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GFA Federal Credit Union

Full service, community-based credit unions are finding more and more that they don’t need just a data processing vendor – they require a true business partner that is responsive to their needs. That is what GFA Federal Credit Union (GFAFCU), a $200 million credit union located in Gardner, MA, is pleased to have found in their core system provider: COCC. "We needed a leading edge provider that was attentive to our needs," remarks Tina Sbrega, Chief Operating Officer at the credit union, "and they have been instrumental in helping us to be first to market with products like debit cards, online banking, bill pay and much more."

Because COCC is a non-profit, member-owned cooperative, their commitment to customer service dovetails quite well with the credit union movement’s motto of existing "For Service." Ms. Sbrega notes that "COCC shares our service philosophy, and a key component of our relationship is the service and detail oriented nature of their staff." This steadfast belief in the importance of customer service is evidenced by the fact that COCC maintains the highest ratio of staff to customers in the industry. This ensures that "they are very responsive and care about our needs" according to Ms. Sbrega.

At no point in a credit union’s life cycle is support more important than during a core system conversion. With over twenty three years of experience with the credit union, Ms. Sbrega has taken part in many significant technology changes. Starting in May 2002, she and her fellow 70+ employees began their biggest project to date: a thorough re-engineering of the credit union’s workflows and a host system replacement. After months of hard work that involved working closely with COCC in regards to planning and testing, GFAFCU was ready to convert to COCC’s state-of-the-art flagship core system called INSIGHT*. Ms. Sbrega reports that "it was a very smooth conversion – it went through without a hitch." Almost unbelievably, the tellers had balanced and were out of the branch 10 minutes after closing on the day that GFAFCU went live with INSIGHT!

Once in operation, the re-engineering efforts and the new host system immediately began to pay big dividends: 10% overall time savings for tellers; a 50% reduction or automation of forms; and a 35% reduction in manually-generated reports. Ms. Sbrega enthuses that "our staff is thrilled with the new system because they now have a much better view of our members without having to scroll through different screens and programs." At the heart of these efficiency improvements is INSIGHT’s flexible and open Oracle relational database, which is designed to provide credit union employees with complete access to member information via a profile, not simply an account number. From opening new accounts to teller transactions to funding a new loan, this "bird’s eye" view of member profiles adds up to much better member service for GFAFCU’s 20,000+ members and huge time savings for their staff. 

Because of INSIGHT's open architecture, COCC has been able to integrate and deliver nationally known, state-of-the-art ancillary products that GFAFCU has leveraged to their advantage. This is especially true in the area of electronic services; for example, more than one third of the credit union’s transactions now occur electronically via voice response, online banking and debit card channels. COCC’s delivery channel integration efforts have helped the credit union reach out to their younger members, which is absolutely critical when you consider that GFAFCU’s overall percentage of members under 45 has increased from 40% to 46% over the past ten years. 

With ambitious goals for growth, GFAFCU needs to focus on member service, offering new products and services and staying competitive in a difficult economy. By using COCC’s sophisticated and complete service bureau solution, they have been able to minimize costs and focus on their core competencies. "We have been extremely happy with COCC system," explains Ms. Sbrega "and their technical support is always there for us." She concludes that "we are pleased to have a vendor that helps keep us ahead of the curve and we have 100% confidence in COCC’s technology and people."

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