Release Planning

Ever wonder what’s coming for CU*BASE or It’s Me 247 online banking or other CU*Answers tools?  This page is intended to help you keep in the loop for things that are in the pipeline or nearing completion.  Just remember that our development cycle is a living, breathing machine and we are committed to remaining flexible and nimble so that we can continue to meet the needs of our clients, partners, regulators, and, most importantly, your members.  (In other words, all dates and slated projects are subject to change!)

What we hope you will get out of this page is a general understanding of the procedures and policies our teams must follow in reviewing project requests and monitoring how they move between the various stages of the development process: from initial request, to approval, to design (the “specs”), to production, to testing, to documentation, to communication and training for clients, then finally to implementation and follow-up. The process is time-tested and your understanding of the procedures will help you understand how our “factory” operates on a daily basis.

What drives development decisions?

There are many factors that control what projects can make it past the “what an interesting idea” stage into actual design specifications and programmer development (meaning: spending the CUSO’s money!).  Here are some key drivers that influence your CUSO every day (in no particular order):

Business Drivers

Event Drivers

Client Drivers

Professional Services that push software development

Annual or periodic events that prompt changes in software

Client-related needs that push software development

  • Xtend SRS Bookkeeping
  • AuditLink
  • Lender*VP (including Lender RE, Collections, Retailer Direct, Payday Lending, etc.)
  • Xtend (including Member Reach, Shared Branching, CU*OverDrive, Xtension, etc.)
  • Earnings Edge
  • Imaging Solutions
  • SettleMINT EFT
  • OpsEngine
  • Leadership Conference
  • CEO Strategies
  • Focus Groups


  • Industry and regulatory directives
  • Sales contacts and contractual obligations
  • Custom work
  • Changes by 3rd-party vendors
  • Direct requests from clients, including via Idea Forms, focus groups and other special events, training contacts, daily client service interactions, etc.


What drives implementation timing?

The Production Team meets on a weekly basis to evaluate projects that are moving through the pipeline and getting ready to be slated for a release.  There are a number of factors this team considers when slating specific projects for a particular release date:

  • Progress and results of Quality Control testing – is the software good to go?
  • Are there potential conflicts between different projects that touch the same programs?  In some cases we delay one project because another, concurrent project may involve the same programs, and we do not want to risk one set of changes interfering with another.  Sometimes the projects can be merged, but occasionally it is safer to implement one project, make sure it’s stable, then proceed to the next project in an orderly manner.
  • What’s the availability of resources?  Can the project actually be completed in time?
  • Are there regulatory deadlines or conversion dates or third-party mandates we have to work around?
  • What specific promises have been made that we are working to keep?
  • Will there be ample time for alerting clients and offering training?  Sometimes a bigger project is delayed to a later release simply so that we have enough time to offer several training sessions and disseminate documentation to all affected parties.
  • Is a beta period important for this project?  Again, we often slate projects for a major release simply because it will be critical to run the changes in the more controlled environment of a beta-test before releasing them to the network at large. Want to get involved in our beta testing process? Jump in the Beta Pool to sign up.

Who manages this development at CU*Answers?

Unlike a traditional department or specific group of staff, software development at CU*Answers is driven by a network of leaders from all areas of the organization as well as external players from partners to clients and members.

Driving the day-to-day work is the Product Team.   This team consists of the key leaders for “the factory” – meaning all of the different phases in the development of software tools, from programming to QC to documentation. Our planning includes EFT, online banking, imaging strategies, audio response, and CU*BASE, and the tools often intertwine and share resources.

When are releases scheduled?

IMPORTANT CHANGES COMING IN 2016!  Starting in 2016 our release numbering scheme will be changing.  A CU*BASE GOLD release in February, for example, will be numbered 16.02, and one in April would be 16.04.  (The month # is based on when online CUs are scheduled to receive the release.)  NOTE:  Old release 16.0 is now 16.04.

Version CU*Answers
Online CUs
CU*NorthWest /
PTF for Self
Processing CUs
15.3Dec. 6, 2015 Dec. 6, 2015 Dec. 14-15 
16.02Feb. 14, 2016 Feb. 14, 2016 March 7 & 8 
16.04Apr. 17, 2016 Apr. 17, 2016 May 9 & 10 
16.07Jul. 17, 2016 Jul. 17, 2016 August 8 & 9 
16.10Oct. 16, 2016 Oct. 16, 2016 November 7 & 8 
16.12Dec. 4, 2016 Dec. 4, 2016 December 12 & 13 

All dates are subject to change.

