Envision Credit Union was faced with a Solomon-like decision soon after it was created last year by the merger of Delta Credit Union and First Heritage Savings Credit Union.
British Columbia-based Envision had inherited two distinct banking systems outsourced to two different service bureaus. "From a price and future growth perspective...neither of those incumbent institutions provided what we saw was a reasonable solution," said Hank Poelvoorde, vice president of technology and information systems at CAN$2 billion Envision, Canada's fourth largest credit union.
Although the merger left Envision Credit Union well-staffed with IT talent, it preferred to stick with a service bureau environment. "We didn't have the in-house expertise to take on a banking system," Poelvoorde said.
Envision chose the i-Wealthview banking platform from Fincentric, a Vancouver-based software company. Envision will use i-Wealthview to integrate the branch, ATMs, telephone and Internet banking systems that serve its more than 100,000 members.
Envision will access i-Wealthview through Telus, a third-party service bureau based in Canada. Telus provides Fincentric with a foundation for growing its business, said Mike Cardiff, president and CEO of Vancouver-based Fincentric.
"The Telus relationship will allow us to run many more credit unions in the future should our customers wish to have an outsourced offering. We've talked to them about supporting some of our customers elsewhere in the world," Cardiff said.
At Envision, the twin challenges of merging two firms and installing a new banking system are being taken in stride. "From a technical standpoint, I don't see it as any more of a challenge than any conversion of data," said Poelvoorde.
Telus, which operates a United States data center, will provide Envision with systems consulting, integration, hosting and licensing support in a seven-year deal. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but Poelvoorde said it costs less than running two separate banking systems.
The contract, noted Poelvoorde, provides for a "seamless operation between Fincentric and Telus. That was key." Over time and with experience, Envision will do more of its own development, but for now it will rely on Telus.
Envision was impressed by i-Wealthview's open system architecture, which runs on both Windows NT and Windows 2000. "It gives you scalability and the ability to continue to port and grow," Poelvoorde said, adding that the plug-and-play environment provides flexibility, as does a user-friendly front-end.
i-Wealthview's CRM components allow teller and call center staff to "know who you are," Poelvoorde said. Customer profiles enable staff to offer custom-tailored products.