The Basics of a Core Conversion

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4 minutes

Once you’ve chosen a new core, the ‘real’ work begins.

Sponsored by United Solutions Company

After months of demos, asking questions and reviewing different systems, your credit union has finally decided on a new core! Congratulations! Now the “real” work begins.

A. Manage the Data

If your credit union hasn’t already started the clean-up of the current system data, it’s time to dive in! Purge old members from the database, review credit union notes, forms, letters and reports. Don’t convert old data unless necessary. The conversion is an opportunity for a fresh start!

B. Talk Up the Advantages of the New System

The credit union selection team that chose the new system should be involved in presenting the new opportunity to the credit union employees. Why did they choose this new system? What advantages are there to the new core and how will the new system make our credit union better? It’s up to the leaders of the credit union and the conversion team to build the enthusiasm through communications and attitudes.

C. Find the Fun

Developing a theme for your conversion can set a positive tone for the project. Events like contests pertaining to milestones or achievements reached have helped others embrace the systems training and education. You can get your whole staff involved by having all the tellers wear hard hats with signs that say, “We’re under construction.” It’s important to get everyone involved and create an environment conducive to learning.

D. Encourage Learning

In the early stages of the conversion, the new core processor will send out project plans and other documentation. Make sure you distribute the information quickly and provide expectations for reading the material by a certain date. This is where many delays start. If a deadline is missed, this begins a domino effect on other aspects of the conversion. Product managers can keep track of dates and tasks, but you need to hold your employees accountable.

E. Look for Efficiencies After the Core Conversion

Whether you know it or not, your credit union has built its operation around the capabilities of the existing core system. During the conversion, your credit union will need to verify and ensure all the policies and procedures are up to date. Concentrate on efficiencies provided by the new system. Your credit union should set up as many system efficiencies as possible and ensure that your staff is trained properly. Make sure you have written procedures for everything.

F. Do Testing and Training

Once the data from your current core has been loaded into the new core database, training and testing can begin. Create subject matter experts in each department that will be able to support the credit union post-conversion. Require your SMEs to verify the data has transferred correctly, postings are working properly, and their departments understand how to use the new system efficiently. This will help ensure errors are corrected before the conversion so the database looks great. The new core relies heavily upon the SME members of the team for validation and support.

Classroom instruction is the fun part of the conversion. Try to keep your team from falling into the old habits. When you hear, “that’s not how we do it” during training, chances are someone is having a hard time with the change. It’s important to provide a safe space and time for each employee to practice entering a few transactions into the new system each day. Having your staff take their work from the previous day and enter it into the new system is a best practice. A reward or recognition upon completion goes a long way.

By being prepared and working hard with your new core provider, you can have a very successful conversion.

Tami Webb is VP/sales for United Solutions Company, which offers two fully hosted, open-API database core processing systems. Webb joined the United Solutions Company team from Fiserv, where she served as a senior sales executive. She has 20-plus years of experience in the financial services industry as director of sales operations and several other executive positions in management, core solutions, compliance, point-of-sale products and leadership consulting. Webb brings a wealth of knowledge in working with banks, credit unions and other lending institutions. Some of her experiences include CUNA Mutual Group, Southwest Business Corporation and FDIC. She has two sons, both married, and one grandson.

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