SCHOOLS FIRST FCU
Reclaiming Productivity with Core Integration
Project Type: Core Integration, Cash Automation, Business Intelligence
Project Size: Network-Wide
# of Branches: 48
# of Machines: 142
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, an 860,000+ member, $15B credit union based in Southern California, has continuous goals of efficiently serving its members.
As one of the largest credit unions in the U.S., SchoolsFirst FCU had successfully deployed 100 recyclers across their branch network over the years. Like many large financial institutions, they faced some challenges in integrating their machines with their core systems.
One challenge this created was requiring tellers to switch between two platforms to process a cash transaction through recyclers/dispensers. And because each type of machine had a different interface, the result was more confusion and more work for tellers.
Additionally, disconnections and downtime with the machine network also left the branch team helpless to access cash until the machine could be fixed by IT. Of course, this also resulted in numerous support calls and troubleshooting time. Most importantly, SchoolsFirst FCU wasn’t able to invest in the newer recyclers on the market because the current integration didn’t support them.
SchoolsFirst FCU wanted to upgrade its existing fleet to newer recyclers that better fit their needs. But to do so, they first needed to find a more fluid integration between their devices and core platform, Symitar. They started searching for a solution.
SchoolsFirst FCU landed on CFM, which seemed to have what they were looking for—agnostic integrations to their core (CFM S4), reliable network connectivity and redundancy (NORM) and useful analytics (iQ).
In 2015, the SchoolsFirst FCU team started testing S4, NORM and iQ in a handful of branches. By 2016, they began their full roll out to all 45 branches.
With more than 100 machines and multiple teams that needed to be coordinated, the transition seemed daunting. However, the CFM team’s responsiveness and thorough documentation helped ease their transition, and the full conversion process was finished in just four months.
As SchoolsFirst FCU switched each branch to the new system, they found an unexpected benefit: The need for intensive team training became almost completely unnecessary due to the intuitiveness of the CFM integration with the core system.
The immediate ease of using CFM S4 was quickly an advantage. No matter which branch or machine a team member is at, they’re able to recognize what to do because the interface is now consistent everywhere.
SchoolsFirst FCU tellers also began saving a significant amount of time each week—spending just 15 minutes closing out for the day with the new system by CFM, when it used to take them an hour or more.
Their branches are also experiencing less downtime from network and machine issues.
But NORM has solved these issues with building network viewable machines. Now if the network has an issue, NORM stores transaction data until the network is restored, allowing the branch to operate as usual.
Before integrating with CFM, fixing issues with cash machines usually required outside assistance and significant time. But now, branch staff is able to use the built-in error handling to solve most issues themselves—sometimes in just a few minutes.
SchoolsFirst FCU also has greater visibility to what their cash machines are doing now, thanks to iQ. The software allows the Credit Union to refine their cash orders and detect unhealthy devices earlier, which both translate to greater business efficiencies and better member experiences.
Going forward, SchoolsFirst FCU is well equipped for a bright future.
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