Articles and Press Releases
CU*Answers Converts Notre Dame Federal Credit Union
CU*Answers, West Michigan-based core processing CUSO, announced that Notre Dame Federal Credit Union is now online with their core product, CU*BASE®. The Delivery Services team converted the credit union’s data on March 28, 2014 for its 58,000 members. CU*Answers rolled out its Custom Training Program to train NDFCU’s corporate trainers who then facilitated classroom training for their 176 partners in preparation for their conversion to CU*BASE. The program was a huge success as reflected in each partner’s confidence in navigating their new software.
CU*Answers Delivery Service team has over 35 years collectively of data conversion experience and are ready to assist new and existing clients with their projects and ensure a smooth transition.
CU*Answers is Committed to Work/Life Balance
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO, has stated it commitment to the work/life balance of its employees and has empowered its team for success. Understanding that this balance is ever changing at each stage of life, CU*Answers encourages employees to find ways to live their life that give them personal fulfillment.
“Work life balance is an ever evolving goal. It is as much the responsibility of the employee as it is the employer,” says Bob Frizzle, CU*Answers CFO. “Offer the capacity you have, the ability and desire to deliver, and then have the fortitude to be true to it.”
CU*Answers Executive Team supports this Work/Life Balance initiative and their Organizational Resource Development (ORD) Team has provided a resource tool for employees to help analyze what balance is needed for them. “In the end, we want our employees to know that CU*Answers is on their side during this journey,” states Katie Smigiel, CU*Answers Vice President of ORD.
CU*Answers Supports Employee Development
CU*Answers, the West Michigan-based cooperative CUSO, declared that promoting employee education and training are tangible objectives for the professional and personal growth of their staff. As a continued investment in our team members, the Organizational Development Team offers a Trainer Certification course that encourages the development of presentation skills. The response from our team has been incredibly positive; we currently have over 50 employees that have completed and are now certified CU*Answers trainers.
March is a Busy Month at CU*Answers
CU*Answers, the 100% owned cooperative CUSO was busy hosting many events that concluded the month of March. Events included the inaugural session of CFO Strategies lead by the CUSO’s CFO, Bob Frizzle, the Accounting Top Ten, and the Pricing Focus Group. The busy month was then concluded with the CU*Answers Board Meeting.
Throughout the week of March 24-28th over 30 credit unions participated in the week’s meetings hosted by the CUSO. Those that attended were happy with the format and topics of the meetings. Having back to back events allowed for important networking and brainstorming opportunities amongst peers and colleagues for those in attendance.
CU*Answers has multiple board rooms, and meeting rooms with classroom seating available. The CUSO also has up to date technology to aid with presentations and trainings, which includes smart board technology. Contact PJ Haehnel, VP of Administration (616-285-5711 x.104) to schedule your next meeting or training session.
CU*Answers Hosts “Building a Culture of Continuity” Webinar
On April 8, 2014, CU*Answers, a 100% credit union-owned CUSO, presented a complimentary web-based Education Express course for credit unions on building a “Culture of Continuity” to enhance preparedness and response to potential business disruptions.
“The desired culture of continuity”, states Jim Lawrence, CBCP, Manager of Disaster Recovery and Business Resumption Services at CU*Answers, “is one in which all staff inherently work to minimize the likelihood of downtime and improve responsiveness and recoverability as they perform their day-to-day tasks and functions. This is best accomplished when engagement from all levels of the organization is visible and a robust awareness and training program is in place.”
As part of their commitment to their network of 200+ credit union clients, CU*Answers, a cooperative CUSO, provides professional education courses (classroom and web-based) on topics relevant to the needs and current events of the industry. Included in the series of courses offered on the topic of Information Security, interest in Business Continuity and Operational Resilience continues to grow.
Additional information about the CU*Answers Online University and Education Program can be found at www.cuanswers.com/education.
CU*Answers Offers New Tools through Mobile Web
CU*Answers, a credit union owned cooperative CUSO, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, continues to release new mobile web banking features with their upcoming 14.0 release of its core processing platform, CU*BASE® in May. It’s Me 247 Mobile Web Banking is a free offering to credit unions on the CU*BASE platform.
Giving members a way to apply for loans, use remote deposit capture, look up cleared check information, view rate boards and review their device for mobile feature support enhances the mobile delivery channel for our credit union clients. Continuing with enhancing the suite of solutions designed to cater to mobile device users, CU*Answers serves their client base with up-to-date mobile offerings.
