GLASTONBURY, Conn. -An open core system that allows credit unions to easily add and share new functionality is not only key to individual CU growth this year, but to the entire credit union community as well, asserts Open Solutions.

"Obviously there is so much new functionality coming into the market now and much of it from non-FIs," said Lizette Nigro, VP-core business leader. "So credit unions have a lot to compete with and they do not have the deep pockets of the big banks. To compete they have to increase the speed of getting new functionality to market," said Nigro, who suggested collaboration as a solution.

Nigro stressed the importance of CUs partnering to drive down costs, but emphasized that many credit unions need to first make investments in core solutions that not only allow functionality to be easily created and integrated throughout the credit union's own platforms, but within the CU community. "Unfortunately within the entire banking community, banks and credit unions, there still is a lot of old technology, sometimes core solutions 30 and 40 years old."

Nigro reminded that with open core technology the credit union can create new functionality more quickly and less expensively by avoiding hassling with solutions that have to layer on top of current systems, designing applications that easily work across multiple platforms. Those solutions can then be shared and marketed, such as in Open Solutions DNAappstore, to get new applications to CUs faster and cheaper, she said. "The credit union can make its development investment back and generate some ROI."

Open Solutions was recently acquired by Fiserv (CU Journal, Jan. 21).

The cost of converting to a new core system, acknowledged Nigro, comes with an initial significant investment of time and money. However, those costs are recovered soon enough by not having expenses associated with developing solutions, typically from outside vendors, to layer on top of closed architecture.

"An organization is short-sighted if they don't know their core system is a gating item over and over, and that they are spending more money in the long run than converting to an open system."

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