Bridgeton Onized and Share One Team for Success to Power Through Disaster
Bridgeton Onized Federal Credit Union (BOFCU) was formed in 1939 in Cumberland County, New Jersey and has grown to serve more than 100 member groups, not only in Cumberland County, but in surrounding counties and states as well. When BOFCU was notified by their long time core systems processor that their system was being “sunsetted”, they turned to a CUSO which has a client base of credit unions with assets ranging up to $1 billion and has been a leading developer of credit union management software systems since 1974: Share One.
Of course this major conversion was not taken lightly by BOFCU CEO Tami Ciccioli and her staff. They spent quite a bit of time on due diligence on various core systems vendors. Ciccioli confirms that “we spent about eight months comparing systems and we concluded that Share One was the best. The fact that they are all credit union people at Share One was a big advantage for them, as was the fact that their philosophy meshed perfectly with ours.” In the end, Bridgeton Onized FCU chose an in-house implementation of Share One’s innovative core processing product, NewSolutions, where the hardware is onsite at the credit union, and support is delivered from the vendor’s expert customer service and technical support teams in Memphis, TN.
To prepare for the conversion, the credit union’s staff attended weekly one hour webinars that gave them a thorough overview of the new system. Ciccioli recalls that “our employees were really excited by what they were seeing and could not wait to go live on the new system. Our old system was so antiquated compared to NewSolutions.” She adds that “this training really helped our staff cross that great divide of cutting over to a new data processing system, especially the tellers and loan officers. They felt really confident in their ability to help our members as soon as we went live.”
David Taylor, Project Manager at Share One, was in charge of their team’s conversion efforts with Bridgeton Onized FCU. He explains that “we were under time constraints due to their contract expiration issues and had difficulties obtaining their data, but we had the system up and running in their main office well ahead of time.” The plan was to convert the system over a long weekend, but Mother Nature had other plans: a massive wind and rain storm that knocked out power to the entire area. Carla Tanner, VP of Installations at Share One, was at the credit union for the conversion. Even after decades of experience converting credit unions across the country, Tanner had never seen anything like this. She remembers “driving around looking for somewhere that had electricity to plug in our laptops and get a wireless connection back to our headquarters so that we could continue the conversion.”
Meanwhile, Ciccioli’s team managed to find a generator and get a PC up and running at their main office. Both the credit union’s staff and Share One employees worked extremely long hours under difficult conditions to keep the complicated process of cutting over from one core system to another moving forward. Ciccioli testifies that “it was a very intense experience and the Share One team was there with us every step of the way. They really went above and beyond what was expected – their support was awesome!” After a very long weekend of hard work, the credit union’s new system went live with only minor issues.
According to Ciccioli, this entire process “created a strong bond between us and Share One.” Once the system was in place, she says “that ongoing support has been great – we just pick up the phone and they are there for us.” The staff loves the ease of use of the new system, and the 8000+ members are enjoying a much better banking experience. According to Ciccioli, “Share One is always improving their system and training us on its new features. Plus they are very responsive to our wish list items.” She concludes that “Share One is not your typical vendor, they are truly a partner, and from our experience talking with other Share One credit unions, they have this type of close partnership with them as well.”