduces the possibility of compromising data accuracy due to simple human error. On a much more strategic level, this process completely undermines the integrity of the data. Once data is put into Excel, the business user is violating most data governance policies. The data is no longer trusted. Report analytics is a smart approach in today’s economy. It is an easy self-service solution which enables business users and data consumers at credit unions to get the data they need out of existing reports. Not only does this approach leverage the firm’s significant investments in enterprise applications, but it also avoids the costly route of creating a data warehouse, or programming one’s way to an acceptable solution. And saving money and returning these earning back to members in the form of better rates, fewer and lower fees, and enhancements that improve their experience is what credit unions are all about. n SMART SOLUTIONS 2011 | 17


Taking Board Package Distribution to the Next Level B Y PAT R I C K “ P J ” S C H U N K E


he whole idea of board portals – allowing your board to access board packages online – has been a relatively new concept over the past few years. Institutions have slowly adapted this idea as security, privacy, and speed of delivery have become a growing concern during these tough economic times. Convincing a president or chief operations officer may not be as difficult as convincing the people who will actually be using the portal: the board members themselves. Going from a traditionally bound paper board book to a digital format is a big jump for board members. Being comfortable with a tangible 8.5 by 11 piece of paper is understandable. (In fact, paper, in the form of papyrus fibers, was used as long ago as 3500 BCE.) Is it possible that the newest technology on the market will help bridge that gap? The Apple iPad’s thin, high-resolution, 9.7-inch LED-backlit display is remarkably crisp and vivid, makes it perfect for web browsing, watching movies, viewing photos, or even reviewing board packages. It stands 9.56 inches tall by 7.47 inches wide, making it just a couple of inches smaller than a standard piece of paper. The iPad is lightweight, at 1.5 pounds, and the frame is thin, at half an inch, making it comfortably portable, and not much heavier than a traditional board package. WiFi and 3G capabilities will make it easy to access the Internet from anywhere that coverage is available, including the board room.

Patrick “PJ” Schunke is president of FSI, one of the largest independently-owned service providers to the banking industry and has been creating customized, turnkey banking solutions since 1954. For more information about Director Access, visit or call 201-652-6000, 1-888-3746200 toll-free. For more information about Financial Services, Inc., visit 18 | SMART SOLUTIONS 2011

Director Access is a secure, browser-based, online board portal developed by FSI. It’s because of FSI’s banking experience that Director Access has met the needs of so many financial institutions over the last few years. When the iPad was released, FSI was able to react quickly because Director Access was developed in-house by our own programmers. Within only a few days, Director Access was tested and released for full iPad support. FSI will always do our best to keep existing and future customers ahead of the curve in the technology world. Now, through the iPad and Director Access, clients are able to access board packages with a single touch. Along with instant access to current board packages, you’ll have access to an archive of board materials, loan request documentation, vendor management tools, calendar of events, secure messaging system, polls, forums, surveys, contact directory, and a central repository reserved for policies, procedures, and any other digital document you’d like your directors to have access to. The display automatically adjusts to being held vertically or horizontally. Directors will have the ability to zoom in to view smaller type and flip from page to page with the simple flick of the fingertip. Multiple documents can be opened simultaneously, with the ability to jump from one document to another by just pressing a thumbnail of the document you want to see enlarged. Security features are built right into the iPad, requiring a four-digit passcode before gaining access to any applications or documentation on the iPad. What you will not find on the iPad are files, folders or windows. This is because the iPad is not meant to take the place of a desktop computer or laptop. This keeps things simple. Perfect for what a director needs to access their board packages. No fluff, no distractions; just practical, engaging, and convenient. Coupled with Director Access, we may have found the future of the distribution of board packages and their presentment inside the board room. n

E-LEARNING A NEW WAY TO TRAIN ONLINE continued from page 11

union to make sure their staff is able to participate in training courses without it being at the expense of member service.

IMPROVED ENGAGEMENT Prerecorded webinar sessions have the benefit of being able to be viewed at the employee’s convenience, but do not offer the interactive experience that can be achieved during a live session. Such sessions are often not engaging and, as a result, little of the information presented is retained. As Gen Y continues to enter the workforce, credit unions must use training methods that will keep staff engaged and a simple, prerecorded webinar just doesn’t cut it. By taking the convenience of 24/7 availability and adding interactive components, online universities can deliver an engaging student experience for employees of all ages. Embedded

flash games, which test the participant’s knowledge level or the application of concepts, help to reinforce course material in an entertaining way and require that the participant actually interact with the training in order to proceed. This method mimics similar activities that might be conducted in a traditional classroom setting, where the trainer helps students understand the application of what they just learned. Similarly, online universities often include a brief quiz in order to measure the amount of information the student retained after participating in the course. Once the course has been completed, a certificate of completion allows supervisors to track which employees have participated in the training. Message forums set up through the online university format also allow for a level of engagement that is unmatched by webinars and other online training methods. Participants are able to engage trainers with questions and feedback about the course and can

participate in ongoing discussions regarding the application of course concepts in a way previously unavailable in financial product trainings.

