“It’s about time!” is a consistent comment from vendors and credit union executives at the mention of the CUNA Technology Council’s monumental undertaking: Credit Union Financial Exchange (CUFX).
If you haven’t heard the good news yet, CUFX aims to create and promote a single technology integration standard for the credit union movement.
Experts from leading credit unions and top vendors are collaborating on the CUFX initiative. Representatives from credit unions, core processors, application providers, and industry advisers are volunteering to provide the necessary resources.
CUFX will help credit unions:
► Increase the speed of delivery of new business functions;
► Simplify integration and reduce the initial and ongoing costs of vendor-provided and credit union-created offerings;
► Improve the overall member experience;
► Increase employee efficiency; and
► Free vendors from repetitive, time-consuming customizations, enabling them to focus their efforts on application innovation.
Initially, CUFX will focus on new applications or existing transaction sets that support new initiatives, such as personal finance management (PFM), and membership and mobile applications. Building on these key initiatives, CUFX will create new standards so back-end systems ultimately will speak the same language. Future initiatives might include re-engineering existing transaction sets.
Keep in mind that CUFX is:
► Integration specifications, not software or a “middleware” solution;
► Vendor and credit union agnostic, not proprietary; and
► 100% controlled by credit unions.
The first case study is underway at $1.6 billion asset Baxter Credit Union, Vernon Hills, Ill. Baxter went live in July with the CUFX-based integration between MoneyDesktop online banking, the PSCU credit union service organization, and Symitar’s Episys core platform.
Ultimately, Baxter is implementing its PFM product using industry standards. The final specifications were designed to fit the needs of all credit unions.
For credit unions to grow, remain competitive, and provide the best member experiences across all channels, they must continually improve their technical infrastructure. Unfortunately, the lack of a single integration standard tends to diminish the overall return on investment of technology initiatives. Credit unions unnecessarily spend millions of dollars as they independently integrate similar solutions.
In my 30 years working in the credit union movement, I haven’t seen a technological initiative with the potential to create an impact as great as CUFX. I personally believe CUFX will benefit every credit union, the vendors that help us, staff who serve our members, and ultimately members themselves.
The CUNA Technology Council is excited to move these standards forward. The financial services industry is changing at a rapid pace. Credit unions need innovative initiatives such as CUFX to survive and to remain competitive and relevant. Within five years, I hope every credit union core processor is using CUFX.
To find out more about CUFX, visit cufxstandards.com, contact a council member (cunatechnologycouncil.org), or seek out a council member at the CUNA Technology Council Conference, Oct. 14-17, in Las Vegas. After all, the council’s mission is to be the first place our members go for information and to connect with others, for the best use of technology in support of the credit union movement.
HEATHER MOSHIER is executive vice president of information technology at San Diego (Calif.) County Credit Union and chair of the CUNA Technology Council. Contact her at 858-597-8612. For more information about CUNA Councils, visit cunacouncils.org.