Member Driven Technologies (MDT), a CUSO that hosts the Episys® core processing system from Symitar® to provide a private cloud alternative for core processing and IT needs, today announced that Ukrainian Self Reliance Michigan FCU (USMFCU) has successfully implemented the Episys core processing platform hosted by MDT as well as the Banno Digital Platform™.
After a comprehensive due diligence process which included receiving feedback from many peer credit unions, Warren, Mich.-based USMFCU decided to partner with MDT for a more robust, modern core platform. Since going live, the credit union has been able to boost efficiencies, spending less time on tedious hardware and software maintenance and more time forming meaningful member relationships.
“MDT made the overall core conversion process as seamless as possible; they were very hands-on and communicated with us frequently and consistently, which made all the difference,” explained Andre Vygnanski, CEO of USMFCU. “As a smaller credit union with limited resources, managing multiple vendor relationships is cumbersome. MDT not only hosts our core platform but also a network of integrated solutions and services that we can easily leverage. Partnering with the CUSO has allowed us to improve our competitive stance and provide our members with the modern technology they expect.”
USMFCU has also gone live on the Banno Digital Platform, delivering an intuitive, simple digital banking experience to its members. With Banno Conversations, employees can provide a personalized experience within digital channels. Members have greatly enjoyed being able to link and share files, transactions, accounts, payments, and even authenticated forms within the chat thread, mirroring an experience nearly equivalent to that of a branch. Members have also shared positive feedback around the balance and transaction alerts as they’re timely, customizable and highly actionable.
“USMFCU is a trusted financial services provider that the Ukrainian community can rely on and come to for meaningful, personalized interactions,” said Larry Nichols, CEO and president of MDT. “By leveraging the Episys core platform and Banno Digital Platform through our partnership, the credit union is creating efficiencies while delivering new digital capabilities to members. We’re proud to serve community-focused credit unions like USMFCU, who are dedicated to investing in the technology necessary to provide a strong member experience across channels.”
ValleyStar Credit Union in collaboration with the ValleyStar RISE Foundation board announces Greta Kidd as its executive director to collaborate with communities to identify challenges and opportunities for the advancement of economic
Prior to working for the RISE Foundation, Greta served as the vice president of member experience at ValleyStar Credit Union where she led cross-functional teams to enhance member experience digitally and in person.
“Greta’s 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and her background in nonprofit and community work make her a valuable asset,” said Mike Warrell, CEO of ValleyStar Credit Union. “She is a true advocate for our community and our members, and I’m confident in her ability to fulfill the purpose and goals of the foundation.”
Before joining ValleyStar, Greta led a financial education initiative for members and communities at Entrust Financial Credit Union. She also worked for Boaz & Ruth, a nonprofit that supports incarcerated individuals returning home with skills for success.
Greta holds an MBA from Averett University and a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Mary Baldwin University. She has a Credit Union Certified Marketing Executive Certification (CUCME) from the Credit Union National Association and received her Fund Development Certification from the University of Richmond.
equipifi, a fintech company providing banks and credit unions with a white label Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solution, completed a $12 million Series A funding round. The investment, led by Curql Collective via Curql Fund and PHX Ventures, will enable equipifi to provide community financial institutions with BNPL capabilities available through their existing debit cards and banking app as consumer payment preferences evolve.
equipifi helps financial institutions use their existing data and digital banking platforms to extend BNPL offers that are in alignment with their customers’ financial goals. As an added benefit, banks and credit unions can also leverage BNPL to grow existing lines of revenue and open new ones. Since its launch in September 2021, equipifi has already partnered with seven financial institutions through multi-year contracts to bring BNPL to their solution suite.
“Consumers rely on their primary financial institution to know them and their financial goals. That’s why even as BNPL has been seeing rapid adoption through third-party lenders, the majority of consumers still look to their trusted financial institutions for a better option,” said Bryce Deeney, co-founder and CEO of equipifi. “equipifi powers banks and credit unions to take their customers shopping, providing a single place to view, accept, and manage their BNPL plans on their existing online banking app.”
“BNPL solutions are providing credit unions with a unique opportunity to retain their membership and attract a younger demographic,” says Nick Evens, President & CEO of Curql Collective. “equipifi’s team, with their foundation in credit unions and the banking ecosystem, not only understands our needs but also how to service and scale in our space, making their white label solutions particularly exciting.”
According to a report from Worldpay, BNPL accounted for $97 billion of global eCommerce transactions in 2020 and is expected to double to 4.2% by 2024. eMarketer also notes that the number of US BNPL users will soar from 1.6 million in 2018 to 59.3 million in 2022, driven by innovations in credit access and purchase flexibility.
