Wauna Credit Union Improves Efficiency and Uptime with WRG’s UNITRI Managed Services

“When you’re a credit union or any company that offers products and services to the public, your reputation is everything.”

–John Moore, Chief Experience Officer

BACKGROUND

Wauna Federal Credit Union was chartered in 1967 by a group of seven employees of the Crown Zellerbach Paper Company (now known as Georgia Pacific Paper Company), located in Wauna, Oregon. Today, Wauna serves a community field of membership that stretches across three rural Oregon counties and one in neighboring Washington State. The $370 million asset Credit Union boasts 8 physical branches as well as a virtual branch served by video teller units (VTUs), and employs a staff of 116. Wauna offers a full complement of financial services including personal deposit accounts, loans and mortgages, as well as business and commercial services.

Wauna went live with Wescom Resources Group’s (WRG’s) UNITRI Managed Services in September 2020.

CHALLENGES

Prior to going live with UNITRI, Wauna Credit Union faced several daunting operational challenges:

  • Frequent Power and Connectivity Outages: As a small, rural credit union based in the Pacific Northwest, Wauna is subjected to periodic weather-induced power outages affecting all or parts of its operations. Lasting for days – or even weeks – these business interruptions often impacted Wauna’s members’ ability to access their accounts through online and mobile banking. Wauna needed a secure, compliant solution for its business continuity, systems backup and redundancy needs.
  • Time-consuming, Siloed Processes: Wauna was shackled to time-consuming, manual processes throughout the organization, from senior leadership, to accounting, finance, IT and lending operations, making it challenging to communicate and collaborate across functions and departments.
  • Undue Burden on In-House IT: Prior to its core conversion, internal IT spent a lot of time handling core system maintenance and patching and fixing problems. A lack of responsiveness from Wauna’s prior core vendor added to the risk and stress on Wauna’s staff.
  • Integrating Third-party Solutions: Wauna is continuously growing and adding new digital capabilities to support its membership’s self-service needs and demands. To meet the demands of these new solutions, the Credit Union sought the ability to quickly and efficiently onboard third-party integrations, with assurance these connections were reliable and available 24/7.
THE SOLUTION

To address these pain points, Wauna chose to implement WRG’s UNITRI Managed Services in conjunction with its conversion to the Corelation KeyStone core system.  Wauna recognized that an effective core hosting partnership is about a lot more than system infrastructure. It’s about superior products, innovative processes, and – most importantly – skilled people, with the expertise and experience to do the job seamlessly.

“From October 2013 until our conversion to KeyStone in September 2020, we didn’t get through a single month-end processing without it failing,” says Danea Passmore, SVP, Core Solutions Architect at Wauna. “We had people working through the night to get processes to run correctly.”

THE RESULTS
  • Save Time and Resources: With UNITRI Managed Services, multiple departments and functions throughout Wauna, from accounting and marketing to lending administration and senior leadership, have gained time back in their day that was previously spent running and uploading reports.

“I used to spend the first two days of the month uploading report after report to our analytics software,” Moore says. “Now, Danea has created batch processes with UNITRI, and it automatically happens. This has given me literally two days a month back to focus on our membership, rather than paper reports.”

  • More Reliability and Less Downtime: Between December 2021 and March 2022, Wauna’s headquarters experienced eight separate power outages. With UNITRI, this no longer means severe impacts to member service.

“Because WRG has established integration partnerships with our third-party vendors, everything still runs even if our credit union is down due to a power outage, which happens a lot,” Passmore says. “Our members can still use their online banking, their mobile app and their cards. Our services are still working — because WRG is working.”

  • Support Remote Work: At the peak of the pandemic, Wauna allowed much of its staff to work remotely, and even today many staff work a hybrid remote schedule. UNITRI Managed Services has helped Wauna employ a flexible approach to meet the needs of its workforce, seamlessly and efficiently.

“I don’t know that we could have had 60% of the workforce working remote to protect them during COVID if it weren’t for WRG,” Moore says. “This is the type of solution that allows for a remote and hybrid work model.”

  • Empower Staff to Focus on Other Initiatives: With UNITRI Managed Services, Wauna’s team of four Core Solutions Architects (CSAs) no longer worries about managing the core. They can focus on other initiatives, ranging from implementing new branch technology like VTUs to longer-term, strategic projects.