IMPROVED MEMBER SERVICE By offering a combination of efficiency and engagement, online universities for credit unions provide staff with a cutting edge way to deliver trainings. Studies have shown that employees are more likely to offer products that they understand, since they feel prepared to answer any questions they may receive. In an industry where member service is at the forefront, CRI Solutions, Inc., has created an online university that addresses the flexible training needs of credit union staff. Our credit union clients have access to a variety of courses designed specifically for their financial product set. To learn more about the variety of training programs offered by CRI Solutions, visit our website at n



Remote Services Score Efficiencies and Convenience



here are major advantages to working with a service provider to offer comprehensive remote services to members. This is something that University Credit Union ($201 million, Orono, Maine) has experienced, especially with their remote services offerings. With a membership consisting mostly of college students and alumni, for University Credit Union, offering the latest in technology is a necessity in growing and retaining their membership. There are several major advantages to working with a service provider to offer comprehensive remote services to members, says Joseph Gervais, executive vice president for University Credit Union. “There are primarily two major reasons to consolidate your remote service offerings with one or a few providers – consistency in the member experience and security/vendor due diligence,” Gervais says. “In today’s technology environment it is important that the member feel comfortable and secure when interacting with their credit union, regardless of the device they are using. Consolidation of vendor relationships improves our ability to manage third-party relationships and ensures adequate measures are in place.” UCU partners with Synergent, a credit union-owned service bureau in Westbrook, Maine, for technology services, check processing, ATM and debit card processing, direct marketing services and shared branching.

MOBILE DEMANDS “Given our younger, more technology-savvy membership base, a mobile banking solution was a must have to meet our members’ needs,” Gervais says. UCU saw the trend with the adoption of smart devices. It was evidence to him that smart devices will quickly become the device of choice for interaction with the credit union for a large percentage of their members. Synergent is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. A subsidiary of the Maine Credit Union League, Synergent provides credit unions. For case studies from other credit unions, visit For information about Synergent Technology Services, contact Fred Barber, account executive, at 800-341-0180, ext. 593 or


CARD IN HAND According to UCU, instant issuance with their debit card program benefits the new member experience as they are able to leave the credit union with an activated card in hand and can begin using their account immediately. It is also extremely beneficial in cases where members experience fraud on their account. To know that a compromised card can be closed immediately and a new card instantly issued is a major convenience for their members. “Layering on our member’s ability to personalize their debit card with their own photo or University of Maine campus image adds additional value and uniqueness in the market,” Gervais says.

MORE THAN HOME BANKING “We have been able to add a number of system enhancements to our core home-banking platform to improve our member experience,” Gervais says. In addition to eAlerts, UCU members can update name, address and email address information via the platform. The credit union also has single sign-on capabilities to third-party platforms to make the member experience more seamless.

SHARED BRANCHING VIA KIOSKS UCU wants to provide their members with the latest in technology-based convenience solutions. The credit union is always on the lookout for new ways to expand their accessibility of services to their SEG. The self-service kiosks fit that criteria well and allow the credit union to better serve our members in a cost-effective manner.

TARGET MARKETING WITH CORE DATA MINING Synergent’s direct marketing services takes marketing beyond design to provide comprehensive support, helping UCU reach members with targeted marketing for all services, such as business services, loan growth, and product penetration, with data base mining through its Episys core processing solution. “In order to deepen member relationships in the first six months, we are leveraging our core data base to allow us to develop more targeted and meaningful marketing initiatives,” said Gervais. n

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Keeping the Focus on Checking Accounts



redit quality, capital, compliance and change. The four C’s of banking today require so much attention, who has time to focus on checking accounts and retail banking? Acquiring and keeping core customers should be a top priority and a long-term strategy for credit unions. Who is your chief checking officer? At most financial institutions, no one is directly held accountable for the growth of checking accounts, the lowest cost of funds and greatest source of non-interest income. Are you opening more accounts than you are closing? How many of your accounts are actively being used? There’s a lot at stake. With all the recent changes in fee structures, now is the time to focus on account acquisition and driving transactional activity. So it’s back to the basics. How do we attract new demand deposit accounts? It’s time to hold up the mirror and ask: “Am I their first choice?”

