Articles and Press Releases
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.
CU*Answers Integration with ChexSystems Reach Record Highs!
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned core processing CUSO, is anticipating in excess of 50,000 pulls in the upcoming year with one of its newest integrations with ChexSystem’s Qualifile™ solution. This comprehensive solution helps credit unions automate and streamline processes that detect and prevent new types of fraudulent activity, track and maintain regulatory updates and manage risk levels. Credit unions can join over 9,000 other financial institutions utilizing this powerful risk management tool with a single sign on through their platform CU*BASE®.
This integration represents another key relationship CU*Answers has secured in the industry that will assist credit unions in assessing risk associated with new memberships, potential fraud, and provide cross selling opportunities. Each credit union is able to customize a unique program with CU*BASE providing access to the report including an audit trail of the inquiry and results.
CU*Answers continues to seek out partnerships that offer tools for credit unions to optimize procedures and streamline day to day processes while minimizing risk. This integration allows credit unions to join over 100,000 locations nationwide using the Qualifile Solution.
eDOC Innovations Promotes New AVP of Sales
Carol Middaugh from eDOC Innovations, a core image processing CUSO headquartered in Vermont, has been promoted to Assistant Vice President of Sales.
Ms. Middaugh has been with eDOC Innovations since 2010 and brings more than 32 years of credit union industry experience to the CUSO. Prior to working at eDOC Innovations, Ms. Middaugh functioned as the CEO and COO for three credit unions in Ohio, League Representative for the Ohio Credit Union League, and AVP of Marketing at Corporate One Federal Credit Union. Ms. Middaugh recently was inducted into the Campus Credit Union Council Hall of Honor where she is Chapter President and a Board Member.
Ms. Middaugh graduated from Owens Technical College with degrees in Accounting and Finance and is a certified Credit Union Development Educator. She looks forward to enhancing eDOC Innovations’ sales initiatives as the CUSO continues to be an industry leader in core image processing solutions.
For more information about careers at eDOC Innovations visit http://edoclogic.com/company/careers/.
eDOC Innovations and CU*Answers to Exhibit at Invest48
eDOC Innovations and CU*Answers will be exhibitors at the 2014 Invest48 Convention held April 8 – 9, 2014 at the Hilton Columbus Downtown. Visit us at Booth #421 to learn how eDOC Innovations, CU*Answers and the Cuasterisk Network work together to provide core processing, imaging, consulting and marketing solutions to credit unions nationwide.
Attendees are also invited to take part in a yo-yo competition and other events the Cuasterisk Network will be hosting at the booth. The schedule of booth events will be available through eDOC Innovations’ Twitter feed by following @eDOCInnovations and on the eDOC Innovations Facebook page.
For more information about eDOC Innovation’s core image processing solution’s visit: http://edoclogic.com.
CU*Answers Invests in Chatter Yak!
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO, announced that they have established an ownership/partnership relationship with Chatter Yak! LLC, the Oshkosh Wisconsin-based CUSO that specializes in marketing, social media, website development and branding. As the first investor of Chatter Yak!, CU*Answers hopes to push innovation with social media and financial literacy within the credit union industry to places it has never gone before.
Randy Karnes, CU*Answers CEO, described the partnership as a walk the talk investment. “We pull ourselves towards the future by committing in the present to get vested in new ideas and service requirements. We see social media, not as a tangent to member service and contact, but a core competency need for the future.” Karnes continues, “Who knows where this is going – will any current, popular service exist ten years from now, who knows? What I do know is ten years from now credit unions and CUSOs will have to understand how to roll with the evolution, integrate digital strategies into their business plans, and engage members where they choose to be active. We hope this investment is a step towards a better understanding for everyone involved. Chatter Yak! should be fun, and I like the people who are lining up to have some fun here for years!”
Chatter Yak! is excited to have a strategic partner in CU*Answers, stated Kevin Ralofsky, Chatter Yak! Co-founder and CitizensFirst CU CEO. “We have always pushed a culture of curiosity to challenge the way credit unions should think about their relationships with members and their communities. With this partnership we hope to drive a deeper and more meaningful understanding of how credit unions blend everyday business with social data and the member experience.”
