Melody and Harmony in Core Processing

two hands on piano
By Jim Giacobbe

2 minutes

To better serve members, credit unions need to listen to and adjust the music their systems make.

Sponsored by United Solutions Company, a CUES Supplier member

If you are a musician or musically inclined, you may understand this comparison more than others: Core processing is the melody, while third-party products provide the harmony. The melody is the tune that is sung or played by the main instrument in a song; the harmony is the background tune created by other instruments.

Having hosted and run core systems most of my adult life, I don’t think of the core system as a commodity. To me, the core system is the melody, and just like every song is different, so are the different core data processing systems and the credit unions that use them. Credit unions have tailored their operations around their core systems, some of them for decades, and out comes a symphony of efficiency and understanding. I don’t think there is a bad core system and I don’t like when others tell credit unions they need to leave a system they know and understand well.

Core systems create a familiar melody. Credit union staffers can change the tables and parameters, run their own queries, and set up their own products and services. Having a system they know and understand is worth more to many of them than the next big thing everyone is saying is needed. There is much to be said about knowing a system inside and out and getting the most out of every keystroke.

The third-party products are the harmonies that run in and behind the melodies creating a fuller, more appealing sound. Credit unions add new harmonies to the melody, such as home and mobile banking that transform the sound. Mobile-based loan and account origination systems, a refreshed website, a tweak here and a tweak there. When credit unions have added harmonies to the song that didn’t work out so well, we acted quickly and made changes. We chose to replace them with new sounds that attracted new members for them and satisfied their existing listeners. I listen to the sounds my credit union clients make and see how others react to the changes in chords. When members are dancing to the beat, that feels good. When they are moving away or have stopped listening, it is time to add new harmonies that will get toes tapping and heads swaying once again.

Aretha Franklin said, “Be your own artist, and always be confident in what you’re doing.” We are adding new harmonies to freshen up credit unions and create new sounds. The core system is fine, and when the melody stops being easy to play, or the drum heads need replacing, we help find a system more suited to the new sound. Today, credit unions just need to pay attention and listen to the sounds their products and services are making and adjust these harmonies to work in unison to serve their members.

Jim Giacobbe is president/CEO of United Solutions Company, a CUES Supplier member.

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