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  • Writer's pictureJohn San Filippo

GAC2024: 2 Top Tech Execs Look Forward

By John San Filippo


The 2024 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) was held March 5-8 in Washington, D.C. While there, Finopotamus had the opportunity to speak with top executives from two fintech leaders about the future. First, we spoke with Shanon McLachlan, president of Credit Union Solutions for Jack Henry (who will take over as the company’s COO in July). Separately we spoke with Chuck Fagan, CEO of the newly merged PSCU/Co-op Solutions.


The Shanon McLachlan Interview


Jack Henry launched  large-scale technology modernization initiative more than two years ago. The cornerstone of this initiative is a highly modularized platform referred to as the Jack Henry platform, which gives each community financial institution access to the most modern tech tools, as well as maximum flexibility in choosing and implementing the components that make up its tech stack. Finopotamus asked McLachlan for an update on this initiative.


Shanon McLachlan

“Banno [Jack Henry’s digital banking platform] is the reference implementation for the Jack Henry platform,” said McLachlan. “That means if a credit union is using Banno today, they’re already using the Jack Henry platform.” He added that among other benefits, this has eliminated all screen scraping in the Banno platform.


“We've been teaching our members and our kids bad habits for years,” he stated. “You want to do an aggregation engine? Go fire up that app and load it all up with your financial relationships – and your username and your password for each one – and then change your password every six months and update us so we know what they are so we can go screen scrape. That's horrible. Right? And it also is very buggy, very ‘breaky.’ So, with the integration into the Jack Henry platform, no more screen scraping. We do it all through integration to Finicity, Plaid and so on.”


McLachlan went on to explain open architecture is key to the Jack Henry platform. “Any third party can use the platform,” he noted. “There is an integration entry point into the platform. Any module that we put on there, they can use. That's why we put all [the specifications] out there on and”


The new platform will also make it easier for third-party developers to access Jack Henry data. “Data Broker is our data pipeline system,” he said. “Think about it this way: If today you want to access different Jack Henry data, you're going to go all over the place. You have extracts from this product, extracts from that product, alerts from this product. Well, Data Broker is where all Jack Henry data will reside. You'll be able to go to one spot to get all your data.”


In addition to its Symitar core processing platform for credit unions, Jack Henry also offers three core processing platforms for community banks. According to McLachlan, the company’s strategy will allow both banks and credit unions to move toward the new platform over time. He said that although complete migration to the new platform will take many years, current core customers will begin to consume more and more services from the new platform.


“All the transactions are still settling on Symitar,” he explained. “That's the rock-solid transaction processing compliance engine. But over time, as we build these components and they get hardened, like our cores today have been hardened over years – getting all those edge cases, as they get hardened, a credit union can say, ‘You know what? I want to move wires over there. I want to move reporting over there.’ That way, you're only impacting a slice of the business at a time. You're not impacting the entire credit union. It's not open-heart surgery with your eyes open. You can manage it and you can still advance.”


The Chuck Fagan Interview


PSCU/Co-op Solutions is a company in transition. That much is obvious from the company name, as well as the fact that PSCU/Co-op Solutions had two booths at GAC. The merger of PSCU and Co-op Solutions came too late to cancel either of the booths, explained a company spokesperson. 

Chuck Fagan

According to Fagan, the company decided to simply use PSCU/Co-op Solutions for the short term, assuring Finopotamus that a new name and branding would be unveiled at the company’s Member Forum customer conference. That annual event will be held April 10-12 in San Antonio and Finopotamus will be in attendance.


Branding aside, what were the synergies that made this merger of payment powerhouses a wise move? “Both organizations have a 40-plus year history in the credit union industry,” Fagan explained. Both have deep, deep roots and are owned and governed by credit unions. On the product side, both organizations are debit and credit processors, with more and more ownership of technology. Eight to 10 years ago both organizations started to invest more around the credit union member experience, the digital mobile access, that kind of stuff.” He noted that Co-op Solutions brought to the table an extensive ATM network, something that PSCU never had. Alternatively, one of PSCU’s subsidiaries, Verity, offers collections service, which Co-op Solutions does not.


“The most common question I get is what took you so long? This has been anticipated for a long time,” noted Fagan. “This was the fifth time our two boards had engaged dating back to 2005.  This time the boards were very aligned. Let's focus on our employees, our credit unions and the industry and get egos out of the way.”


Finopotamus then asked Fagan about the customer experience for credit unions already using services from both organizations, from consolidated billing to unified support.


“That will take time,” noted Fagan. “As an example, PSCU has a product called Quick Assist. Co-op Solutions has a product called Springboard. That's how credit union staff signs into our systems. We'll consolidate into one and choose the best out of both to put the absolute best product in front of our credit unions.” Fagan added that there will be consolidation with any overlapping products. He said the company will choose whatever is best for credit unions, whether that’s a PSCU product or a Co-op Solutions product.


He also noted that credit union input will be essential to a successful transition. “That whole effort will really get underway this summer and will involve credit unions,” he stated. “We'll take 10 or so credit unions from PSCU’s world and 10 from Co-op’s, plus our product team and a consultant that we have working with us. Together we'll figure out what's best, with 2025 being the year to implement a lot of this.”


Fagan said he sees PSCU/Co-op Solutions serving as a technology conduit between fintechs and credit unions. “We are touching about 4,000 credit unions,” Fagan told Finopotamus. “Fintechs don't want to build distribution networks to go after 4,000 credit unions. They can come to us. We can serve as an entry point for a lot of the new technology being built to get into the credit union system.” He added that the organization has spent millions of dollars on cybersecurity to ensure that all connectivity is secure.



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