Last of Fincentric’s legacy users makes conversion

A Vancouver Island credit union has gone live with a new banking system on schedule and garnered recognition from a national IT association.

Duncan, B.C.-based Island Savings Credit Union has implemented Fincentric’s I-Wealthview Banking, a software system that includes core banking capabilities, integrated delivery channels and real-time, online transaction processing.

Island Savings was one of three credit unions named as part of Richmond, B.C.-based Fincentric’s Canadian Credit Union Conversion Project, which has been recognized as IT Project of the Year by the Canadian Information Processing Society.

Island Savings is one of the 10 largest credit unions on Vancouver Island, serving more than 30,00 members and managing assets of more than $550 million.

According to Darrell Jaggers, Island Saving’s MIS director, the credit union has been using Fincentric’s banking system for 13 years. “We were the last users of their legacy system.”

Jaggers says over the years the credit union was able to keep its back-end platform up to date, moving from a DOS-based systems with a proprietary DBMS to Microsoft’s NT 4 using SQL, but that the front-end systems had remained somewhat out of date.

“We were able to bolt on new functionality, but it was still a DOS front end,” he says. “We were starting to get hamstrung just by virtue of the DOS interface.”

In preparation for its Fincentric upgrade, it also migrated to Windows 2000 on the back-end and on the desktop.

While Island Savings did consider other vendors when looking for a new banking system, Jaggers says Fincentric fit best with its core values. “We’re an in-house shop. We have our own IT infrastructure here and lot of the other Canadian banking system providers are service bureau, whether that be Datawest or CGI.” An analysis found that continuing to do things in-house would be more cost-effective than outsourcing, he adds. “It made a heck of a lot sense to stay the way we were.”

Island Savings would not divulge the cost of the project, but Fred Zdan, Island Savings’ senior vice-president of finance and administration, says the credit union has historically run a very efficient IS department. “We’ve had the luxury of having a very consistent, low-cost solution. That was certainly critical to our decision making process.”

A more significant driver, Zdan says, was the need to getter a better view of all the credit union’s information, customer or otherwise. “It provides us with the ability to better understand our member needs.”

One of the primary reasons the iWealthview rollout went so smoothly and on schedule was because two other B.C. credit unions made the save move prior to Island Savings, say Jagger, so it was an iterative process, and all three consulted on the development of the system.

Fincentric, founded in 1986 as Prologic, primarily targets mid-tier banking institutions that have assets between $400 million and $60 billion.

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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