Friday, October 27, 2017

A Glimpse into EPL’s Culture

As EPL continues to evolve as a leading technology and solutions provider in the credit union industry, our employees remain at the core of what we do each day. Our success wouldn’t be possible without them. If you’re a credit union considering partnering with EPL or desire to apply for one of our open positions, we wanted to give you a glimpse into our company culture see what it is like to work with or be part of our team. Here is what a just a few of our staff members had to say:

“EPL is a fascinating place to work. They will push you to try new things outside of your bubble to help your personal growth, but also be there to make sure you succeed and learn from any challenges that may arise.”

           –    BeaJ Ray, product management & marketing specialist

Trying new things is central to evolving and driving positive change. If you’re satisfied with the status quo as a company, chances are you aren’t growing. To thrive in the digital age, EPL and other technology companies must adapt at a faster pace than ever before. Our employees’ personal growth is critical to the growth of our organization, and we take it very seriously. EPL’s employees are our number one asset.

“We will persevere despite challenges – that is the core of innovation.”

          –    Jeanie Richardson, operations manager

There will always be bumps in the road on the path to progress. However, we view challenges as opportunities for our team to learn and improve. Innovation solves real-world problems, and by pushing through challenges we are propelling our company and our industry toward a brighter future.

“Our employees are always willing to go the extra mile for our credit unions.”

          –    Bea Ray, functional tester

As a CUSO, providing the best customer service is ingrained into our culture. We value our credit union partners, and our success is directly tied to theirs. We constantly are looking for ways to improve and serve our credit unions better. Whether it’s partnering with new organizations, developing new technologies or being available 24/7, our goal is to provide exceptional service to our credit unions so they can deepen member relationships and drive revenue.

“As a 19-year credit union employee, my recent move to EPL has been a refreshing change.  It is great to continue to work for an organization that is focused on providing superior products to the credit unions that we serve on a daily basis. The hard work of EPL’s employees allows our credit unions to grow their membership by providing products and services that meet the financial needs of their membership, which helps sustain the overall growth of the credit union industry.”

          –    Mark Shaddix, product manager

Attracting the industry’s best and brightest is a high priority at EPL, as it empowers us to better serve our credit union customers. By fostering a culture of action and inclusiveness, we will continue to be a leading employer today and into the future.

“EPL is charming place to work with an international soul. You feel immediately part of EPL’s team and each goal is a common goal to succeed and increase our competencies to serve better our clients and enhance our culture.”

          –    Francesca Baldo, financial analyst at Dedagroup

If you’d like to learn more about the day-to-day at EPL, check out Ashlyn’s blog about what it’s like to work at our growing company!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

International Credit Union Day: Our Favorite Things About the Industry

October 19 is International Credit Union Day, and EPL is excited to celebrate! Credit unions are powerful and positive forces in their communities, and the service with which they provide their members is unique. We are proud to play a part in helping credit unions and members alike achieve their business and financial goals.

In honor of International Credit Union Day, we have compiled a list of a few of our favorite things about the credit union industry:
  1. The members. Credit unions wouldn’t be successful – or even exist – without their members. The people who choose to trust credit unions with their finances make working in this industry special. Credit unions take immense pride in serving members well because they are more than just “customers” – they are the ones in the driver’s seat.
  2. The mission. Prioritizing members over profit sets credit unions apart from other financial institutions. By providing competitive rates and empowering members with the financial information they need to make the best decisions, their interests are served over all others. Everyone in the industry works toward a common goal: financial health.
  3. The community. By joining a credit union, members choose to be part of a community of like-minded individuals that value service and transparency above all else. Credit unions have a personal connection with their members. Other financial institutions simply aren’t as involved in their local communities as credit unions.
  4. The innovation. The industry has seen immense innovation in the last few years, and it shows no signs of slowing. Mobile banking continues to be a game-changer. Data integration is giving credit unions more functionality than ever before. Business intelligence is allowing credit unions to tailor recommendations to their members’ needs. These are just a few ways in which credit unions are continuing to provide optimal service and meet members where they are.
  5. The growth. The credit union industry continues to be a powerful player in the financial services space. According to CUdata.com, credit unions are experiencing a positive trajectory in multiple areas. The 12-month growth rate for membership is 4.2 percent. Member business lending has grown an unprecedented 16.8 percent in the last year. People are continuing to look to credit unions to meet their individual and business needs.
We are thankful to our credit union partners and their members for allowing us to work with them each and every day. We look forward to continued success together. Join us in celebrating our great industry!

