A solution to better help credit unions focus on how data impacts both business and member service was the winner of this year’s Analytics Best Practices Competition from OnApproach.

The Decision Summary Dashboard from Partners FCU highlights the “decisioning phase of the loan application lifecycle” and “the conversion rate into funded loans,” explained John Janclaes, CEO of Partners FCU.

“With data, we want two streams of insight,” he said. “One is on the members and the other is how to run our business better.”

John Janclaes, CEO of Burbank, Calif.-based Partners FCU, which serves Disney "cast members"
John Janclaes, CEO of Burbank, Calif.-based Partners FCU, which serves Disney "cast members"

The CU’s data analytics program has been underway in earnest for the last four years, with many steps taken before the dashboard was operational. This process included the “homogenization and alignment” of three different lending application systems, noted Janclaes.

Paul Ablack, founder and CEO of the Plymouth, Minn.-based OnApproach, explained that the winning concept represents “foundational data efforts, cultural adoption of analytics, and an understanding of data’s importance in leadership.”

Partners FCU’s presentation stood out, he said, because they explained the journey from “not doing anything” to getting the entire credit union on board.

“I think a lot of other credit unions can relate to that because that is one of the biggest challenges with analytics — focus and results,” he said.

At this year’s Analytics and Financial Innovation conference (better known as AXFI), where the competition took place, the $1.7 billion Partners FCU, which supports 140,000 members and 11 branches, was represented by Ben Fox, who at the time served as assistant vice president of business intelligence.

“I believe this effort demonstrates to other credit unions that a commitment to a data-driven culture can and will allow other organizations to benefit from data-rich insights,” said Fox. “Additionally, the emphasis on cultural and behavioral shifts with regards to data programs will set the stage for any technology to be a successful one.”

Conference calls
One of the reasons Ablack founded the AXFI conference and competition three years ago was to see “what the future of the industry” may look like down the road, he said.

“We want to see how big of a role analytics is playing, or can play, in the industry,” he said. “We want to see how data can be turned into actionable information on a mobile device, for example.”

Along with Partners FCU, the Tucson, Ariz.-based OneAZ Credit Union and the Shelton, Wash.-based Our Community Credit Union were competition finalists. The former developed “Analytic Data Utility,” a cloud-based solution with a self-service data capability that business analysts can use for data requirements and integrations. Like Partners FCU, Our Community CU also developed a dashboard that determines how many branch transactions were shared branching transactions.

“Both OneAZ CU and Our Community CU gave great presentations on how to better leverage data,” said Ablack. “There were some really cool concepts concerning data and how it can change branch operations.”

Partners FCU’s dashboard and data analytics initiatives have been beneficial in a number of areas, including pilot programs, such as an account opening program and a consumer loans program, explained Janclaes.

“One of our business objectives was to improve our auto positions in consumer loans, which was at about 35 percent,” said Janclaes. “It’s currently running around 60 percent. More members want to apply for a loan on their mobile device and get an immediate answer, and now they can, which is a big shift for us.”

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