Corporate Credit Union Overhauls Seven Different Payment Systems
By Roy Urrico
Overhauling any payments systems effectively is a major challenge for most financial institutions. The $5 billion Greensboro, N.C.-based Vizo Financial Corporate Credit Union, one of the largest corporate credit unions in the U.S., successfully converted seven different payment systems over the last several years onto Aptys Solutions’ multi-channel payments platform PayLOGICS.
Credit unions looking to update payment systems must steer through legacy and fragmented architecture, and substantial reliance on various vendors with aging solutions. These also pose significant hazards for financial institutions, looking to respond to regulatory mandates and security threats.
“Data has been consolidated from seven systems into one and has made risk, compliance and vendor management easier and faster,” said Jeff Stoner, chief technology and strategy officer, of Vizo Financial, which provides money management, payments, technology, risk management and people development solutions. “Aptys has given us the opportunity to be able to quickly and efficiently extend real-time payment capabilities from RTP or FedNow to our members.”
Vizo went live with the wire transaction segment in the second quarter 2018, and ACH in 2019. The check portion was supposed to go live in 2020 but was delayed by the pandemic. Check payments went in the second quarter of 2021.
Naseer Nasim, CEO of Aptys Solutions, recalled, “Vizo’s payment services requirements were unique and complex.” He added, the credit union’s legacy system’s closed selective architecture payment solutions and siloed applications created friction. “All of this added to the existing complexity.”
The Norcross, Ga.-based Aptys Solutions — a provider of end-to-end digital payment solutions, provides real-time processing capabilities for mobile person-to-person (P2P), wires, ACH, image cash letter and faster payments, such as RTP and FedNow — worked with Vizo Financial to transform its payments infrastructure. “We worked to simplify and modernize their payments with our PayLOGICS product, designed to remove friction through its modular and open architecture.” Nasim said.
Vizo Financial Consolidates Payments
Vizo Financial, established in 2016 with the merger of Mid-Atlantic Corporate Federal Credit Union and First Carolina Corporate Credit Union, and its payments CUSO, MY CU Services, serve over 1,100 credit unions in 46 states. Stoner revealed the move to PayLOGICS came about because Vizo Financial had various payment services’ products spread across multiple solutions from multiple vendors.
Added Stoner, “Our goal was to consolidate these systems onto a single platform to better serve our member credit unions, as well as capture internal efficiencies. The Aptys system not only met these goals, but in addition we created a true partner relationship.”
This consolidation of systems to PayLOGICS was a multiyear effort. “We needed to move methodically through each legacy payment processing system to document our requirements,” pointed out Stoner. “Then we worked side by side in partnership with Aptys to ensure the PayLOGICS system was configured with these requirements and needs for us and the member credit unions we serve.”
Stoner explained PayLOGICS integrates seamlessly with Vizo Financial’s core banking system and cash management system. He added, “Aptys worked closely with our project team to ensure all system functionality was tested and implemented properly. The Aptys team worked hand in hand with our project team for each of the system implementation to ensure we had all the support need.”
Stoner described some of the features gained for the systems impacted by this consolidation: ACH, domestic wires and check processing.
The ability to derive multiple ACH returns on one screen; search previously sent batches and originate to a new batch, provide real-time email notifications for potential Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) hits, and to print and/or export ACH information in PDF format, in CSV or Excel format; reporting capabilities for importing to its core system and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) monitoring; search functionality and capacity to save searched data for future use; creation of recurring scheduled templates (monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, etc.), on-demand or one-time payment batches using unscheduled templates, and Excel import files; enhanced security via the dual control approval and release process; reuse of previously submitted batches as templates, as well as derived and reversed in new batches; and having an ACH client module for business clients.
Real-time email notifications regarding OFAC hits, rejected wires and wires processed via the Fed; reporting capabilities for importing to their core system and BSA monitoring; search functionality and ability to save searched data for future use; ability for credit unions to return wires and to send service messages through the application, and import/upload Fed-formatted wire files.
Share Draft Processing
Ability to upload returns file, derive, edit or delete returns, research and view/print check images at no charge, create a X9 or COF image files for credit unions, and setup and configure each institution depending on the type of process within one application; real-time email notifications regarding share draft files ready for download, notification of uploading and processing of Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) files, and return items pending approval and release; reporting capabilities for importing to the core and BSA monitoring systems; search functionality and ability to download data in PDF, CSV or Excel formats.
Aptys Propels Vizo Financial
“Aptys helps propel financial institutions ahead of their competition with powerful end-to-end, cloud-based payment solutions through a single, open and modular-designed enterprise-payments platform,” Nasim said.
The CEO described PayLOGICS as Aptys’ most advanced enterprise payments engine that enables multi-channel payments including real-time payment, FedNow, wire transactions, Image Cash Letters, ACH and mobile payments.
Nasim pointed out with Aptys, Vizo Financial was able to:
· Simplify vendor management, replace seven payment systems with PayLOGICS and replace five vendor relationships with the Aptys partnership.
· Reduce payment system frictions and complexity.
· Improve respondent experience, efficiencies and security.
· Reduce costs.
· Futureproof payments offerings and prepare for faster payments including RTP and FedNow.
· Consolidate payment data into a single location.
Aptys offers PayLOGICS as a platform as a service (PaaS) in an Amazon Web Services hosted environment, which is what Vizo Financial uses, that allows for “the highest levels of security, compliance, scalability and availability.” Aptys also offers PayLOGICS as an on-premise solution for financial institutions that prefer an in-house data center.
Beginning of a Great Relationship
Vizo Financial currently uses Aptys’ ACH, wire and check solutions. The corporate credit union also implemented mobile payments convergence platform PayMoli, Aptys’ latest platform for P2P payments offering multiple payment rails including faster payments.
“With this consolidation, we now have a single consistent look and feel for our members when using our cash management system, Zephyr, for their payment services activities,” Stoner said. In addition, Vizo Financial has seen a faster processing time for its back-office, as well as for member institutions in receiving respective payment activity. “This has also streamlined the reconciliation across multiple payment channels and the ability to assist the institution in balancing daily activity.”
Stoner said through all of the transitions, the corporate credit union developed a great relationship with Aptys. He added Vizo Financial enjoyed working with the Georgia firm so much that in June 2020, it partnered with Plano, TX-based Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union and Naperville, Ill-based Alloya Corporate Federal Credit Union to acquire Aptys. “Vizo Financial and Aptys have been long-time partners, so being a shareholder of the provider, we already use for many of our payment solutions, just seemed like a natural next step.”