“Consumer expectations for purchase and payments are evolving, and it’s time for financial institutions to lead the way in providing BNPL solutions that are tailored to these needs,” said Gregg Scoresby, founder and managing partner of PHX Ventures. “equipifi will be the next high-growth fintech SaaS company built in Arizona that redefines retail financing, and the way that banks and credit unions serve the next generation of consumers.”
Harold Roundtree, President/CEO of UNCLE Credit Union of Livermore, California, has joined the Board of Directors of Co-op Solutions following the company’s annual meeting of shareholders held May 3. Four other credit union leaders were re-elected to their posts on Co-op’s 11-member Board.
Elected to a first term on the Co-op Board, Roundtree has served as UNCLE’s President/CEO since joining the credit union in 2011. Prior to that, he was SVP at Technology CU, working there from 1994 to 2011. His career in financial services also includes work with World Savings and First Interstate Bank.
Four other Board positions were up for election, with four members re-elected, including Jackie Buchanan, President/CEO of Genisys CU from Michigan; Theresa Mann, VP/Chief Risk Officer of NASA FCU from Maryland; Todd Marksberry, President/CEO of Canvas CU from Colorado; and Greg Mitchell, President/CEO of First Tech FCU from Oregon.
“I want to congratulate the five Board candidates on their elections, each to serve three-year terms,” said Benson Porter, President/CEO of BECU in Washington state, and Co-op’s Chairperson of the Board. “Jackie, Theresa, Todd and Greg have made significant contributions to the oversight of Co-op. And, we welcome Harold to the Board, bringing more than 30 years of financial services experience to the table.”
Following the annual shareholders meeting, the Co-op Board held an organizational meeting that confirmed the body’s current leadership for another year – Porter, Board Chairperson; Joan Opp, President/CEO of Stanford FCU of California as Board Vice-Chairperson; Buchanan as Treasurer; and Mann as Chairperson of the Board’s Audit Committee.
In addition to the seven Board members mentioned above, Co-op’s Board includes four additional members – Robert Chavez, Sandia Laboratory FCU, from New Mexico; Bob Falk, Purdue FCU, from Indiana; Wayne Grosse, Bethpage FCU, from New York; and Rudy Pereira, Premier America CU, from California.
For more information, visit coop.org.
ValleyStar Credit Union announces Jordan Weatherholtz as its vice president of data and analytics to help bring process efficiency to ValleyStar operations and build a culture and organizational strategy that is data-driven.
Jordan joined the ValleyStar team in 2020 and has successfully led multiple initiatives, including setting up an organizational data warehouse and cleansing internal data to ensure accuracy. He also implemented daily reporting for the 2022 corporate scorecard.
“Jordan has made impressive strides in using data to bring efficiency to ValleyStar operations over the last two years,” said Mike Warrell, ValleyStar CEO. “I have complete confidence in his ability to create a data-driven culture that will fulfill our vision of being the best in service and convenience.”
Before joining ValleyStar, Jordan was a member of the management team at DuPont Community Credit Union. He led a risk management division that successfully identified, mitigated and prevented fraudulent transactions.
Jordan holds a Bachelor of Science from Bridgewater College and obtained his Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) Certification in January 2020. He has also been active in the Virginia Credit Union League and is a board member of the Emerging Professional Network.
Today, the Nevada Credit Union League announced a partnership with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office and Nevada Bankers Association to combat and prevent imposter banking scams by raising consumer awareness on how Nevadans can protect themselves.
Attorney General Aaron Ford and Nevada Credit Union League President and CEO Diana Dykstra agreed that the best way to combat banking scams and the criminals perpetrating them is through consumer awareness. These predators will prey on people from all walks of life to scam their deposit accounts, credit cards, debit cards, and other accounts, which is why it is imperative the citizens of the Silver State stay diligent.
“Silver State residents are Nevada’s frontline defense against cyber thieves, hackers and fraudsters,” Dykstra said. “It is imperative that everyone remain vigilant and keep a diligent eye open for fraud attempts. If you think you see something that is fraud, please report it to the authorities and to your credit union or other financial institution.”
Dykstra and Ford said cyber criminals are becoming increasingly creative with how they try to hack into consumer accounts and steal money. Recently, criminals have turned to “smishing” tactics, which is a phishing attempt through a text message (SMS). These criminals will fraudulently represent themselves as a credit union or bank while texting a consumer, asking for important and personal information.
However, a “smishing” text-message is something a credit union or another reputable financial institution would not do. This is just one type of fraud attempt that is becoming more prevalent.
