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KEMBA Financial Credit Union has grown from humble beginnings in a small room inside the Kroger Bakery in 1933 to become a large and progressive credit union serving numerous cities, counties and Select Employee Groups in Northern Ohio. During the 1990s, KEMBA was the fastest growing credit union in Ohio, and the 12th fastest in the country. Two of the reasons that they have accomplished this impressive growth are: 1) a dedication to member service as stated in their philosophy of "People Helping People Help Themselves" and 2) a commitment to investing in leading edge technology. This desire to be as technologically sophisticated as possible has led them to partner with the top technology providers to the credit union movement. This list includes Wescom Resources Group which provides credit unions with the latest most reliable online banking applications, systems interfaces, and enhancements to core processing systems in the market today.
In early 2004, the IT department at KEMBA was looking for third party connectivity tools that would assist them in interfacing with their in-house Symitar host processing system Episys. They knew exactly what they were looking for in a 'middleware' package: a solution that was robust, flexible, easy-to-use, easy-to-learn, and had very tight integration with Symitar's product lines. After reviewing several vendors, it was clear that while they all provided good overall connectivity to various core systems, only one provided a stable, efficient, and standard integration layer to the Episys system: CU Integrator from Wescom Resources Group which is backed by Wescom Credit Union, one of the nation's largest credit unions. Carrie Hopkins, MIS Project Manager at KEMBA, recalls that "CU Integrator was by far the most robust product that we found on the market. We discovered that it is so powerful that essentially it is a universal adapter for Episys."
Because Carrie had a strong background in Symitar's programming language PowerOn (RepGen), she was thrilled to find that using CU Integrator made working with these programs so much easier. "It is hard for most people to realize how much easier and faster it is to work with CU Integrator," she enthuses. In addition to ease of use, another key feature of CU Integrator is that it offers a real-time interface to Episys, thereby providing immediate inquiry and maintenance functionality. This opens up a whole world of possibilities for the credit union to quickly add third party applications to their host system in a cost efficient manner. Kim Boyer, MIS Manager at KEMBA, also appreciates the flexibility that CU Integrator gives her: "we can now pull from a much larger talent pool from outside my staff if we need to. It is much easier to get someone up to speed on CU Integrator than it is with proprietary programming languages." Kim simply needs to hire individuals or vendors with Microsoft .NET programming experience and they are off and running developing new applications with the assistance of CU Integrator.
The first project where CU Integrator was put to the test was to integrate their new lending origination system, Selient's LoanStation with Episys. Amazingly this process took just 3 months to go live! Danielle Chatfield, KEMBA's Vice President of Lending, gleams at the results: "it is an amazing improvement over our old system. It is so easy to use that with just a few hours of training even our Member Service Representatives can close loans." Danielle's loan officers and MSRs originate all of their loans except first mortgages in LoanStation, then with one click of the mouse the loan is booked and funded in their Symitar system. Carries says that "CU Integrator really streamlined the entire process for us. It is so easy to make modifications - it really is a wonderful product." Kim agrees and adds that "CU Integrator allowed us to do a lot of changes and customization to LoanStation in-house which saved us a great deal of time and money."
With the success of the LoanStation project under their belt, the MIS team at KEMBA has their eyes on exciting new projects. On tap for 2005-2006 are some interesting projects such as a new online loan application that ties into LoanStation and a new online new member application. Ambitious projects one and all, but ones that will come much easier with the assistance of CU Integrator and the technology experts at Wescom Resources Group. Carrie feels confident that they will be able to rapidly complete these projects because "Wescom Resources Group is very responsive to our needs and they have an excellent forum/message board that helps us network with other credit unions using CU Integrator. There is no doubt that they are the Symitar experts - they know Episys inside and out."