“When we recognized the time savings we had after implementing UNITRI, we realized we could give that time back to our people to focus on why we’re a credit union versus on all of these manual processes,” Moore says. “It gives us more opportunity to look at other efficiencies, and to continue to enhance the credit union.”

  • Better Regulatory Exams: Wauna has enjoyed smoother, more efficient safety and soundness examinations since outsourcing its core hosting to UNITRI. From gaining immediate, real-time access to data reporting, to improved business continuity planning and systems redundancy, Wauna’s examiners have been all smiles.

““Over the past couple of examinations, we’ve been able to provide updated business continuity documentation from WRG the same day as requested, along with proof that all required annual testing has been completed,” Moore says. “That makes our examiners happy and it makes our leadership team happy. It makes the credit union feel good.”

  • Seamless Third-Party Integrations: With multiple loan origination systems for consumer and mortgage, as well as data analytics software, Moore and his senior leadership colleagues used to spend hours each month extracting and analyzing loan data from the core. Now, with WRG’s pre-built integrations to most leading credit union solutions providers, it’s done at the push of a button

“We’ve been able to take all of these manual processes and turn them into a click of a button, and then WRG takes the extracts and uploads them into our data analytics software,” Moore says. “WRG already had a built-in integration, which enables them to extract the data I need and provide me with a report on my schedule – whether I need it once a month, or once a week. It’s just been incredible.”


Case Study: Wauna Credit Union Improves Efficiency and Uptime with WRG’s UNITRI Managed Services | PDF Document

United Educators Credit Union Saves Time and Expense with WRG’s UNITRI Service Bureau

 

“WRG has allowed our staff to focus on growing the Credit Union instead of allocating our resources to the labor-intensive maintenance of core administration.”

–Dennis Griesgraber, Chief Technology Officer

 
BACKGROUND

With over $200 million in assets and nearly 17,000 members, United Educators Credit Union (UECU) offers a full line of financial services, and currently operates branch locations in Apple Valley, Coon Rapids, and Mennetonka, Minnesota.  Although the Credit Union has undergone many changes over the years, the strength, dedication and commitment it brings to the education community has remained consistent since 1957.

UECU went live with Wescom Resources Group’s (WRG’s) UNITRI Core Hosting Service in concert with its conversion to the Corelation KeyStone core solution in March 2020.

 
CHALLENGES
  • Maintaining Continuity and Data Security: UECU south a mature service bureau solution with a strong track record of security, compliance, reliability, performance, flexibility and knowledge of the KeyStone core.
  • Disaster Recovery, Backup and Redundancy: UECU needed a cost-effective solution for maintaining geographic diversity of its backup servers for business continuity.
  • IT Resource Allocation: Prior to WRG, many of the UECU’s recurring IT and back office processes were automated, and management of that automation consumed significant internal IT resources.
  • Integrating Third-Party Solutions: The Credit Union needed to improve its ability to quickly onboard third-party integrations in support of its operations and member self-service capabilities, with assurance these connections were reliable and fully available.
 
THE SOLUTION

To address these challenges, UECU first evaluated the costs of deploying and co-locating its own core servers, but the replication, vendor end-point management and IT resources required were well beyond its preferable resource ranges. As an alternative, the Credit Union considered various hosting and service bureau options. In the end, UECU selected WRG as the best and most cost-effective solution to meet its goals.

UECU implemented WRG’s Unitri Core Hosting Service over the course of 12 months, in parallel with its conversion to the KeyStone core platform. According to Dennis Griesgraber, Chief Technology Officer at UECU, all expectations were met or exceeded.

“WRG exhibited a strong and dedicated project implementation team,” Griesgraber says. “All the security, continuity and IT resource benefits are baked into the offering. Not only did WRG successfully migrate our existing automation, but it enabled us to onboard new automation such as share draft and ACH posting, as well.”

 
THE RESULTS
  • Time Savings: Switching to Unitri Service Bureau has enabled UECU to automate a wide range of maintenance activities and manual processes, preserving significant staff time and resources. Since implementing Unitri Core Hosting, UECU has successfully slashed its ACH processing time by a third, and share draft processing in half.

“Between the server refresh and replacement, OS patching and administration, KeyStone upgrades, core automation, and vendor end-point management, WRG has saved the credit union the equivalent of one full time IT Core Administrator position,” says Griesgraber. “On top of that, we are afforded a high-performing, data replicated core with negligible staff time devoted to its ongoing operation, all for a fixed monthly cost.”