EPL Staff

EPL, Inc.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Product Spotlight: Business Accounts

Credit unions know all too well that various types accounts require unique service models – a business account has different management, reporting and regulatory requirements compared to members’ individual accounts. That’s why EPL has a solution specifically designed for business accounts – with the small business owner in mind. Credit unions help small businesses run smoothly each day, and our Business Accounts solution has the tools your credit union needs to support them.

EPL’s Business Accounts include:

  1. Tracking of critical financial information. Knowing where a business stands financially is critical for credit unions to make informed decisions on their accounts. i-POWER® enables credit unions to analyze a business’s financial information, allowing them to determine the status of the business and track financial review dates. Screens designed specifically for business accounts help the credit union and the business stay on the right path.
  2. Assessment of risk. Managing risk is critical in working with business accounts. With EPL’s Business Accounts, you can track risk assessment scores and dates, as well as past and future review dates. You can also easily identify all account owners and loan responsible parties.
  3. Comprehensive reporting tools. For the specific reports business accounts require, you need a solution that manages all of them seamlessly. It is also crucial to keep member and business account reporting separate. Business Accounts separates business account totals from member account totals, making reporting much simpler for credit unions.
  4. Fraud prevention. Business accounts make BSA compliance much easier. Business account data can be shared with your BSA provider for regulatory reporting and to monitor for fraudulent activity. Monitoring capabilities allow your credit union to spot any potentially alarming account activities or transactions that are amiss.
  5. Integration for deeper understanding. Business Accounts are seamlessly integrated with EPL’s i-KNOW solution to inform effective marketing and member relationship management. With Business Accounts, you can manage the relationship with your small business customers and empower them with the products and services they need to be successful. 
Successful management of business accounts is critical in order for credit unions to contend with banks in a competitive financial marketplace. If you wish to grow your credit union’s Business Account Portfolio, check out EPL’s Business Accounts module – a custom solution to fit your needs.

Katie Brackett

Director of Client Services

EPL, Inc.

Monday, September 25, 2017

How EPL’s i-POWER Creates Efficiencies in Lending

As credit unions and other financial institutions know all too well, loan origination and servicing are critical components of doing business. It is increasingly important to be able to provide competitive, compliant loans and quickly respond on loan approvals. All lending professionals know that member expectations are constantly changing as the market shifts and new technologies are developed, and it’s highly unlikely that members are entering your branch and filling out applications like they used to. In order to meet members where they are, it is vital to adopt the right technology and develop efficient processes which address their needs quickly.
 
Our core solution, i-POWER®, makes the lending process less cumbersome. i-POWER is a robust system that encompasses many facets of a credit union’s business, from transactions to member relationship management to cutting-edge lending capabilities. i-POWER supports consumer, indirect, home equity, mortgage and business loans, as well in-house credit cards. It services both investor loans and escrow management for mortgages. 

