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Peggy Kendler
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Innovative CIOs 2007: Phillips and Arizona Federal Credit Union Switch Gears With the Market

Though Arizona Federal Credit Union SVP and CIO Jim Phillips told BS&T last year that a strategic vision is key to a technology leader's success, the downturn in the economy has forced the Phoenix-based bank to change direction. "Our market's rapid decline in home values had a ripple effect on many areas of the local economy and, ultimately, on the members we serve," Phillips explains. "With these new challenges, our focus was directed less on growth and more on deploying new products and services tailored around improving financial education, credit restoration and managing risk."

Jim Phillips, Arizona Federal Credit Union
Jim Phillips
Streamlining processes, improving automation and increasing efficiencies have all become mandates, Phillips notes. But there has been a silver lining. With the goal of doing more with less, he relates, his department has furthered its work in virtualization, improved storage management tools and refined automation of release testing.

As Phillips begins planning for 2009, however, he is looking beyond the current market conditions and preparing for growth in membership, transaction volumes and AFCU's geographic footprint. "Projects focused on enhancing online channels, deploying new payments products, migrating legacy systems and improving the effectiveness of our delivery channels are on the horizon," he asserts.

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