The new Board of Directors includes:
- Chris Butler, CU*Answers Board Chair and CEO of Community CU in La Crosse, WI
- Randy Karnes, CU*Answers CEO in Grand Rapids, MI
- Kevin J. Ralofsky, CitizensFirst CU CEO and Co-Founder of Chatter Yak! in Oshkosh, WI
- Bryce Roth, Chatter Yak! Co-Founder in Oshkosh, WI
- Karrie Drobnick, CitizensFirst CU VP of Marketing in Oshkosh, WI
- William Wuske, Jr., CitizensFirst CU EVP/Chief Operations Officer in Oshkosh, WI
- Bob Matz, CitizensFirst CU EVP/Chief Financial Officer in Oshkosh, WI
- Linda Bodie, CU*Answers Board Director and CEO of Element FCU in Charleston, WV
- Brett Wooden, Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union SVP Marketing + Innovation in Houston, TX
- Tammy Williams, Best Advantage CU CEO in Brillion, WI
- Jim Vilker, CU*Answers VP Professional Services in Grand Rapids, MI
CU*Answers Ends March on a High Note
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan celebrated the end of the freezing temperatures and snow by recapping the programming enhancements made to its CU*BASE® core data processing platform.
Scott Page, EVP of Sales and Marketing at CU*Answers says, “Even during the file expansion project (FEP), we remain responsive to the needs of our credit unions and continue to implement a significant amount of programming each month.” Highlights of enhancements made in March include enhanced Learn from a Peer Analysis Tools, database changes supporting It’s My Biz 247, the future of online business banking for CU*BASE credit unions, and additional electronic filing features for CTRs.
The Monthly Monitor Recap is designed to keep the CUSO’s clients informed on an ongoing basis of feature improvements, vendor enhancements and other miscellaneous changes to CU*BASE and other core software products.
CU*Answers to Exhibit at Invest48
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan will be an exhibitor at Invest48 by the Ohio Credit Union League April 8-9 in Columbus. CU*Answers invites all Ohio credit unions attending to visit them at their booth to learn more about the organization’s “Live It!” campaign.
The campaign demonstrates how CU*Answers is living by the core cooperative principles and values for the greater good of its community, credit unions, and members. Explore how we Live It! at CU*Answers and how you can bring the core principals to life in your credit union. Meet CU*Answers strategist Chris Smigiel to learn more about the services CU*Answers provides to sixteen credit unions and over 170,000 members in the state of Ohio.
Can’t make it the show? Connect with Chris on LinkedIn. Chris also welcomes calls at 800-327-347 x186 and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CU*Answers Partners with Legacy Member Services for Integrated Ordering in CU*BASE
CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned, cooperative data processing CUSO announced it’s partnering with Legacy Member Services to automate ordering of checks from its CU*BASE® flagship data processing software, as well as in It’s Me 247, CU*BASE’s online banking component.
“We have enabled credit unions to help members open checking accounts online as a completely self-service process,” said Scott Page, EVP of CU*Answers. “Within CU*BASE, check ordering through Legacy Member Services will occur automatically during account opening as part of the workflow for credit unions that choose to use the service.”
“Given today’s member expectations and fast-paced, service-oriented credit union goals, we felt giving multiple choices of how to allow members to serve themselves or help staff reduce potential errors due to re-keying would be a win-win strategy for credit unions, their staff, and their membership.”
CU*Answers Signs Western Illinois Credit Union
100% credit union-owned, core data processing CUSO, CU*Answers, has announced the signing of Western Illinois Credit Union to a CU*BASE® core processing agreement.
Darin Higgins, CEO said, “WICU was looking for a software provider that allowed our small credit union to compete with the bigger banks. CU*Answers offers more options at a better price. CU*Answers is the most practical, user-friendly system and follows the same rules as all credit unions. The multiple functions on the CU*Answers program will allow us to grow and compete for years to come.”
Scott Page, CU*Answers EVP added that CU*Answers’ commitment to work with credit unions of any size, without the need to charge for modules, and a historically proven commitment to lower data processing costs over time is a differentiator in creating a technology partner rather than a traditional vendor-client relationship.