Account Aggregation Continues to Draw Early Adopters (part 1)

The idea behind account aggregation is to give your members a one-stop spot for information—not only for the member’s financial accounts (such as bills and invoices), but also filtered news, travel information (such as frequent-flyer and loyalty-program data), and the like.

 
 

Got account aggregation? Like milk, it puts a lot of what you—or, more precisely, your members—need in one place.

The idea behind account aggregation is to give your members a one-stop spot for information—not only for the member’s financial accounts (such as bills and invoices), but also filtered news, travel information (such as frequent-flyer and loyalty-program data), and the like. In effect, it turns the typical credit union website into an Internet hub with enough eye candy to keep the visiting member from leaving, and in doing so increases interaction with the credit union’s products.

“The whole point about aggregation is you have all your members’ online relationships presented in one place,” says Katherine Jansen, director of strategic analysis and research at Digital Insight Corp., an application service provider (ASP) in Calabasas, Calif., that offers eFinance services, including account aggregation. “Your members have online relationships in addition to their relationship with you the credit union. They might have multiple email accounts. They might have multiple news sources. They might have multiple frequent-flyer programs or other travel relationships. They might have bills or invoices presented directly. And they definitely have
other financial relationships.”

A COOPERATIVE MODEL
Digital Insight is one of the companies partnering with Yodlee.com, Inc., offering a co-branded service based on the Redwood City, Calif., company’s Aggregation Platform. The Yodlee system is built on a proprietary core technology whose basis is an open data-exchange architecture. According to Yodlee director of corporate marketing Melanie Flanigan, this technology is designed to collect content from about 2,400 sources, both financial and non-financial, and in a variety of formats, including OFX, XML, HTML, QIF, CSV, and custom formats. The Yodlee platform takes this collected data and puts it in a common format, then seamlessly integrates it with the credit
union’s website for delivery to end-users.

Yodlee’s platform uses structured data feeds, meaning that it has data-exchange agreements with the sources from which it gathers data. It is one of two technologies used in account aggregation, the other being a technique called screen scraping. In screen scraping, the information aggregator uses the customer’s information credentials to log on to an online information provider’s website, then gathers the information on the screen and brings it back to the aggregation site.

Currently, Yodlee has about 120 signed partners, about 10 of which are credit unions, among them Boeing Employees Credit Union, Digital Federal Credit Union, Patelco Credit Union, Bellco Credit Union and San Antonio Federal Credit Union. Also among the Yodlee partners are companies such as Digital Insight, which integrate the Yodlee offering into their overall solution.

Boeing Employees Credit Union is one of the credit unions doing account aggregation with the Yodlee product. “Account aggregation gives us the first step of the model and gives us the additional opportunity of aggregating all our members’ accounts in one place, not just the ones they have with our credit union,” says president Gary Oakland. “It basically gives us a good start on the ‘What do I own?’ piece of that model and that’s the one we want to develop across the
various lines.”

Other third-party companies simply resell the Yodlee solution as is. The service follows the ASP model, with Yodlee or the account-aggregation service provider hosting the applications and continuing to provide back-end capabilities and the credit union or other client branding the front-end.

This also is why, says Jansen, there are no hardware or software requirements for implementation.

(Part 2 will appear next week on ''Knowing What Attracts Your Members.'')

 

 

 

Oct. 1, 2001


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