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  • Writer's pictureW.B. King

Tech People in the Know: MDT’s Greg Lanigan

In what is a recurring feature, Finopotamus will profile interesting and intriguing tech professionals who are positively impacting the credit union industry.

For this issue, we visited with Members Driven Technologies’ Chief Information Officer Greg Lanigan. The Farmington Hills, Mich.-based MDT, a credit union service organization (CUSO), serves 125-plus credit unions across the country, representing over two million members and more than $29 billion in total assets.

By W.B. King

While earning his Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Information Technology from Walsh College, Greg Lanigan was attracted to the possibilities of application development.

“The ability to be presented with a problem and creatively and quickly provide a solution,” he told Finopotamus, placed him on his professional journey.

Greg Lanigan

The first stop after graduation was at DFCU Financial, where he served for five years as a senior manager of information technology. In 2002, he began a seven-year run with Genisys Credit Union as its vice president of information technology. He would work at both ELGA Credit Union and Chemical Bank before signing on as CIO of MDT in 2017.

Looking back, he said there have been many “notable changes” in how technology departments operate. Each employee in tech departments today, he offered as an example, must be more knowledgeable “due to the significant increase in systems and applications” that run a credit union.

“Everything is interconnected in some fashion, making it imperative for tech employees to have knowledge that’s both deep and wide,” he noted. “This is very different from the past, in which true silos existed.”

Analyzing the Problem

With technology applications changing quickly, along with member wants and needs, Lanigan said MDT has a rigorous process when considering adopting a new offering.

“This involves identifying and analyzing the problem, evaluating multiple solutions, determining a proof of concept for each and determining the best solution (or solutions) or next steps,” he told Finopotamus.

“Ultimately, it comes down to helping our credit unions navigate the expanding fintech jungle,” he added. “There are so many options available today, and credit unions often lack the time, resources or expertise to fully vet and evaluate each individual fintech provider and solution on their own.”

Selecting technologies that are “open and easily integrated” into a credit union’s tech stack, he noted, is a high priority. “It’s a must in today’s landscape.”

Nurturing Young Tech Talent

MDT currently employs 146 people, with 33 serving on the technical operations team, Lanigan explained. Noting that he is the only baby boomer of the bunch, the balance of tech employees are a mix of Gen Z and millennials.

“We not only prioritize recruiting the best talent but nurturing young talent to help them advance and develop,” he said. “As new tech talent enters the credit union space, it’s encouraging to see how these new generations are open to learning, creatively approaching problems and pivoting when needed.”

Current operational pivots include keeping a keen eye on artificial intelligence (AI) as well as digital transformation and the payments landscape.

“[These] remain extremely competitive and exciting segments in the fintech space. We are always looking for how to responsibly, securely and compliantly experiment and leverage new tech,” he noted. “As tech options continue to multiply, it’s important for credit unions to partner with and rely on trusted service providers to help manage, maintain and optimize new technologies.”

Understanding the Mind of the Member

The industry characteristics that initially attracted Lanigan to the credit union space remain a guiding force, informing the work he undertakes to this today.

“Everything that a credit union does has the member in mind – even from a technology perspective. This hyper focus on serving and supporting members and their communities sets credit unions apart,” he continued. “Collaboration comes into play here – the willingness to help and brainstorm with other credit unions is unique to our industry, and something that makes us all better.”

Lanigan credits the increasing amount of credit union and fintech partnerships primarily to technological advancements and evolving member expectations.

“The prevalence of application programming interfaces (APIs) has opened these doors, enabling seamless integrations and reducing the barriers to entry for implementing new technologies.” He said. “As a result, credit unions have been able to expand their service offerings and improve efficiencies.”

While this competitive landscape has encouraged more and more credit unions to adopt an innovative approach and strategy to meet the diverse needs of membership, Lanigan said there is still a lot of work to be done, including better investigative and vetting practices.

“The ecosystem has so many options, and it can be overwhelming for a credit union to navigate with just the resources they have in-house. This is where strong, strategic partnerships come into play,” he continued. “Credit unions need someone in their corner who understands their unique business and problems and can help them solve them and introduce new technology in a reliable, secure, compliant way.”


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