A Credit Union’s Future Will Be Determined by Its DNA

DNA lives in the core of credit union data system and determines not only how the credit union operates today, but in the future. As times change, how will your credit union’s DNA respond and adapt to changing competitive markets?




Ever look into the mirror  and notice you are beginning to look like your father or mother?  Whether we like it or not, this thing called DNA has a lot to do with how we look and also determines the appearance of successive generations that will follow us.

Credit unions also have a DNA code that defines how their institutions look to members, businesses and the community.  The DNA lives in their core data system and determines not only how the credit union operates today, but also what it will look like in the future.  As times change, how well your credit union’s DNA responds and adapts to competitive markets will become more and more important.

Since the early sixties and still prevalent today, most credit unions ran on legacy-based mainframes with systems that did not always connect to one another.  The front-line teller application, loan system, deposit system, marketing and transaction accounting software were all separate platforms.   

Then, in the mid-1990s a new core system was introduced by Open Solutions, which revolutionized credit union operations by offering a member-centric relational database platform to replace legacy mainframes and inflexible departmental software.   This open architecture allowed real-time access to member information and provided easier integration of new applications. 

Using relationship-based technology, credit unions were better able to use information to better serve their members.  Employees knew more about their members and their needs. Many processes were improved – deposits, credit applications, account openings, account status – just about everything happened faster and more accurately. 

Fast forward to today and credit unions are facing even greater pressure to provide personalized, member-centric service.  This added pressure is fueled by competition from large national banks’ bargain basement pricing, local banks as well as other community credit union strategies all striving to be closer to the member.  For credit unions to take advantage of member-centric marketing and retention, a revolution, or perhaps evolution, of credit union DNA is needed to migrate to the next level of core systems. 

The Evolving Bank DNA

A member-focused core platform provides the right tools for harvesting a wealth of member information at every step in the credit union chain by integrating member data in real-time.  This revolutionary core platform allows credit unions to identify member needs, and provides tools to craft the best products to meet those needs.  Ongoing research with focus groups over the past two years revealed that a more universal data model was needed to provide flexibility, enhance workflow, and ultimately improve productivity.

Now that more and more transactions are electronic, the ability to capture data in real-time along the transaction chain becomes more critical than ever.  As members become more sophisticated, they expect their providers to know them well enough to anticipate their needs.  With instantaneous information access, members expect to have products suggested to them that are relevant for their current situation.  Can you imagine buying something from Amazon.com without a suggestion of a companion purchase?

Take a Close Look at Your DNA

Closely examining your institution’s technology platform DNA may reveal that you are right on target and very ready for the future.  Or your institution may need to adapt a bit.  To capitalize on member-centric technologies, credit unions must embrace an evolution of their core system -- the DNA -- to one that offers the most dynamic level of information sharing and integration.  Does your institution have the genetic building blocks to provide the very best member experience available?

Marvin (Mickey) Goldwasser is vice president of product marketing and communications for Open Solutions Inc. a leading provider of integrated enabling technologies for financial service providers, worldwide. Open Solutions’ core processing solution called The Complete Banking Solution®: DNA has quickly become an industry leader in relational technology. Contact: mgoldwasser@opensolutions.com.




Sept. 15, 2008


  • Like the mention on Amazon.com - good tie in.
    Richard Whiddon