“These scams all have one thing in common: an attempt to create a sense of urgency. They are very sophisticated and are designed to trick even the savviest of consumers,” Ford said. “These scammers know what they are doing. Please protect all of your accounts with multi-factor authentication. And do not provide multi-factor authentication codes or passwords to anyone over the phone. This will help protect your account in the event your information is compromised.”
If Nevadans even remotely think a website link is a fraudulent attempt to pry into their personal information or financial lives, they should not click on it or use it in any other communication, email, or any fashion. They should contact their credit union or other financial institution immediately. Consumers can use these tips and tricks posted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help identify fraud and prevent the hacking of anyone’s account.
“I’m proud to partner with the Nevada Credit Union League and the Nevada Bankers Association to bring an end to these types of scams,” Ford said. “Together, we will work with consumers to cut these scammers off at the pass.”
As not-for-profit member-owned cooperatives, credit unions thrive when their members achieve financial success, which is why preventing fraud is so important, Dykstra said. “The League and local credit unions would like to thank the Nevada Attorney General for leading the effort on this crucial awareness campaign,” she added. “Once again, we implore the people of Nevada to keep a watchful eye out for these cyber criminals.”
You can view Ford’s press conference here.
The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection offers the following consumer tips:
For additional information about protecting yourself from depository imposter scams, see https://www.banksneveraskthat.com/about/.
Mahalo Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of online and mobile banking solutions for credit unions, has achieved its Corelation Certification status that verifies Mahalo is following all of the core processor’s best practices – as well as programming procedures and interfacing with Corelation’s API KeyBridge.
According to Mahalo President Jim Stickley, this certification furthers Mahalo’s mission of building tight integrations with core systems like Corelation’s KeyStone. As a result, Mahalo’s credit union partners can see and manage everything in the core.
“From the credit union perspective, Mahalo’s integration to the [KeyStone] core is what provides our members the seamless response times and a full menu of features they expect,” The Local Credit Union CEO Joe Hallman says. “From the beginning, Mahalo took advantage of every aspect of Corelation’s open architecture and the ‘certification’ validates their efforts. Bravo!”
On that note, Hallman adds that three years ago his credit union embarked on a journey that fulfilled Mahalo’s vision of the omni-experience – as well as THE LOCAL’s vision of exceptional member service. “Our relationship with Mahalo is the strongest of any vendor, and we are grateful to share in each other’s success,” he says. “Congrats on our three-year anniversary and their certification – and we look forward to our newly renewed long term agreement and many more anniversaries to come.”
The certification also ensures that the calls Mahalo conducts to retrieve the data that is presented to members happens in a quick and timely manner, which allows for the best possible member experience from the credit union’s perspective. The certification also allows Mahalo to continue to focus on offering extended functionality in the core to their members.
"This certification emphasizes the goals we already have regarding tightly integrating into the Keystone core system," Stickley states. “Credit Unions choose core vendors because of the functionality that they provide. It is our job to build strong and deep integrations so these features can be presented to their members through a robust digital experience.”
A few examples of these integrations include ACH/A2A, Real-time alerts, round-up programs, automated dispute processes, and more.
“Corelation’s KeyBridge Certification program provides our clients with the knowledge that a vendor’s interface aligns with Corelation’s API workflow standards,” explains Corelation Director of Vendor Relations Ron Yeshulas. “We are pleased that Mahalo has successfully completed their certification with Corelation, showing their continued commitment to providing a high-quality interface to our mutual clients. Corelation continues to work with our valued partners, like Mahalo, to provide solutions that meet the growing needs of their credit union clients’ members.”
“Overall, this certification means a lot for Mahalo and our credit union partners,” Stickley says. “We are very aggressive in releasing new features and functionality and this just shows that our team does a fantastic job of creating new code and ensuring that it’s developed properly for our credit unions.”
$2 Billion APG Federal Credit Union selects Corelation’s KeyStone to Support their Continued Growth & Enhance Member Experience
Having recently surpassed the $2 billion in assets milestone, APG Federal Credit Union ($2.06 billion in assets; 148,475 members; Edgewood, MD) is making the switch to an innovative core processor that will grow and expand alongside them. For the first time in nearly three decades, the credit union will invest in a new core: Corelation’s KeyStone.
“Our objectives in selecting a new core processor were to find the most technologically advanced and open system to enhance our member experience, provide ease of access to data, and improve efficiencies for our staff,” shared APGFCU President/CEO Don W. Lewis. “The most important factor for us in selecting a vendor is to find a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership that will adapt and grow with us. We believe we have found that with Corelation.”
APGFCU’s core selection committee included nearly 50 staff members representing every functional department to review the system and identify the improvements the new core will bring to their area of the organization.