How can I keep track of what’s coming down the road?

Check out a Big Picture View (the coming year in development)
Every year at the Leadership Conference we introduce some of the major initiatives and projects that we will be working on over the coming year.  Check out the presentation from the Leadership Conference for big-picture ideas for your credit union’s next Business Plan.

Review the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Policy (Updated: September 23rd 2015)
This policy documents the rules and procedures for approving, tracking and communicating the status of software development as it moves through the CU*Answers production factory, from initial request all the way through final implementation for clients.

Review the working Project Release Plan (Updated: November 25th 2015)
This is the most important document used on a daily basis by our Production Team to plan for software releases.  Remember that this is a working document, and it is subject to change at any time.  No promises should be implied by this document: we reserve the right to change, remove, or reschedule any project from this list, even those that have already been slated for an approaching release, based on QC test results or changing priorities.

Monitor the projects you’ve submitted
Want to see what’s happening with a particular project number?  Need to track the status of a special custom project? To track your individual projects, check out the Monitor site.  Monitor lets you drill down to see the current status of every project # that has been entered on behalf of your credit union.
***SPECIAL NOTE: Starting in August 2015 the Monitor site will temporarily be unavailable as we make the transition to a new software product for tracking development work. Don’t worry, though, Monitor will be back! Watch for more news in 2016.

Read about projects already implemented
All major releases (and most monthly GOLD updates) are communicated via a Release Summary that is emailed to all clients and posted on our News page.  This same information is also available via the “What’s New?” topic in CU*BASE GOLD online help.

Join the beta pool! We’re always on the lookout for credit unions willing to participate in the beta-test period for major CU*BASE software releases. If your credit union would like be in the pool considered for beta testing new features and enhancements, we need you (and there might even be some $money$ in it for you!!

Be a part of the Active Beta Study Group! Get the first look at newly introduced tools and provide valuable feedback via a new collaborative community website.


October 16, 2015

Do You Use Report Builder? We Need Your Help!

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS: Ideas Wanted! With the 15.2 Release, MNQURY #2 has officially transitioned to the  Database Search Assistant! With this change, you may have noticed some new lingo, like TABLE instead of FILE or COLUMN instead of FIELD. While both Table/File and Column/Field refer to the same mechanism, this terminology reflects… Read more »

November/December Year-End Deadlines

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS: As a reminder, here are the year end processing deadlines for November and December. Year-End Deadlines in November/December for Online Credit Unions   November 25 Statement inserts are due at Sage Direct (if you use Sage for statements). Anytime in November Perform monthly IRA and HSA verification of balance… Read more »

November Tricks of the Trade Webinar

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS Mark your calendar for the upcoming Tricks of the Trade webinar! Scheduled for Tuesday, November 17, from 3:30-4:00 PM ET, the interactive and engaging October Tricks of the Trade webinar will give you an in-depth look at a continuation of the documentation related to the exciting updates and enhancements in… Read more »

2015 Year-End Processing Guide Information

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS: Data processing coordinators Accounting managers IRA/HSA coordinators Soon, your credit union will receive the 2015 Year-End Processing Guide, which provides critical information about your credit union’s responsibilities for year-end and tax-reporting season. If by Monday, you do not receive the guide addressed to your data processing coordinator, or if… Read more »

October’s AnswerBook Question That Rocks!

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS: Mining the AnswerBook Knowledge Base can turn up some real gems! Check out this month’s question that ROCKS! Select the link below to read more about October’s featured AnswerBook question. I see that my member’s loan account is in the credit bureau reporting file but it isn’t reflected on the individual’s credit report. What types… Read more »

Reminder: October Tricks of the Trade Webinar Today

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS: Don’t forget to log into the Tricks of the Trade webinar this afternoon! The October Tricks of the Trade webinar will be held from 3:30-4 PM ET today! Join the webinar a few minutes before the webinar starts and enter this password: tricks. During this interactive and engaging webinar, you’ll get… Read more »

Remember This? Skip-a-Payment Programs for Member Loans!

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS: There are so many cool features in CU*BASE. We’d like to remind you of one! Skip-a-Payment Program Configurable by selecting Skip-a-Payment Config on the Loan Products menu (MNCNFB) What can I do with this option? Configure programs, such as a Holiday program or hardship exclusion, to give members the privilege… Read more »