  • Greater Flexibility: UECU has successfully outsourced the automation and management of most of its standardized processes to WRG, unshackling IT and operational staff from being on call 24/7/365 to run reports and manage system outages.

“The ACH and share draft posting automation affords our back-office staff much more flexibility on banking holidays and early closures,” says Griesgraber.

In addition, UECU now has access to WRG’s deep bench of established vendor integration partners, allowing the Credit Union to easily expand its service offerings without the headaches associated with integrating vendors to the core system and dealing with middle-of-the-night calls to repair faulty vendor connections.

  • Reduced Errors: By automating numerous manual processes, the opportunity for human error has been reduced substantially.

“I would say the biggest efficiency with WRG is the automation of the ACH and share draft posting,” says Nicole Kauth, Payment Processing Manager at UECU. “It saves us a ton of time and also reduces the chance of errors since we are not manually posting any longer.

“The returns process is also very streamlined, and the fact that WRG will also email us to verify totals if what we have emailed them doesn’t match Keystone gives us peace of mind.”

  • Lower Costs: WRG’s Managed Services solution allows credit unions to fully outsource their core processing management, maintenance and support, at a fixed monthly cost that is often more economical than hosting in-house.

“Our goal was a fully replicated core with managed vendor end-points hosted in a secure datacenter that consumed a small portion of our total IT resources,” says Griesgraber. “WRG allowed us to achieve these goals at a small fraction of the cost had we deployed this ourselves on-premise.”

  • Business Growth: By partnering with WRG, UECU’s staff can now focus on introducing new products and growing the Credit Union, instead of allocating resources to labor-intensive core administration and maintenance activities.

Case Study: United Educators Credit Union Saves Time and Expense with UNITRI Core Hosting | PDF Document

 

Park View Federal Credit Union Improves Efficiency with UNITRI Core Hosting

“Our expectations for implementation were exceeded. WRG’s experts knew what they were doing and walked us through the process. One of Park View’s core values is to make it easy for our members, and WRG makes it easy. How we want to work with our members, WRG does that for us.”

–Pam Martin, Director of IT

BACKGROUND

Park View Federal Credit Union is based in Harrisonburg, VA and serves nearly 11,000 members through five branch locations. Founded in 1969 to serve the local Mennonite community, Park View’s field of membership now includes all Christian churches in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, along with numerous select employee groups, colleges, and schools.

Park View went live with Wescom Resources Group’s UNITRI Core Hosting in July 2017.

CHALLENGES
  • A Diverse, Young Membership: Boasting a median member age well below industry average, Park View sought to expand its digital offerings to better serve its millennial and Gen Y members.
  • Stringent Disaster Recovery Requirements: Park View was challenged to cost-effectively meet the NCUA’s requirement to maintain geographically-dispersed backup servers for business continuity. The Credit Union also needed an efficient process for conducting regular DR testing.
  • Costly Operational Inefficiencies: To achieve its strategic goals, Park View needed to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and redeploy some back-office staff.
  • Maximize Productivity: The Credit Union’s operational staff wasted significant time on tedious, rote processing tasks. Park View wanted to unleash its talented team on strategic, member-focused initiatives and problem-solving.
THE SOLUTION

When Park View decided to convert its core system to Corelation Keystone in 2017, it had a choice: the Credit Union could maintain its hardware in-house, or transition to an outsourced Core Hosting model.

“We looked at the costs of purchasing new in-house servers and installing redundant servers elsewhere as our backup solution,” says Pam Martin, Director of IT. “We quickly realized that Core Hosting was the way to go.”

Several key factors led to Park View’s decision to select the UNITRI solution, including WRG’s fundamental redundancy built into its main office in California coupled with a backup site in Arizona, its well-developed DR testing process, and a well-earned reputation for outstanding client service.

“Once we sat down and considered the positives and negatives,” Martin adds, “WRG was the obvious choice.”

THE RESULTS
  • Time Savings: Switching to UNITRI Core Hosting has enabled Park View to eliminate many manual daily tasks, such as downloading ACH and share draft files from the Fed and importing them into the core.

‘In addition to a significant cost savings, we’re saving at least one hour a day that would have been spent on manually transferring files,” says Tanya Holland, Director of Operations. “It allows our team to focus on the more complex tasks and problems.”

  • Automated Reporting: WRG has enabled Park View to automate over a dozen daily reports it imports into the core system, including critical third-party vendor reporting.

