How an Open Core Brings Power to the People
Institution: Clarity Credit Union
Location: Meridian, Ida.
Assets: $80 million
The biggest problem with standard reports from a core processing platform is that they quickly become outdated. The lower the frequency, the more outdated the report. At Clarity Credit Union, this is no longer a problem due to CFO Nick Fugal’s access to the open architecture of our Prodigy Core. Through the open architecture and relational SQL database, he leverages widely available tools like Microsoft Excel to obtain real-time data for reporting and analysis.
“That’s one of the major benefits of Prodigy,” Fugal told me. “Being able to access live data has opened many doors for us.”
The simplest example, according to Fugal, is the credit union’s branch goals reports. “Our branch managers can click ‘refresh’ at any moment and see exactly where they stand,” he said. Another branch executive report gives the managers instant access to demographics and other important data.
Fugal added that access to live data also gave the credit union the information it needed to get out of indirect lending – and then get back in. “By building some custom reports, we were able to identify a growing problem with zero-credit loans,” said Fugal. That led the credit union to abandon its indirect lending program. However, now with the ability to more closely monitor activity and, for example, “turn off” a dealer with too many charge-offs, the credit union has decided to reenter the indirect lending space with eyes wide open.
“I get my financials done in less than a day thanks to SQL access to the data,” said Fugal. At one point, month-end financials took up to a week to compile. Fugal managed to trim that down, but even so, he said that ready access to data saves him at least two days per month.
“At our size, we can’t afford to hire a SQL programmer, but that hasn’t held us back,” added Fugal. “First, Prodigy has always been very good about sharing the SQL code for the reports they create. We just plug that code into Excel and we’re ready to go. We can then customize each report as needed.”
He noted that Prodigy credit unions make up a very close-knit community. When he needs a custom report that Prodigy has never created, there’s a good chance that some other Prodigy credit union has. “Just recently I needed a new report, so I emailed a peer in Utah,” said Fugal. “He had exactly what I was looking for. A few minutes later, I was up and running with precisely the report I needed.”
Bottom line: Open architecture and contemporary design in core processing save time and money.