Observations and Lessons From a Core Conversion

By Luke Hoezee

As the dust begins to settle on a recent core conversion with Credit Union of Ohio, we look back on the events and planning that happened months prior leading to the big day. It amazes me how much time and effort is put into a core conversion. Bankjoy is just a small part of the process, which begins between 3-6 months before the "Go-Live" date. There are several other 3rd party vendors involved, such as bill pay, check images, remote deposit, statements, and others which all play a role in the conversion. In some cases, a financial institution may retain their vendors which sometimes makes the process easier. In other cases they may choose new vendors and this involves a more comprehensive technical integration discussion with the core provider, the vendor, and Bankjoy.

Credit Union of Ohio converted to Corelation as their core provider on December 3, 2018. I will not go into detail with the process that Corelation does to prepare, but I will say, their process starts much earlier than Bankjoy. The team at Corelation is made up of people that work professionally and work hard to satisfy the needs of their customers. They have their process down to a science which helps all parties involved.

What Bankjoy Does To Prepare

Bankjoy starts all projects off with an official kickoff meeting. The purpose of the kickoff is to talk high-level about the needs and goals of the credit union and introduce them to our Five Steps To Joy — our project management process. We also identify any potential roadblocks. Because of our deep API integration with Corelation, 95% of the time, there are not any roadblocks. However, the sooner they are identified the better.

Our project manager, Weiwei Duncan does a great job working with the credit union to set the proper expectations. Honestly, there's a lot that happens through the course of the project that I, being a software engineer, can’t speak to in detail. All I know is, she communicates and provides the details to the development team to make it happen.

The first couple of weeks is spent with the networking engineers to get VPN tunnels setup. This allows our software engineers to begin testing connectivity to the core. If all goes well, we can deliver branded online and mobile banking to the credit union in less than a month, connected to core and most 3rd party systems.

Onsite Support

Bankjoy feels it's crucial to have a couple engineers on site during a conversion. This not only helps us identify issues as they come in, it also provides an extra layer of confidence to member service staff. We are there as their support, to help them through situations quickly and answer questions.

Bankjoy takes pride in offering an outstanding user experience, but we are not perfect. We learn as we go and make adjustments based on member feedback and our customers. Being on site gives us an opportunity to hear about member experiences — good and bad — in real time.

If your mobile or online banking provider is not there for support in the call center during a conversion, only a few things that would explain this: 1) Their product is perfect (hmm, I doubt that). 2) Their team is stretched too thin and can not make it out. 3) They are too big to care.

Train Your Call Center To Know The Product

We make sure to specifically point out to the credit union to make sure their Call Center staff are fully trained on the product. They are on the front lines of communication with the members and they should know the product well.

My first question to the call center staff at the credit union was: "Have you seen the new Online Banking and Mobile Banking yet" I was happy to hear their response was "yes.” So we were off to a great start. I can tell you, it makes a tremendous difference with the communication between the call center and the members.

Since Conversion Day...

After conversion, we setup a weekly status call to go over our "Post Conversion List" with the credit union. This allows us to stay on track to resolve any outstanding issues. It also allows the credit union to mention their "wish list" items. We love hearing these. It's what makes Bankjoy different than our competitors. We strive to provide custom solutions to fit the need of our customers.

Closing Comments

I can speak for Bankjoy when saying what started out as a business relationship has turned into great friendships with both Corelation and Credit Union of Ohio. We want to express a great thanks to everyone involved that made this the smoothest conversion to date for Bankjoy.

Looking forward to working with Corelation again…