Here are several ways in which i-POWER streamlines lending:
  1. Custom loan origination. i-POWER has three loan origination system options which offer varying features, enabling credit unions to select the system that best meets their specific needs. Each system is user-friendly and integrated, which eliminates the time-consuming process of rekeying data. 
  2. Time-saving features.  At loan origination, i-POWER has many features available that simplify the lending process, such as automated decisioning, integrated credit reports, automated document generation, queue management, integrated task lists and e-signature capability, enabling your credit union to close loans in minutes. Information is readily available for loan servicing, including ongoing management of loans (e.g., escrow analysis and management). i-POWER also has the ability to create, document and track subsequent action activities such as extensions, skip-a-payments, changes in due dates, among other capabilities.
  3. Easily accessible information for both staff and members. Credit union staff can view key loan information on the Member Profile screen, and can drill down to see specific information, such as collateral information, documents, payment history and more. Members can access their loan application and documents 24/7 via online or mobile applications – a necessity in the digital age in which we live.
  4. Integration to third party solutions. Integration to other components of EPL’s system, as well as third party solutions, is key to innovation. Not only does it provide credit unions with additional options, but a seamless integration further streamlines your loan processes and allows you to customize your member experience. 
  5. Management reporting. EPL’s i-POWER core system provides various management reports for credit unions to effectively manage their loan origination and loan portfolio. Through reporting, management can ensure loan requests are being processed promptly, and can access various analytics to determine the quality of loans requested. These reports also provide insight into loan portfolio performance and other key metrics.
With i-POWER®, credit unions can make the lending process more efficient, thus closing more loans and ensuring member satisfaction. Access to competitive loans is a key driver of credit union business, so an investment in a solution that makes it easier is a no-brainer.

Yvonne Sambrano

Sr. Lending Solutions Product Manager

EPL, Inc.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The biggest digital banking trends we've seen so far in 2017

Digital banking continues to change the way people manage their finances, and it is increasing in capability and adoption. Digital banking platforms are no longer an emerging trend in the financial industry – they’re becoming the norm for conducting transactions. They are, however, becoming increasingly sophisticated and accessible.

Here are the biggest trends we’ve seen in the digital banking space this year:

Cutting-edge data analytics. Credit unions are using member data in powerful ways that benefit both the credit union and member. By leveraging existing data, credit unions can analyze member behavior and tailor the products and services they recommend, which deepens relationships and increases revenue. Analysis of “big data” is becoming more advanced, allowing for personalization that members desire from their credit unions. 

Digital payments and mobile wallet. According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans own a smartphone. Although branches are still important in building member relationships, the reality is that customers expect to be able to complete their banking transactions online. Mobile wallet is also increasing in popularity. People expect to be able to make payments with the click of a button, not with a credit card or check. Demand for these services will only increase.

Streamlined digital banking experience. A consistent, easily accessible digital banking expense is a must. According to the 2017 Digital Banking Report, improving the digital banking experience is a top priority for financial institutions. Customers expect to conduct transactions seamlessly across devices anytime, anywhere from an intuitive platform. They also expect access to help should they need it, in real time (e.g., a chatbot). 

Gamification. Many financial institutions are implementing game-like activities to incentivize their members toward certain behavior, as well as educate them on financial literacy. Relationship pricing (or loyalty programs) use gamification to inspire loyalty (think: points toward a reward like a lower loan rate for adding on additional services at the credit union). It can also be used to encourage behavior like depositing into a savings account or making a loan payment on time.

Prevalence of open systems. Legacy systems are being phased out to make way for open architecture systems that can be updated more easily and efficiently. Open systems allow for new software to be applied at a quicker rate, which is essential considering the rapid pace at which new technologies are developed. Open systems continue to replace outdated models. Customers want to be able to manage all of their finances from one interface – adaptability and integration with third party software are key.

When thinking about adopting new technology at your credit union, consider implementing these measures – they create a better experience for your members, and in turn inspire loyalty and engagement. Staying ahead of digital banking trends will help you outdo the competition and attract and retain the membership you want.

David McCullough

Senior Solutions Manager

EPL, Inc.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Legacy vs. Open-Architecture Core Systems – When is it time to Migrate?