Some of KeyStone’s features that drove their decision included: the KeyBridge open API that will enable them to integrate with third-party vendors, the real-time general ledger, the automated loan correction process, and the KeyInsight relationship management tool.
“We particularly like the way KeyInsight presents marketing materials to staff to streamline the cross-sell process,” explained APGFCU’s Chief Marketing Officer Brian Wilcox. “From the front-office perspective, KeyStone offers superior ease-of-use because everything is in one place – no more having to jump through multiple systems to accomplish tasks,” added Chief Information Officer Wayne Beall.
The credit union anticipates that KeyStone’s intuitive user interface will significantly decrease the amount of time it will take to train new employees.
“From the beginning of KeyStone’s development, we understood the importance of designing a core processor that could support our credit union partners as they grow,” noted Corelation CEO Theresa Benavidez. “We look forward to supporting APG Federal Credit Union on their mission to bring financial empowerment to their members, especially with their recent field of membership expansion into Baltimore County and Baltimore City. Welcome, APGFCU!”
PSCU, the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO), today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Juniper Payments, LLC from PITECO S.p.A. and two principal owners, who will continue with the company under PSCU.
Headquartered in Wichita, Kan., Juniper Payments, LLC (“Juniper”) is the largest cloud-based non-bank third-party provider of inter-bank transaction and reporting systems in the United States. Juniper demonstrates vision and reliability in serving financial institutions and correspondents through an automated and unattended banking ecosystem. Juniper’s transaction services provide key interfaces and automation to financial institutions by leveraging the company’s payment entry, transaction management and connectivity to the Federal Reserve and third-party providers.
“We are proud to welcome Juniper to the PSCU family,” said Chuck Fagan, president and CEO, PSCU. “The addition of Juniper Payments enables us to directly participate in faster and real-time payments innovation, providing our financial institutions with managed connectivity to the Federal Reserve, The Clearing House and the forthcoming FedNow service. This strategic expansion of our product suite aligns with PSCU’s commitment to broadening and diversifying our footprint in financial services, while furthering our financial institutions’ ability to deliver personalized, connected experiences for their accountholders.”
Juniper will expand PSCU’s value-added services for its financial institutions to support additional payments types. Through the acquisition, PSCU will add multi-tiered payments – including ACH processing and domestic/international wire remittance – to its solutions set, as well as a virtual back-office payments gateway, member and business-originated instant payments and reporting, compliance, risk management and monitoring services.
“We are excited to join PSCU, a company whose values and culture are aligned with our own,” said Jon Budd, CEO, Juniper Payments. “As an integrated financial technology solutions provider, PSCU’s resources and end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions and services will provide added value for our clients. PSCU will continue to invest in the Juniper business and technology, which I’m confident will further unlock Juniper’s potential to enable financial institutions of all sizes to be competitive in this evolving space.”
TTCU Federal Credit Union Positions Itself for Future of Payments, Partners with Co-op Solutions for Full-Service Credit Processing
TTCU Federal Credit Union has expanded its partnership with Co-op Solutions, entering into a new agreement for Full-Service Credit processing and related products and services within the Co-op payments ecosystem.
Co-op Full-Service Credit combines analytics, fraud reduction, risk management and loyalty in a highly integrated, fully-managed card processing solution. TTCU was already a participating institution in the Co-op Shared Branch network heading into the agreement.
“We have had a great working relationship with Co-op for a long time,” said Cassie Mangold, Vice President, Lending Services for TTCU. “When we reviewed our needs going forward for credit processing, Co-op had really good references on their service levels and commitment to clients. We wanted to stick with a provider that is credit union-centric and we know Co-op to be extremely dedicated in that area.”
“We want to get our cards into as many members’ hands as possible, and to do that requires superior service,” said Mangold. “We need efficient and timely help on things like dispute resolution, in addition to basic transaction processing, which Co-op will provide. We also see Co-op helping us to stay abreast of payments technology trends so we can stay top-of-wallet with our members.”
Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, TTCU (www.ttcu.com) was founded in 1934. It is the largest credit union based in Tulsa and the second largest credit union in Oklahoma. With $2.5 billion in assets, TTCU serves more than 142,000 members.
“The key word in our decision is partnership – we were looking for a provider that’s really on our team to help us excel and bring out the most in our products and services,” said Mangold. “We want the best possible financial outcomes for our members, and Co-op can help us fulfill that.”
“Payments are driving primary financial relationships today,” said Matt Kardell, Chief Revenue Officer for Co-op Solutions. “We are proud to work with TTCU as it positions itself for the future of payments, and help them service the fast-evolving needs and preferences of today’s digital-first members.”
Author: Mike Lawson
Married to a most gorgeous and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.