CU Mag: What other advice do you offer CUs?
Casagrand: Before the conversion, clean up your processes and do an inventory of your forms. Eliminate everything you won’t be using anymore. Purge your system—get rid of the junk.
Also, get accustomed to the system before making changes. Don’t do too much customization until you’re used to the system.
Bilke: I tell credit unions, “don’t assume your vendor will convert you without your help. I can drag you through a pretty good conversion, but it will never be a great conversion unless you’re fully engaged.”
Doing a conversion without the credit union’s help would be a monumental task. The credit union knows its members, business processes, and quirky accounts. If it’s not engaged in the process, that creates tremendous risk to the conversion.
Also, the little things do matter, especially interfaces. Consider that the typical $1 billion asset credit union has 30 to 40 interfaces that must work flawlessly from day one, whether it’s pulling a credit report, ordering checks or plastics—the list goes on.
You have to identify, test, and ensure you have all of those interfaces in place and working when you go live. When you do cut over, it’s fast-moving because you have all of the ATM, share drafts, payroll, and other transactions coming in.
It’s a huge financial responsibility for us and the credit union. There’s a lot of money moving around—much more so than in the past. I did conversions 25 years ago and it’s much more complex today.
With good planning and execution, a core conversion can be a great experience for the credit union and its employees.
• Compare and contrast the credit union movement's top core processors and their systems' features and functions using Credit Union Magazine's 2011 Information Systems Guide.
Bill Merrick is deputy editor of Credit Union Magazine. Follow him on Twitter via @CUMagazine.