SACRAMENTO, Calif.-When Schools Financial Credit Union learned that its outsourced provider, WesCorp, was folding, a tough decision loomed that ultimately has now led to the development of an in-house item processing platform.
"We knew there were problems with Wes-Corp and what became Western Bridge, and there was the likelihood that they weren't going to survive," said Roy Worley, vice president of marketing at Schools Financial. "So we started pulling together data on different processors that were available, because we were at the point that we farmed out just about everything to WesCorp."
With 110,000 members, 262 employees, 11 branches and $1.3 billion in assets, making the leap to an in-house solution after previously outsourcing was a considerable task for the credit union. To that end, the Schools FCU team sought to develop a robust RFP and began engaging different vendors as well as corporate credit unions and banks.
"It was a very large RFP that we crafted because we had so many pieces to consider such as branch capture, item processing, imaging, transmission to Fed and back, payment and deposit processes; so we needed a solution that handled the total conversion," said Worley. "It took roughly four months from starting the search process to signing with Bluepoint and rolling out." He added that certain "minor tasks" were completed in subsequent months.
Selecting the Vista, Calif.-based Bluepoint Solutions was not a stretch as the credit union had used the provider through its relationship with WesCorp. The main difference was bringing the entire item processing operation in-house, which included implementing Bluepoint's ImagePoint Hub, Foundation and Archive, as well as adding ImagePoint Mailroom, QwikDeposit ToGo and QwikDeposit Home.
Building A Foundation
Bluepoint's Chief Marketing Officer, Andrew Tilbury, explained the hardware investment was nominal compared to the enormity of the project.
"There are server requirements, but it really depends on the solution," said Tilbury.
Worley added that server needs were required for capturing and retaining images that was handled by WesCorp. "We also needed a server to handle the foundation and we invested in new check scanners for all the branches. It wasn't a big hardware commitment," he said.
Schools Financial Network Engineer Chris Cooper provided a detailed technical breakdown of the three required servers. The first is a BPAPP Server that supports VMWare ESXi 5 Guest, Windows 2008 R2 Standard Server, four CPU Cores @ 2.6Ghz., 12GB Ram IP Hub/IP Foundation/IP Archive, SQL 2008 R2 Standard, System Storage 50GB, SQL Storage 100GB, SQL Backup Storage 250GB, Archive Storage 600GB and 1Gb Network Adapter.
Cooper noted that the second was a BPWEB Server that supports VMWare ESXi 5 Guest, Windows 2008 R2 Standard Server, 2 CPU Cores @ 2.6Ghz., 2GB Ram IP Web Relay/IP Mobile Capture, System Storage 50GB and 1Gb Network Adapter. Finally, the Branch Capture Station supports Windows 7 Business 64-bit Intel I5 @ 3.5Ghz., 4GB Ram, IP Capture, System Storage 100GB, 100Mb Network Adapter and Canon CR180II Check Scanner.
The implementation process required an IT project manager as well as "pulling in" additional IT specialist to assist in the conversion.
Meeting Mondays & Wednesdays
"We needed a dedicated IT resource area and then we had the operations unit that handled most of the processing which allowed us to understand the scope of the work," said Worley adding that it was a company-wide effort integrating many departments including accounting. "We had a general meeting with Bluepoint every Monday and a technical meeting ever Wednesday to address tactical issues."
Realized benefits include increased control over release time of items, access to an in-house check image archive for expedited member service and increased flexibility to clear items through multiple endpoints, noted Tilbury. He added that within a few days employees were successfully creating cashletters in-house for direct processing with Federal Reserve Financial Services.
Since rollout, Schools FCU considers the conversion a success, although Worley concedes there have been a few bumps along the way. "With any major implementation, you are going to have ongoing issues. Even after were up and running, we continued to have weekly meetings to resolve different technical issues," he said.
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