December 1, 2005
ID Theft Prevention
Throughout the past year, we have put a lot of effort and resources into developing an innovative solution to help protect consumers against identity theft, which has become the nation's fastest- growing crime. We are very pleased to report that our
solution for check fraud prevention will be available in January 2006. It's just the first in a suite of fraud prevention capabilities that Harland will be rolling out to provide financial institutions a way to combat major types of payments fraud.
The comprehensive solution employs image processing, data encoding and encryption, digital printing, and statistical validation software to confirm the authenticity of the maker's signature at any point of presentment. Our pilot test results indicate users can expect to eliminate at least 85% of their check fraud losses due to forgeries and counterfeiting.
This technology could save the industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year, while protecting the identities and assets of credit union members and consumers in general. We are confident credit unions will benefit significantly from this solution, as it will address security concerns surrounding fraudulent checks and help reduce annual check fraud-related losses.
Kevin Lee, president, HarlandÃ¢â‚¬Ëœs Services and Payment Solutions division, Atlanta.
Better Internal Processes
I've been with Symitar as national sales manager for six years, and was promoted to president just 90 days ago. For the past five years, Symitar has had great success in selling new solutions and gaining market share. We've grown from a little regional software company to the dominant provider in our industry, as Episys
is the No. 1 installed solution among credit unions with more than $25 million in assets, according
to Callahan & Associates.
We need to focus on our own internal processes. We know we need to improve how we do things to do a better job of servicing our customers. We've always been committed to customer service, and when we were a smaller company we could easily deliver that personal service. But as Symitar has grown, we haven't addressed how we do things internally to balance against the growth. And adding more people isn't always the right answer.
Consequently, the major thing we're focused on in 2006 is to improve our internal processes to do a better job servicing our customers. The six most expensive words in business are: We've always done it that way. We will re-engineer our processes, keep customer service as job one, and use better tools and methods that are available to us to deliver the absolute best customer experience in our industry.
Kathy Hooker-Burress, president, Symitar, San Diego.
Third-Party Application Integration Hub
EPL will be building a third-party application integration hub to address the limits core processors place on the choices credit unions want to make to drive their business. The integration hub will address this issue by building integration for third-party products to the hub, and to a variety of core systems, not just EPL's open architecture core processing system,
In fact, the hub will be positioned as data processor-independent and core application-neutral.
Extensible markup language is used as the cornerstone to create a common set of credit union standards for communications between core systems and third-party applications via the hub.
EPL is creating a similar hub called 'Device Bridge' to provide core connectivity for credit union peripheral devices as well. This hub relies on Java Extensions for Financial Systems, a common interchange language for devices, to create connections without having to load drivers on all machines.
Phil Clarke, executive vice president, sales & marketing, EPL, Birmingham, Ala.
Faster, Better New Product Delivery
In the past few years, Open Solutions, has become a leading provider of information processing services for credit unions. We have observed that credit unions continue to invest more in serving the needs of their members year after year. We believe that in 2006, credit unions will intensify their efforts to serve the growing needs of the business community and the business service demands of their memberships.
Credit unions are facing pressure on margins and competition from banks and nontraditional players such as insurance companies and brokerage firms. In 2006, credit unions more than ever will need the ability to launch new products and services more quickly to address the growing needs and wants of their members. As a result, many credit unions have entered, or are planning to enter, the member business services arena.
Banks have a head start on offering business services and continue to spend technology dollars on providing these types of commercial product and service offerings to small, medium, and large businesses. But more credit unions now are looking to provide their memberships with business services and are exploring how to add this functionality to their product mix.
As credit unions look for ways to serve the total needs of their membership, they've identified member business services as one way to do this. The question, however, has become, 'How will credit unions develop and implement business services offerings?'
To assist in this effort, during 2006, Open Solutions plans to offer a series of Credit Union Member Business Services Forums discussing the implementation of business services within a credit union. The forums will include panel discussions featuring credit unions that have already implemented business services programs, as well as best practice discussions and presentations from subject matter experts.
These forums will be offered to Open Solutions clients and nonclients.
The good news is that credit unions have access to the same types of business service-focused technologies and industry vendor resources that banks do. Credit unions are just as, if not more proficient, in adopting these programs to better serve their memberships and embrace their longstanding attributes of superior service, trusted relationships, and member affinity.
Gary Daniel, senior vice president & general manager, Credit Union Group,
Open Solutions Inc., Glastonbury, Conn.
Enhancing Electronic Delivery
Aggressively enhancing the electronic delivery channel will be a key initiative for
USERS, in response to what we're hearing from our clients and the marketplace at large.
Credit unions tell us their members' expectations for more services available faster and remotely, combined with increasing cost pressures, will make electronic delivery a key business focus for them.
In response, USERS will continue to build out our Internet and other electronic delivery offerings in various ways. For instance, as new electronic products emerge (including innovative credit card options), we'll develop the core system functionality to support them.
The ability to support electronic deposits made via home banking also will become important to credit unions. And to ensure that members are confident in conducting more business with the credit union electronically, the whole area of Internet security--particularly member identity authentication--will be a major emphasis for USERS.
Theresa Benavidez, chief technology officer, USERS, Valley Forge, Pa.
HSAs Present Opportunities
With strong business select employee group relationships, a focus on serving members' financial needs, and a growing interest in attracting new commercial relationships, credit unions make ideal trustees for health savings accounts (HSAs). And with the promise of a rapidly increasing number of accounts--8.2 million accounts with $50 billion in deposits by 2010--HSAs have tremendous potential to help credit unions boost deposits, increase revenue, and attract new members, both consumer and commercial.
IntegraSys recognized early on the opportunities HSAs present for credit unions. As a result of that insight, we've proactively added support for HSA processing into our core platforms. By the start of 2006, all four of the core processing platforms we deliver to the credit union market will offer the necessary tools to enable credit unions to capture their share of this growing market. Our new HSA support solutions include reporting and summary features that streamline the HSA support process for credit unions and offer attractive capabilities for consumers, such as debit and ATM card access, home banking transfers, and inclusion of HSA data on member statements.
J. Scott Butler, president, IntegraSys, Frisco, Texas.
Software Development Toolkit
is launching a software development toolkit for its credit union customers and business partners. XP2 APEX enables access into XP Systems' data processing system via XML calls. The toolkit allows new or existing applications to securely retrieve real-time member database information and to initiate XP2 transactions.
The innovations made possible by this technology include simple things such as generating automatic letters when various events occur in the system, or more complex operations such as Web and third-party applications in lending and other areas. XP2 APEX benefits progressive credit unions by allowing them to write software directly to the system, and benefits all of our credit union customers through new products and capabilities third-party vendors will be able to offer.
John Edwards, president, XP Systems, Moorpark, Calif.