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Where Are They Now? BS&T's 2012 Elite 8, One Year Later

Core systems modernization, customer experience-related initiatives and supporting regulatory compliance are among the top priorities keeping BS&T's 2012 Elite 8 honorees busy since they were recognized a year ago. Here are updates on the challenges and projects that some of the executives have been tackling in the past year.
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Fairwinds Focuses On Engagement

Charlie Lai
Executive VP and CIO, Fairwinds Credit Union

2012 Elite 8 award winner Charlie Lai, executive VP and CIO of Fairwinds Credit Union, and his team typically plan to complete approximately 100 new IT projects each year for the firm. In the past year, says Lai, the team has continued its efforts to improve the member experience through the application of technology innovations.

Among the many projects keeping Lai and his team busy are two major initiatives. First, Lai’s organization developed and implemented an iPad new-account origination app. This past fall, the University of Central Florida selected Fairwinds Credit Union as its official student banking services partner. As part of the student banking program, the credit union provided an on-campus branch and ATMs, and has integrated its card payment services with the university’s existing student ID card program.

To facilitate student engagement, Fairwinds’ technology team embarked on an internal development project to extend its existing account origination capabilities to the iPad tablet via a new mobile app designed specifically for credit union staff to use during orientation events. To date, the credit union has opened more than 1,500 student accounts using the app. The app will also serve as the foundation for the credit union’s other branches to transform in-branch retail service delivery. This latter evolution is planned for later in 2013 or early 2014.

This year’s second big project is an upgrade to Fairwinds’ digital banking channel. In late 2012, the credit union partnered with Intuit Financial Services to provide next-generation online banking, mobile banking and a variety of electronic financial management tools to its members. The initial phases of the project were completed in six months, and the credit union converted all consumer banking members on July 22. A secondary phase involving small-business members will be completed late in 2013.


Peggy Bresnick Kendler has been a writer for 30 years. She has worked as an editor, publicist and school district technology coordinator. During the past decade, Bresnick Kendler has worked for UBM TechWeb on special financialservices technology-centered ... View Full Bio

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