The core system is the foundation of all credit union operations. However, one system or provider is not likely to last a credit union’s entire lifetime. As credit unions grow and change, their technology needs from a core provider might also change. And if their current provider isn't willing to grow with them, it might be time to start a core system review and consider alternatives. There are many factors to take into account when looking into core system providers, however, the best core platforms will have a few key features in common. When choosing the perfect core data processor for your credit union, ensure these four features are included.
A core that cannot easily integrate with your existing systems and vendors will not prove to be an effective option. Open architecture is not only a coveted design by credit unions but a necessary one, especially as credit unions grow larger. In today’s market, credit unions will not be able to provide the quality of experience members expect if services like digital lending and mobile banking apps are disjointed from the core platform. This would not only be a huge inconvenience for credit union staff as they will be re-keying information, but it would cause hiccups in the member experience as well. Before committing to a core provider, ensure all the integrations you need are supported by the core.
Adaptable & Innovative
Partnering with an innovative and adaptable provider will deliver serious benefits in the long run. Credit unions should consider core providers that constantly strive to innovate new solutions, as well as improve those already in place. Many credit unions have been subject to the effects of a provider that has failed to invest in the products they offer, putting those solutions in what is known as “maintenance mode”. When this happens, the relationship between the credit union and the provider often becomes strained because the client feels as though they aren’t receiving the support, management, or capabilities they were initially promised. Technology is constantly shifting and it's the job of the core data processor to help credit unions remain competitive as it relates to serving their members with technology.
Responsiveness and support can be a major pain point for credit unions. When partnering with a new core system provider, ensure they have a good support team in place that your credit union can rely upon. Credit unions using a third party vendor or re-seller to manage their core system are at the mercy of the provider, and should something happen, you want to be confident that your partner is there to address the issue. In addition to IT support, companies that are willing to work with credit unions and help them maximize the use of the platform will be a huge asset. Having the latest core technology isn’t helpful if your credit union isn’t using it to its fullest potential. Possibly the best way to vet a companies customer support is through peer reviews. Call current users of the system and ask them about their first-hand experiences in receiving customer support.
Usability is certainly a key feature to consider as well. As mentioned above, having the latest and greatest core technology is useless if your CU staff can’t properly leverage it or at least do so efficiently. This might boil down to the number of clicks it takes to access certain member information. It could also be the accessibility to data within one screen, without the need for going in and out of different screens.
Before committing to a core provider, also ask about ongoing training and online academies. While some training will certainly be required for any new core system, your credit union should not need to make extensive investments in training.
Not all core providers are created equal. When shopping around, consider the features and integrations you need, as well as the provider’s commitment to support customers and ongoing account management. Finding a new core provider can be quite similar to the age-old fable, Goldilocks. Some systems will be too complex, while others won’t have all the necessary integrations, but eventually, through research and evaluation, your credit union will find the one that's "just right".