For more information about mobile banking offerings, visit www.cuanswers.com or contact our client service team at 1-800-327-3478, extension 255.
CU*Answers launches “It’s My Biz” with Notre Dame FCU
CU*Answers, in collaboration with Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, launched in beta It’s My BIZ, the first online banking tool specifically designed for business banking.
Providing many of the personal online banking features, but with multiple log-on security and configurable access permissions is our first step with this exciting product offering. Planned for the future enhancements are mobile web and text banking, business bill pay and smart messaging.
Working with Thomas Gryp, CEO, Notre Dame FCU on the development of online banking for businesses was rewarding and continues with the 7 Cooperative Principles CU*Answers holds true in its corporate strategy. Using the ideas that come from clients provides success for CU*Answers as a CUSO and its credit union client base. Looking for exciting ways to meet the needs of businesses as they look to credit unions for their financial needs will insure that credit unions can be successful in the business marketplace.
Notre Dame FCU is the 13th largest credit union in Indiana, serving over 57,000 members.
CU*Answers Dashboards Give “Grasp” to Management Teams
CU*Answers, a core processing CUSO, allocates six programming team members to solely focus on trending analytics ‘dashboards’, delivered through quick access. These dashboards not only provide the numbers, but supply colorful graphs, and export to PDF documents for board and other presentations.
Using data already archived, this team provides dashboards designed with valuable trending and target marketing tools. This key information is needed to make strategic decisions that move the credit union forward.
The programming team works directly with Randy Karnes, CU*Answers CEO, who states “credit union executives need to show they have grasp on the business of their credit union. These CU*BASE® dashboards not only provide this grasp, but embed functions that communicate to members and act on these trends.”
With over 60 dashboards that take a look at key lending trends, financial ratios, peer rate analysis, EFT network usage, teller and cash analysis and audit tracking in addition to member product and service penetration, management teams can leverage the investment in their own data to ‘get the answers’.
For more detail, visit www.cuanswers.com/pdf/cb_ref/Leadership_Dashboards.pdf
CU*Answers Exhibits at ICUL Annual Convention
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned, cooperative CUSO exhibited at the 84th Illinois Credit Union League Annual Convention held April 3-5, 2014. Many interested credit unions stopped by the CUSO’s booth to learn more about CU*BASE®, the robust, credit union-developed data processing software to see it in action.
The event concluded with a door prize drawing in which Penny Goodrum, VP and Senior Consumer Loan Officer of First Illinois Credit Union won an Apple iPad Mini. The CU*Answers trade show team will be exhibiting at upcoming events including the Ohio Credit Union League Annual Convention, Wisconsin Credit Union League Annual Convention and Indiana Credit Union League Annual Convention this year.
CU*Answers’ “Of Course!” Connects CEOs
CU*Answers, a 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO, has announced that over 140 credit union CEOs nationally have already joined the CU*Answers “Of Course!” website to share policies and ideas, ask questions, and brainstorm new ways to run their business.
A CU*Answers spokesperson said “Of Course!” represents a private online community for CEOs utilizing a CU*BASE® connected workstation to share tips and tricks with each other. In essence, it’s a collaboration of peers sharing working practices, did-you-knows and other thought provoking moments. It also allows credit union peers to reach out to each other easily for an assist. Recent conversations include experiences and recommendations for credit union name changes, converting bill pay providers, and e-signature adoption for lending.
They concluded by stating that a CEO may even earn points for their credit union as part of the CU*Answers CollabRebate program, which gives credit unions financial rewards for participation in the cooperative. The site is restricted to CEOs of credit unions on the CU*BASE® platform to keep the audience participation and respect for participation at a certain level.
CU*Answers Adds its Newest Owner
CU*Answers, the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based cooperative CUSO, announced that it had recently added another credit union owner. This newest investor is Lakes Community Credit Union, located in Lake Orion, MI ($80M and 9,000 members).
Scott Page, CU*Answers EVP said, “Lakes Community Credit Union marks the 122nd CU*Answers owner, with four new owners already added in 2014. We are very excited at the level credit unions want to participate, including having an equal voting privilege in helping set the future direction of their cooperative technology CUSO”.
