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Fred Cook Enables Growth at North Shore Credit Union

Elite 8 honoree Fred Cook has helped establish North Shore Credit Union's IT organization as a major enabler for the business as it experiences tremendous growth and high retention levels.

The Pivotal implementation changes how NSCU views the CRM function, Cook adds. Previously seen as a sales campaign tracking function, it's now used as an experience management tool, he says, that is leveraged throughout the organization.

The new CRM system, Cook continues, has given NSCU employees better access to more customer information, allowing them to provide a more intimate experience to the credit union's membership. For instance, the CRM system includes pictures of members, so branch employees don't have to repeatedly ask members for identification. "How can you be 'member intimate' if you're always pressing people for identification?" Cook notes, referring to the NSCU's "member intimacy" corporate strategy. "Just by changing the CRM screen at the point where the tellers work, it reinforces what we're trying to get across about how we deliver a different value experience."

In describing the importance of CRM to his company's technology environment, Cook suggests that, while a core banking system is a financial institution's main engine, it is not a relationship engine per se. "Our CRM system is the first thing that sits in front of everybody. It doesn't matter if you are on the front line or the back line -- you start and end your day going through our CRM system," he says.

With the enhanced CRM system in place, though, Cook and NSCU are now focused on that main engine. In the first quarter of 2007, it selected a Temenos (Geneva, Switzerland) T24 enterprise core banking platform. Implementation began in April 2007 and the new system, which will run in a Windows and SQL environment, is set to go live in October 2009.

The Elite 8 2009
Gary GreenwaldJohn BeranBarbara PerinoFrancisco 'Frank' DeArmasThomas KunzFred CookDavid DowningDonald Westermann
Cook says the Temenos system was chosen in part for the vendor's global perspective. "Being a retail bank, we look at the opportunity to cherry-pick and leverage some of those [pockets of] vertical knowledge to better support our strategy to deliver on those higher advisory services," he explains.

Equally important is the new system's ability to integrate with NSCU's enterprise content management (ECM) platform, BI warehouse and CRM system, Cook adds. In addition, he expects that the Temenos system will provide the institution with a rapid product development engine, without requiring a lot of in-house programming.

Essentially, Cook believes, the new system was a prerequisite as the credit union looks to stay competitive going forward. "We're in a very competitive marketplace. Canadian credit unions ... are like community banks [in the U.S.]," he says. "We cooperate with peer credit unions in joint business ventures and things like that, but when it comes to the retail street level we can go after each other's business."

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