DO PEOPLE WANT TO VISIT YOUR BANK? Attracting new checking account customers requires not only having competitive products and services, but also being a destination that people want to visit. On a recent stop at a new credit union, I thought I had just entered a museum instead. The marble was beautiful. I guess I was supposed to feel reassured that this was a strong, dependable credit union. As I made my way to the teller counter, I passed several empty desks and wondered if it was a result of downsizing or if the branch was just too big. As the only customer, every step echoed through the lobby. People take their money seriously, but how could we make our credit unions a fun place to visit and not just a dreaded task on the “to-do” list? When you walk into your local branch, do you feel energy in a welcoming environment or do you feel like you’re in a museum?

IS IT EASY TO BANK WITH YOU? How many checking account options do you need to serve everyone? If your product offering is so confusing that your staff Cindy Draper is retail DDA strategist for Wilmington, N.C.-based Velocity Solutions, Inc., a provider of profit strategies to community and regional banks and credit unions. She can be reached at


doesn’t understand it, how do you expect your customers to? Six paragraphs of small print on the bottom of the brochure will not clear things up. The most effective strategy is to simplify your account and service offerings.

ARE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT YOU? How do you get people in your community talking about your credit union and considering you for their next banking relationship? Ask your fans – those customers who love you – to talk about you. Offer something that other bank or credit unions do not. You don’t have to win the rate war to compete. Have you been too busy to focus on training and service standards? Are your expectations clear to every member of your team? You simply have to be the best!

NET ACCOUNTS: ARE YOU GAINING OR LOSING GROUND? We’ve heard it a thousand times: “What gets measured gets done.” Are you closing more checking accounts than you open each month? Analyzing and understanding this part of your business is key. Consider tracking why customers are leaving your institution and where they are going. What does that financial institution offer that you don’t? When I interview consumers who have recently changed financial institutions, they are insulted that no one cared that they closed their account. Show you care by sending a letter asking for their feedback. How many accounts are you opening each month? Of those new accounts, how many are truly active customers? Are your tellers staying with those customers through the transition or just through the new account opening process? Getting people to open an account is only the first hurdle in truly acquiring a new customer. Getting them to use that account is just as important. The best sign that an account is really on board is debit card activity. Is the debit card on the new account being used? Does anyone at your credit union know? If you can’t answer these questions, it’s time to act! It’s human nature to play harder when the scoreboard is on. Recognizing and rewarding efforts and identifying areas of opportunity are critical to success. Senior management shining a spotlight on the growth of checking accounts is the first step in growing your account base. It’s time to add the fifth “C” to today’s banking strategy: checking account acquisition. n

“Your Go-To Resource to Solve the Benefit Puzzle” Executive Compensation/Benefits • Attract/Retain Executives & Directors • Financing Strategies to Offset Costs and Increase to Earnings • Compliance/Monitoring “Their excellent counsel has contributed quite handsomely to our bottom line and the success of our benefit programs. Our Vice President of Human Resources repeatedly tells me how happy she and her entire HR team are ever since we moved to Kaeding. If you’re looking for a top-notch business partner, I would encourage you to give them a call.” Francis P. Dauphinais

Senior Vice President-Finance & Administration Chief Financial Officer IC Federal Credit Union

The Pangburn Group Completely Independent fee only record keeper and compliance partner. Represents over 750 financial institutions across the nation.

…. Thirty years of success protecting corporate Human and Financial Resources. and “Solving the Benefits Puzzle” Kaeding & Company - Leader in Integrated Employee Benefits 420 Lakeside Ave | Suite 303 | Marlborough, MA 01752 | 508.460.0165 |

The POWER you need, for the service your members trust.

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Payment Systems

unions, we understand what it means to serve your members. Synergent

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As an organization owned by credit unions, and serving only credit

has the unique advantage of having all our divisions under one roof, meeting your needs with a collaborative mindset; with the strength for service delivery like no other provider. Synergent is first and foremost a service organization, and serves as an extension of your staff, allowing

Fred Barber Technology Services Account Executive 1.800.341.0180 ext. 593 Jean DeStefano Payment Systems Account Executive 1.413.527.9688

you to better serve your members.

Celebrating Our 40 Years of Serving Credit Unions


Smart Solutions 2011  

This 2011 annual issue of Credit Union Smart Solutions offers informative articles for credit unions of all sizes, across the country. Topic...

Smart Solutions 2011  

This 2011 annual issue of Credit Union Smart Solutions offers informative articles for credit unions of all sizes, across the country. Topic...