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They Did What?, By: Jim Whipp, CEO St Agnes Credit Union
In early 2014 St. Agnes Federal Credit Union (SAFCU), based in Baltimore Maryland, had 7,000+ members and just over $46,000,000 in assets. St. Agnes FCU was arguably the most successful hospital-based credit union in Baltimore but was facing the same challenges that most credit unions faced.
SAFCU management faced issues related to continuing the credit union’s growth, and one of the most important issues was how to improve the credit union’s technology and communication infrastructure. The credit union relied on an antiquated phone system which was provided by its sponsor, and it had an in-house data processing system which was difficult to maintain and scale. At the same time, SAFCU was facing the need to replace its in-house server, which was now approaching 10-years in service. All of these challenges were front and center when Ongoing Operations and SAFCU began talking about solving these problems.
During the first phase of our partnership, Ongoing Operations was able to provide an IP-based phone system for all CU employees, replacing the old system that provided a limited number of lines, poor reliability and few features. SAFCU was able to offer its members a new toll-free number and all employees now had their own phone extensions and a full-feature IP phone.
The next big challenge was related to improving the infrastructure of its in-house network. SAFCU had to decide whether it should purchase a new in-house server and replace all of its antiquated desktop PCs with new Windows 7 PCs, or go another route. After calculating the costs of replacing all of the in-house equipment with new in-house equipment, another option presented itself.
Rather than replacing all of its in-house equipment, Ongoing Operations provided another answer. What if SAFCU could have a solution that would take the burden of running an in-house server away from the credit union, allow the credit union to purchase far less expensive PCs, eliminate expensive point-to-point connections, migrate to a new e-mail exchange server, and dramatically improve its disaster recovery plan? This was the path that Ongoing Operations offered SAFCU.
With Ongoing Operations’ virtual solution, the credit union could have it all and more. In addition to the list of benefits above, the credit union also became much more scalable. New users could be added with little effort, new offices could be established with little effort, and employees would be able to work remotely as necessary. As an example, this came in very handy as St. Agnes FCU completed two mergers since going live with the OGO solution –each time the ability to bring its own system into these other credit union offices proved quite valuable during the transition. SAFCU now has a world-class network infrastructure, access to the latest versions of Microsoft’s suite of products on a subscription basis, and none of the hassles of worrying about patching or managing the server.
Since going live, SAFCU is now over $52,000,000 in assets and nearly 8,000 members. Our ability to easily scale up our operations, acquire two other credit unions, and open a new office (coming late2015) is directly related to our decision to move to the OGO virtual solution. Without this platform being in place, our mergers and the growth associated with those transactions would have been more difficult, more costly and less efficient. We’ve got the technology and network foundation in place to meet our needs for years to come.