By W.B. King
In what is a Finopotamus Tekkie Award first for this category, Glia and Member Driven Technologies (MDT) have nobly tied for Tech CUSO of the Year. These two important credit union service organizations (CUSOs), which fervently support the credit union ethos of “people helping people,” will be featured in alphabetical order.
In early 2023, the New York City-based Glia, a provider of digital customer service (DCS) that counts more than 250 credit unions as clients, looked to further improve the member experience by creating a “deep partnership with the credit union community,” explained Glia’s CEO and Co-Founder Dan Michaeli.
“By fostering community with leading credit unions and enabling hands-on collaboration with product strategy and development, the CUSO aims to accelerate member service solutions aligned to credit unions’ top priorities,” he told Finopotamus. At a macro level, we are helping credit unions deliver seamless member experiences that improve service efficiency, accelerate resolution and build stronger loyalty.”
Among credit unions that have invested in the CUSO are Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union (BFSFCU), First Technology Federal Credit Union, Harvard University Employees Credit Union, SkyOne Federal Credit Union and Unitus Community Credit Union.
“Glia is helping us closely align to the digital-first lifestyle of our members while driving new efficiencies for our credit union,” noted Mike Upton, chief digital officer for First Tech Federal Credit Union. “The partnership has been highly successful and we were pleased to extend our commitment further by investing in Glia’s future.”
Michaeli explained that since many credit unions “struggle with legacy call centers,” the CUSO seeks to “change the dynamic by making dial-in phone calls available for the addition of digital experiences within the same, single member interaction.”
Since launching the CUSO, Glia has kept it ears open and based on CUSO member feedback, Michaeli expects to see more initiatives around automation and the Glia Virtual Assistant.
“A growing number of credit unions are seeing tremendous value by adding automation options for both voice and messaging. Glia’s single virtual assistant for both phone and chat interactions provides consistency and drives efficiency,” he said. “One of our CUSO members, Unitus Community Credit Union, recently launched a Spanish-language version of the Glia Virtual Assistant, the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest region.”
As the CUSO looks to 2024 and beyond, Glia will be focused on continuing to expand its “secure conversations” offering, replacing “outdated secure messaging and inbox applications with a dynamic solution that enables seamless member interactions from asynchronous messages to live support,” Michaeli said.
“Credit unions can easily transition authenticated users from an asynchronous secure message into Glia’s ChannelLess Architecture where the secure conversation interaction can be escalated to a live synchronous session,” he continued. “This enables seamless interactions without the need to stop, call back in, and re-authenticate to continue, eliminating a significant friction point.”
In 2003, Member Driven Technologies (MDT) thought there was a more efficient, cost-effective solution for data processing. Seven credit unions agreed and the CUSO was born. Today, the CUSO has grown to serve 113 credit unions across the country, representing over two million total members and $29 billion total in assets.
“Because the company was started by credit unions for credit unions, MDT has always had a unique understanding of the credit union industry and the daily demands and challenges credit unions face,” MDT’s Chief Client Officer Gary Lee told Finopotamus. “MDT is known for its exceptional service and client satisfaction,” he added, noting the CUSO has a 97% retention rate for credit union clients.
Over the last 20-plus years, MDT has continually modernized its infrastructure. This dedicated approach has ensured that it can scale along with credit union clients as they grow and evolve.
“This unique approach to data processing boosts security and significantly reduces the resources required to host IT services in-house, while still allowing clients to maintain control over their critical data and information and carve out a competitive advantage,” Lee noted.
CODE Credit Union’s CEO Scott Rutherford praised MDT’s “strong reputation” and proven track record of success. “This is why we selected the CUSO as our core provider and strategic business partner,” he continued. “MDT enables easy and open integration with any technology provider of our choosing, and we believe that this agility positions us competitively for the future.”
In addition to its core banking platform, supported by Jack Henry’s Symitar core processing platform, Lee explained that MDT offers “dozens of seamlessly integrated solutions and supporting services” designed to help credit unions, including digital banking, payments, lending, cybersecurity and imaging.
“While the Jack Henry partnership is incredibly important to MDT, the CUSO offers a much wider range of solutions and is able to integrate virtually any fintech solution a credit union selects,” he said. “MDT prioritizes openness and choice, helping credit unions bridge into the fintech space in a way that’s secure and minimizes risk.”
Always going the extra mile to create “a culture of community” among its clients, Lee said MDT is not just a technology provider, but “offers consulting services around project management, data analytics, merger and acquisition activity, digital transformation and more.”
As Lee looks forward, he said FedNow, digital services such as project management, along with various types of consulting services, are “key focus points” for MDT in 2024.
“Credit union clients can lean on MDT for support in navigating the fintech jungle, helping them identify the best fits for their institution,” Lee told Finopotamus. “This is especially important as fintech options continue to proliferate, and most credit unions simply don’t have the time, resources and sometimes expertise to research, vet and evaluate every solution on the market.”