CU*Answers Schedules May Disaster Recovery Test
CU*Answers announced that its next disaster recovery test for its CU*BASE® data processing system is scheduled for May 20-22. The credit union-owned CUSO added that recovery teams will be divided between the CU*Answers secondary datacenter located in Muskegon, Michigan and the IBM BCRS hot-site facility in Sterling Forest, New York.
A unique aspect to its DR strategy is that following each recovery test, the results are published in a gap analysis report, which is then made available to every client for inclusion in their next Board of Director’s meeting minutes. CU*Answers said it provides this level of detail in order to help document the importance of this process within every credit union’s disaster recovery planning processes.
CU*Answers added that it actively encourages CU*BASE clients who may desire to be a proxy test site for any of these disaster recovery processes to register to participate.
Jim Lawrence, Manager of DR/Business Resumption Services said, “As a cooperative CUSO, we maintain a deep commitment to sharing this important information and results with our clients. Over the years, this adherence to open disclosure has been warmly received and has provided our clients an added level of knowledge and confidence when communicating with their Board of Directors and regulators.”
Newest Client Becomes CUSO’s Largest
For Xtend, Inc., the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based multi-owned cooperative CUSO, its newest client has become its largest. Indiana-based Notre Dame FCU (57,000 members; $464M in assets) began utilizing the CUSO’s call center, e-communication and compliance monitoring services in conjunction with its April 1st core data processing conversion. NDFCU migrated to the CU*BASE® data processing suite from CU*Answers, Inc.
“When NDFCU began talking to our partners at CU*Answers about a core change, they were also very interested in discussing the various shared resources solutions that Xtend could bring to the table that leveraged CUBASE®,” said Xtend President Scott Collins. “When they completed their due diligence and selected CU*Answers, we worked closely with NDFCU to develop an effective post-conversion support solution that leveraged both our teams. Following several site visits and solid planning by both teams, I think that each of us was anxious for April to get here.”
According to Collins, NDFCU is utilizing Xtend’s inbound and outbound call center support, as well as compliance monitoring and electronic member communication services. The CUSO’s back office support team is also engaged for up to ninety (90) days to help provide core best practices.
CUSO Adds First Alaska-Based Credit Union Client
Xtend, Inc., the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based multi-owned cooperative CUSO is now providing member service support for its first Alaska-based credit union – Ketchikan, Alaska-based Tongass Federal Credit Union (7,000 members; $67M in assets). Immediately following the credit union’s core data processing conversion to CU*BASE® in March, the CUSO’s Xtension Call Center team went to work fielding inbound member service calls, while its Member Reach electronic communication team began sending targeted outbound messages to TFCU customer-owners.
“We are certainly excited about bringing our first Alaska-based credit union on board as a customer-owner,” said Xtend President Scott Collins. “When our partners at CU*Northwest (the Liberty Lake, Washington-based core data processing CUSO) first introduced us to TFCU, the credit union made it clear that they were planning to leverage some of our services in conjunction with their core conversion. All teams did a solid job of preparing for this project, so when it came time to execute the game plan, we felt like everyone was hitting on all cylinders.”
Collins concluded, “Congratulations to our partners at CU*Northwest for managing a solid core conversion, and welcome to Susan (TFCU CEO Susan Fisher) and her team to our CUSO network.”
CU*Answers Highlights Tools that Lower the Cost of Compliance
It may be the end of tax season, but it is just a coincidence that April is also the month CU*Answers has chosen to highlight several key auditing resources. What started with the promotion of the “My Favorite Auditing and Compliance Dashboards” brochure grew into an entire month focusing on auditing-related education tools.
Jim Vilker, Vice Presidents of Professional Services and leader of the strategic Audit Link business said he selected the dashboards in the new brochure “to draw attention to the power of the data analytics” in CU*BASE®, the core processing software of CU*Answers. “Simply put, this new brochure describes some of my favorite auditing software features which save our credit unions countless hours and money, thereby lowering the cost of compliance,” Vilker added.
“This (brochure) gives clients the important insight into why you might use these tools in theory as well providing an excellent education tool,” said Randy Karnes, CEO of CU*Answers. “We plan to build on this to develop new operational procedures that will serve as a catalyst for change and growth in the industry.”
Along with the new brochure, the April “Top Ten” most-searched knowledgebase items, the monthly Tricks of the Trade newsletter highlighting documentation resources, and the corresponding monthly “Tricks of the Trade” education webinar all will focus on auditing-related education tools this month.