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Orange County Teachers FCU

Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union (OCTFCU) is a large and progressive credit union that is rooted in the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People,” and built on traditional values of commitment to service, respect for the individual, and fiscal responsibility. The Southern California-based institution prides itself on maintaining the highest standards of integrity, professional ethics, cooperation, and team spirit. Naturally, they extend these standards to their growing and popular online banking channel where they offer a wide array of convenient and secure services. To protect their online channel but also protect their members’ experience, OCTFCU has partnered with a company that is unique in delivering the only solution that silently and unobtrusively detects, isolates, and prevents online fraud from beginning to end for each and every member and transaction: Cydelity.

OCTFCU was a leader in the 1990s in offering online banking and has developed a sophisticated in-house system that includes bill payment, eNotices, eStatements and many more services. In terms of security, the credit union was proactive in providing stronger authentication for their members well before they were required to by FFIEC regulations. In 2005, they were looking to strengthen their security even further with the addition of an intelligent remediation and risk mapping solution that was easy to deploy and did not impact online service quality. Tom Giangreco, OCTFCU’s Information Security Officer, explains that “Cydelity’s team came in and explained the types of fraud their system checks for and how their solution worked. We were very impressed with their presentation and professionalism.” 

The next step was for Cydelity to install their appliance in OCTFCU’s data center in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) in front of the credit union’s online banking servers. Like most credit union executives, Giangreco is very busy with his day to day activities and appreciated Cydelity’s technical support: “They did all of the setup and configuration work. Afterwards, we let their system collect data and map every member’s transactions for a couple of months.” During this “learning time,” Cydelity eSentry discovered how OCTFCU’s members typically performed their online banking, and the system was gradually fine-tuned. Giangreco notes that “since many of our members are teachers, they travel quite a bit during their free time in the summer. Cydelity’s sophisticated behavior modeling really helped stop false positives that could have been triggered by their activities.” The key point is that Cydelity is dynamic and self-learning, and protects every member - based on their individual behavior. 

When fraud alerts are generated, eSentry has an excellent routing engine that can categorize them by numerous different parameters such as type of transaction, log-in failures, funds transfers, etc. These alerts are triggered by Cydelity’s sophisticated fraud engine that detects changes in a particular member’s online behaviors and/or patterns. The credit union has two main departments that receive the alerts and follow-up on them: Internet Services and Information Systems Security. According to Giangreco, “it is easy to define group and individual alerting – it is very flexible.” He also appreciates Cydelity’s development team efforts: “They have made many improvements and additions to their system since we first installed it. We have been very satisfied with their response levels, support, and product functionality at every step of the way.” 

On the front end, Cydelity offers an intuitive, browser-based interface that also includes customizable dashboards. “They offer lots of graphics and lists that are very handy for sorting incidents quickly and easily,” says Giangreco. He adds that “it is a great forensic tool for doing research – quite powerful and flexible.” All departments that utilize eSentry enjoy the way that the system records histories of all members’ activities, and is fine-tuned to deliver individualized protection for each member and for each transaction based on each member’s individual characteristics and patterns for using the OCTFCU site. Plus they appreciate the fact that eSentry is “a very low maintenance system” in Giangreco’s words. 

Since they are a large and well known credit union, Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union is very concerned about phishing attacks. Through hard work on the part of OCTFCU’s staff and ongoing member education the credit union has never suffered a financial loss, despite ongoing attempts from fraudsters. Giangreco concludes that “it has been real refreshing to work with Cydelity and we are very happy with their product.”

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