Interoperability a Leading Reason Workers Credit Union Selects New Core Provider

By W.B. King

With more organizations seeking an open architecture platform that allows the ability to plug-and-play with varied third parties, some leading core providers are experiencing clients jumping ship, which is the case for Workers Credit Union.

The $2 billion Littleton, Mass.-based credit union’s core provider contract was due to expire at the end of 2022. In earnest, executives undertook a thorough search and discovery process. The goal was to find a core solution to further improve the daily financial wellness of its 110,000 members.

“We were looking for a partner who could help us scale our mission,” said Workers Credit Union Senior Vice President and Chief Information and Operations Officer Joanne White. “In order to do that, we need a more open platform that would give us the ability to add new products and new applications ourselves rather than having the vendor do it for us.”

WCU's Senior Vice President and Chief Information and Operations Officer Joanne White.

Core Search and Discovery

In early 2013, Workers Credit Union signed a 10-year core account processing contract with its core vendor. And while White said the credit union’s relationship with the vendor is “very good,” roughly two years ago, with the renewal and/or cancelation date looming, she, along with an internal team, including CEO Doug Petersen and CFO Tim Smith, engaged the Stamford, Conn.-based technology research and consulting company Gartner to assist in vetting prospects.

Eventually four vendors, including Workers Credit Union's current core provider, were placed on a short list.

“We then put together an extensive request for proposal (RFP), which included input from all the various departments in the organization. The RFP went out to the four vendors followed by a round of vendor demos,” White explained.

After a few months, Workers Credit Union decided to partner with the Lake Mary, Fla.-based Finastra, selecting its Fusion Phoenix core banking solution.

“Our unique commitment to serving our members as they work toward their financial goals has positioned us for unprecedented growth,” said Petersen. “We recognize that to best serve our members, we need to continue to add new products and services. With Fusion Phoenix, bringing new services to market will be quicker and easier, and the core will be able to grow with our needs as our membership continues to expand.”

WCU's CEO Doug Petersen.

As part of the RFP process, White said the team identified over 125 manual processes and made certain that Finastra could solve existing issues with its core solution.

“The general feeling is of excitement as the staff is ready to implement this for better peer-to-peer support within the credit union staff as well as better supporting members through their everyday transactions,” she said.

Finastra, White noted, scored the highest marks in “just about every category” the credit union needed. “We especially valued the ability for us to maintain being a purpose-driven organization because if we’d gone with another vendor, I think we would have bent our purpose in order to fit that core.”