“We have entirely automated our end-of-month member statement processing,” Holland says. “Anything related to file transfers no longer takes employee time, and we have moved to a fully-automated process.”

  • Improved System Uptime: Since moving its backup servers to UNITRI, Park View has experienced minimal downtime.

“WRG has been very reliable,” Martin says. “Our uptime has been great, and we are very happy with that.”

  • Improved Disaster Preparedness: UNITRI Core Hosting clients host their core and ancillary systems in WRG’s data center. Each year, WRG assists each client in performing a multi-vendor, multi-point system failover simulation. Credit unions like Park View can rest easy knowing they can execute their BCP plan smoothly under the most trying circumstances.

“We’ve done three disaster recovery tests with WRG, and they’ve all been very easy and very successful,” Martin says. “Previously, even figuring out what to do and how to do it was so time consuming. WRG has integrations with our critical vendors, and they handle the connectivity aspect seamlessly.”

  • Re-energized Staff: Park View has reduced its full-time equivalent back office and operations staff from seven to four, largely due to the UNITRI implementation.

“It’s been huge for our operations department,” Holland says. “The combination of the new core and WRG allowed us to transition certain positions to completely new jobs at the Credit Union.”

  • Introduce New Products: Through WRG’s deep third-party integrations, Park View can offer new services, like Fiserv WireXchange and online account opening, to its young, tech-savvy membership.

“We used to spend a lot of time managing and updating our hardware, servers, and network, and keeping it stable,” Holland says. “With WRG, we are now using that time and energy to focus on expanding our offerings and moving the Credit Union forward.”

  • A True Partnership: One unexpected benefit of moving to the Core Hosting model has been WRG’s role as a trusted partner.

“You don’t feel like a client; you really feel like a partner with WRG,” Holland says. “They’ve recently added some development services, and it’s exciting to know that they’re continuing to look at ways they can serve their base.”


Case Study: Park View Federal Credit Union Improves Efficiency with UNITRI Core Hosting | PDF Document

Lone Star CU Transforms Its Operation with Keystone Processing, Powered by WRG Core Hosting

“It was amazing. Of five other Core Hosting systems I’ve worked with in my career, working with WRG is not like any that I’ve experienced before. They take care of all the hardware updates, maintenance, upkeep, replication, and disaster recovery. Yet, I have the flexibility to do what I need to do with the core just like it was in-house!”

– Becky Reed, COO/CIO

BACKGROUND

Lone Star Credit Union, based in Dallas, TX, has $119 million in assets, serving over 11,000 members. Founded in 1967, the credit union has three branches and approximately 40 employees. Lone Star CU was searching for a new core system and the best solution to meet the digital demands of their members.

CHALLENGES
  • Member Service: Front line and back office staff were unable to view the entire member relationship within one screen, impacting member service and efficiency.
  • Staff Demands: Lone Star CU’s IT department was overwhelmed dealing with keeping its technology infrastructure up-to-date with regular maintenance, hardware upkeep, and disaster recovery requirements.
  • Service Growth: Lone Star needed the right platform to offer new services such as mobile banking, relationship pricing, and remote deposit capture to compete more in the Dallas market.
  • System Integration: The prior core system did not adequately support third-party integrations, and had poor client service.
THE SOLUTION

After an exhaustive search, Lone Star selected Corelation’s Keystone, powered by WRG’s Core Hosting.

THE RESULTS

Find out how WRG’s Core Hosting helped Lone Star CU improve its operations, increase membership, create more opportunities for strategic planning, and more! Download the complete case study today!

Case Study: Lone Star Credit Union Transforms Its Operation With Keystone Processing, Powered By WRG Core Hosting | PDF Document


About Wescom Resources Group

Backed by Wescom Credit Union, one of the nation’s largest credit unions, with nearly $3.7 billion in assets and serving 189,000 members, Wescom Resources Group provides credit unions with advanced technology solutions that increase their competitive edge. With over 130 clients, WRG is a leader in innovative technologies for the credit union industry. Through its Symmetry eBanking suite, WRG offers an integrated digital channel solution that includes Online and Mobile Banking, Bill Pay, eAlerts, Multi-Factor Authentication, Member-Directed ACH, online account opening and more. WRG also offers one of the most robust Core Hosting solutions in the credit union industry. WRG’s Tellergy® solution provides branch automation for today’s modern credit union. For more information, visit wescomresources.com.