With a name like Technology Credit Union (Tech CU - $1.1 billion,
based out of San Jose, California), you have to be good at offering
the latest technology solutions. Tech CU's 75,500 members - including
30,000 active online users, primarily from Silicon Valley
SEGs - count on it.
But what happens when the employees of a credit union as progressive
as Tech CU realize that its current ecommerce platform cannot meet
their needs for on-the-fly customization, smooth third-party integration,
and lower operating costs? Victor Smilgys, Tech CU's ecommerce manager,
knew it was time for a change when he learned that alternate solutions
were currently available within the credit union community.
To provide members with a full suite of online services, it is essential
that an ecommerce platform can integrate with a wide variety of
systems in addition to the host processor. MemberBridge™ is
built with an open architecture making it easy to integrate disparate
applications. This allows the Credit Union to deliver a variety
of services under one online banking interface.
''Because we were able to integrate multiple applications with
MemberBridge that previously was not possible under our old
platform, we have been able to automate many manual processes,''
says Smilgys. ''This has improved our efficiency and reduced
our operations head count.''
Tech CU Vice President of Delivery Systems Mike Luckin, Vice President
of Information Technology Scott Lindley, along with CEO Ken Burns,
discovered MemberBridge during a demonstration given by Patelco
Credit Union and GTE Federal Credit Union in late 2001. Offered
by corporate credit unions and Corporate Network eCom, LLC (eCom),
a majority-owned subsidiary of U.S. Central Credit Union, MemberBridge
is an in-house development platform that acts as a translation gateway
(middleware) to connect a credit union's online services to its
host system. It enables smooth integration among a variety of applications
in addition to those within the host system - giving the credit
union the freedom to create a seamless look and feel for members.
In April 2002, Tech CU staff decided that this development platform
was a perfect fit, and in October 2002, Tech CU migrated to the
MemberBridge Server and installed the MemberBridge
Internet Banking application. Currently, its online menu includes
Internet banking, bill payment and presentment, person-to-person
payments, eStatements, check images, online check ordering and reordering,
and secure messaging.
For Tech CU, control was key to transforming its current ecommerce
platform into an open solution.
''Several factors went into our decision to convert to MemberBridge.
Simply put, we wanted more control over our electronic services
delivery channel. This solution is so easy to use - customizing
applications and adding new features is virtually effortless,''
Smilgys says. ''I don't have to wait for my provider to evaluate
my request anymore. I simply go into the system and make modifications
Smilgys noted that prior to the MemberBridge conversion,
adding new features involved a lengthy process. For example, the
addition of a new account code to a table for display in the Internet
banking account summary list was going to cost more and take several
weeks to complete under the old platform. ''Now, it takes just
five minutes with no additional expenses to make this kind of enhancement,''
Credit union focus
Smilgys likes the fact that eCom focuses solely on credit unions.
Many ecommerce providers focus on large banks and do not target
credit unions. For Tech CU, this typically translated into response
delays and additional costs.
Because the MemberBridge solutions were built for the sole
purpose of serving credit unions in a cooperative environment, Tech
CU is able to collaborate, share ideas and even exchange custom-developed
code and functionality with other MemberBridge users.
Support and cost savings
eCom provides support to Tech CU for MemberBridge products
at no charge during regular business hours. In addition, eCom also
has after-hours technical support available on an as-needed basis.
However, because MemberBridge was developed with open architecture
using ASP, the Credit Union typically handles its own troubleshooting.
Tech CU staff frequently uses the MemberBridge administration
tools for running a variety of reports, managing member relationships,
and collecting data for cross-marketing opportunities.
The average cost difference between competitive solutions and MemberBridge
is typically in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tech CU is
realizing a significant cost savings due to its ability to self-install
and self-update, and reasonable license and support fees. Furthermore,
third-party customization costs are avoided. Because eCom is a subsidiary
of U.S. Central, credit unions must have a settlement relationship
with a corporate to sign up for MemberBridge.
In the near future, Tech CU plans to integrate email notifications,
recurring transfers, inter-institution transfers, and convert to
the Microsoft .NET Framework - all using the MemberBridge
For more information about MemberBridge,
call 1-888-656-4050 and select option one, or contact your corporate