Outsourcing Offers Headache Relief

With outsourcing, the vendor takes care of disaster recovery and compliance.

January 07, 2013
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Duke University Federal Credit Union, Durham, N.C., switched to outsourced core processing seven years ago, when outsourcing was less common among credit unions than it’s becoming today.

Back then, “many credit unions seemed to take pride in having their own systems,” observes Lee Fogle, CEO of the $100 million asset credit union. “But we felt that was not where we wanted to be for the long term.”

The credit union aimed for two goals: obtain state-of-the-art core processing capabilities by choosing a new vendor, Symitar, and simplify by opting for Symitar’s outsourced model.

“With in-house, we always had to do things the way the computer did them, not the way we would have liked to do them,” Fogle says. “We felt we were slaves to our in-house system.”

With outsourcing, Fogle likes that disaster recovery is covered, his staff has more time to focus on member service, and the vendor takes responsibility for compliance issues that affect core processing.

“Running a credit union is so much more complex now,” he says. “But one thing we don’t have to worry about is core processing. That takes away a big headache.”

Fogle advises credit unions to consider costs in a variety of ways, maintaining that some costs aren’t just about dollars. With an in-house system, he laughs, “how do you figure in the stress and strain on the CEO?”

At this point, Fogle believes the chance of his credit union going back to in-house core processing is slim to none.

“We know our future—particularly given our membership—is in technology, not in having a shiny new mainframe,” he says. “You have to look at your credit union’s mission and resources and ask, ‘Where are we going to spend our dollars?’”

Be Careful

Ken Schroeder, MBCP, VP-Business Continuity
January 04, 2013 9:25 am
Great points in this short article, but don't give such short shrift to the business continuity aspect of the business. It's easy to say the vendor takes care of DR. That may be true for the core process application, but what about e-mail, correspondence documents, loan related e-mails/forms, reports, spreadsheets, databases that aren't part of the core? Even more important, don't forget the business continuity side. Just because the core has redundant capability, it doesn't do your members any good if you don't have any staff or anywhere for them to work. The backed up core doesn't arrange for cash that becomes critical for members, especially in an area crisis. Bottom line: Don't get suckered into a false sense of security, just because you have a vendor who provides DR for your core!

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