Financial institutions often operate from software systems that have been in place for many years. While the “old” technology may still work, legacy systems that aren’t compatible with changing technologies can cause big headaches for those that must work in them every day, as well as their customers and vendors. If you’re operating on a closed system, you might consider upgrading if:
  1. Your software can’t keep up with new technologies. Legacy systems simply aren’t designed to be compatible with new technologies. Considering the pace at which innovation occurs in the tech sector, this is a big problem. If your system is closed to future development, you will be stuck behind the curve of innovation. An open-architecture system allows you to connect with current technologies and be prepared for inevitable future developments.
  2. Upgrades are cumbersome and time-consuming. Updates on legacy systems are often time-consuming because a “small” change to one component affects many other aspects of the system. You can’t apply a simple patch and move on – everything must be reworked. Open systems are adaptable and can be modified incrementally over time with quicker updates.
  3. Costs of maintaining your legacy system are too high. Upgrading and maintaining a legacy system is typically more expensive than adding capabilities to an open platform. Adding on new technology to a legacy system creates a disjointed patchwork of components that become more complex and therefore more difficult to operate over time.
  4. You are experiencing cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Hackers and other malicious actors are constantly looking for new ways to exploit systems and steal valuable company information. Legacy systems cannot address these threats in the same way that an open, flexible systems can. Because changes take longer to apply to legacy systems, company data can be exposed for a longer period of time.
  5. Your software can’t evolve with your business. Software that is customizable to changing company needs is critical to ensure efficient work. An open core allows you to be more flexible with your technology and update it as the business landscape changes. You must be able to meet your customers and vendors where they are in the digital realm.
An open-architecture system allows for seamless integration of the latest technologies. Your credit union needs the capability to add on future technologies and products to stay relevant and engaged with your members. Legacy systems are a thing of the past – it’s time to be out with the old and in with the new.

Rhiannon Stone

COO

EPL, Inc.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Product Spotlight: How EPL's CUe-Branch Integrates Design with Functionality

EPL has been constantly evolving our leading-edge, online and mobile banking solution, CUe-Branch, to stay ahead of the technological curve and meet the demands of our credit union clients. CUe-Branch provides credit unions with innovative, personalized ways to display their offerings, enriching the member experience and creating efficiencies at the branch. The intuitive design and seamless user interface of our online and mobile banking platform allows credit union members to access the data they need anytime, from anywhere.

Here are a few ways CUe-Branch allows credit unions to enhance the member experience:

  • Intuitive Design. The design of CUe-Branch makes transitioning users (including new members) to the product much easier for credit unions, requiring little to no staff involvement. The design was created after in-depth research on usability for both the credit union member and staff. The widget-based dashboard makes the software easy to use and provides a clear visual on members’ financial status – they can view all accounts in one place from a single login.
  • Member-to-Member Transfers. This feature allows users of CUe-Branch to transfer funds to other credit union members quickly and efficiently. They can schedule transfers or transfer funds immediately to another member of the credit union.
  • Built in Person-to-Person Payments. Person-to-Person Payments (P2P) allows members to transfer funds to people outside of the credit union, regardless of where the account is held. The recipient doesn’t have to be a member of the credit union to receive the transfer. The transfers are easy to initiate via email or cell phone, and are safe and secure.
  • ACH Origination. ACH Origination allows members to move funds to and from their account at the credit union to an account outside the credit union. For example, they can make a loan payment at another financial institution from their credit union account.
  • Credit Union Customization. Each credit union has a custom look and feel for their CUe-Branch. Credit unions are able to create a branded theme for their CUe-Branch, and use it to market their products and services to their members. Each credit union can generate new revenue streams through targeted marketing initiatives. 

The features and intuitive design of CUe-Branch allow credit unions to provide a personalized experience for their members, which deepens relationships, increases engagement and drives revenue for the credit union. CUe-Branch is backed by our support team at EPL, who is available at any time to provide training on the product and assess its functionality to ensure optimal performance. This solution is ideal for credit unions looking to drive growth and increase profitability.

If you are interested in learning more about CUe-Branch, please give David McCullough a call at 205-408-5300.

David McCullough

Sr. Product Manager

EPL, Inc.