Building a Better Core

Employee involvement is an essential part of a successful core conversion.

December 01, 2010
KEYWORDS conversion , core
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A core processing conversion is much like replacing a leaky foundation. You can put it off for years with temporary fixes, but the day of the “big fix” is unavoidable.

But the effort, cost, and pain involved “is short term when considering your long-term strategic objectives,” says Scott Sylvester, chief financial and technology officer at $350 million asset Consumers Credit Union, Kalamazoo, Mich.—a survivor of two core conversions during his 17-year credit union career.

Core processing conversion

•  One-fifth of U.S. financial institutions have reached a “high level of urgency” regarding core system replacement.
•  Employee involvement is an essential part of a successful core conversion.
•  Board focus: A core conversion is costly, but older systems are more expensive to maintain.

Many credit unions will undergo core conversions in the near future—or at least they should, according to a May 2010 survey by the Aite Group, which estimates that roughly 20% of U.S. financial institutions have reached a “high level of urgency” regarding core system replacement.

“If you don’t have integrated solutions, you’re finding it increasingly difficult to access information, and you can’t quickly launch new products to remain competitive,” explains Christine Barry, Aite Group’s research director.

The report also found that an additional 56% of U.S. banks and credit unions would benefit from a core system replacement or transformation.

A core conversion is costly, to be sure, but credit unions must weigh the costs of staying on an outdated system, Barry advises. “An older solution is more expensive to maintain. You also could be losing members as a result of not being able to meet their needs. So while a core replacement requires you to lay out a lot of money, you’ll see an immediate return.”

Next: Eliminating old obstacles

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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