When shopping for a car, we are presented with an extraordinary amount of bells and whistles. Some of these luxuries are considered essentials that auto manufacturers have come to include on most new cars, such as heated seats, power windows, and rearview cameras. Other add-ons that have become 'nice-to-haves' include built-in navigational apps, or in-car entertainment options. Most of these additions are developed by outside companies and then built into the car. For example, Ford recently announced it will be incorporating Amazon's voice recognition software, known as Alexa, into their newer models. However, when shopping for a new car, it's important to not lose sight of the essentials as the most important features. Knowing those third party bells and whistles can be added is still important to your overall experience, but not as important as the engine. In much the same way, when shopping for a new core processing system for your credit union, shop for the essentials the core delivers first. Then ensure it has an API or Application Programming Interface, that brings the ability to tap into other products that bring additional value.
A core system is essential and should deliver the needed featuers and services credit unions require. When shopping for new core technology, it is wise to primarily focus on the features and benefits the core system delivers. However, a secondary focus should be what the core does not directly offer and their ability to integrated with 3rd parties through their API.
An API allows credit unions to take advantage of new products and features that are developed outside their core. As technology rapidly develops, new companies are popping up with products that can give your CU a boost in your product offering or operations. Tapping into these products does not and should not require moving to a new core. Your core provider should realize this, and embrace it, by developing the ability to integrate other services to their offering through an API.
A best-in-class core processor should allow you to support your members, protect their data, and allow your CU the ability to grow. It should have a strong central foundation that is stable yet scalable. Once you have partnered with a core processor that provides these benefits, investigate the core's ability to integrate with 3rd parties. A core processor should recognize they can't offer the 'best of breed' in every ancillary product and should allow for simple integration with fintech companies who specialize in niches of the financial services industry.
If you promise a customer a great car with a shiny, new paint job, a nav system, and custom leather interior, they're going to expect it looks comparable under the hood. If its core functions repeatedly fail, that's what they call a lemon. Don't let your potential core provider distract you with all the bells and whistles...Make sure you've got a powerful piece of machinery under the hood. Then be sure their API allows for all the ancillary integrations you want.