Monday, December 18, 2017

What to Include on Your Core Processor Wish List

As the holidays fast approach and we’re finalizing our wish lists for the season, it’s a great time to consider what you want from your core solution in 2018. After all, the core plays a central role for all credit unions, from creating operational efficiencies to increasing employee and member satisfaction. Perhaps you are contemplating a change for the new year – well, now is the time to explore your options!

If you’re looking for an upgrade, there are several things you should include on your priority list:
  1. Integration. An open architecture system is a must-have in the digital age. Older technology that can’t be easily integrated with the latest developments or modules will leave your credit union in the dust as new advancements are made in the industry. Furthermore, the amount of time it takes to upgrade legacy systems results in a huge waste of resources – and they’re more expensive to maintain. The price of keeping old technology around, both from a cost and time standpoint, will only come back to haunt you as you look to stay on the cutting edge of innovation.
  2. Automation. Rekeying of data is another huge time-waster in our industry. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a core system that eliminates this cumbersome process? Your core should be able to not only eliminate this task, but also automate processes like reporting and subsequent action activities.
  3. Accessibility. Your credit union staff and members should be able to easily access the information they need in a central location. Whether they are on desktop, mobile or tablet, your software should provide the same user-friendly experience. Your members shouldn’t have to go into a branch to complete transactions, and your staff shouldn’t have to spend a great deal of time looking for the member information they need.
  4. Customization. Your core processor should be tailored to meet the needs of your individual credit union. Your credit union’s distinct look and feel should be reflected in your platforms – a one-size-fits-all solution is a thing of the past. A platform with your credit union’s specific goals in mind makes it yours, and allows you to reach members with targeted marketing activities.
  5. Security. A data breach can be catastrophic for business. You have probably thought of the consequences for your members should a breach occur, but you also need to consider that your credit union’s reputation is also at stake. Your members trust you to keep their information safe, and the right core processor can give you peace of mind knowing you can deliver on this promise. 
If you’re interested in making a change to your core, give us a call today. We would be happy to help you fulfill that wish list!

EPL Staff

EPL, Inc.

How to Prepare Your Members for Fraud Threats During the Holiday Season

It’s hard to believe, but that time of year is here again – the time to visit with family, eat too many calories and celebrate the season. It’s also fraudsters’ favorite month. This year for the first time ever, online shopping will exceed in-store shopping, so it’s essential that credit unions give members the guidance they need to protect their information from fraud. Nothing is much worse than checking your monthly statement and seeing that someone has decided to steal your information to do their own holiday shopping.

Here are several ways in which credit unions can help members keep their information safe:

  1. Encourage them to sign up for account alerts. When a large transaction occurs or the account balance is low, members should be notified immediately. Of course, your credit union has fraud detection and tracking measures in place, but your members need to know the resources available to them. Advise your members to opt in to text messages or emails with account updates.
  2. Warn them to be wary when responding to emails. Although email is a great way to keep your members in the know, it’s also a common way for fraudsters to extract confidential information. Let your members know that they should never have to send payment information in an email, or expect an email from your credit union asking for account information. Sensitive information should be discussed over the phone after verification, or better yet, in the branch.
  3. Make sure their information is up to date. Credit unions need to make sure they have the correct information on file should a member need to be contacted about suspicious account behavior. The sooner you can contact a member, the better. Remind your members to update their information regularly in case you need to reach them.  
  4. Educate them on the danger of phishing scams. Phishing scams remain prevalent in online shopping. Members need to know that although a website may look legitimate, it may not be. Buying from trusted retailers is the way to go. Members just need to be sure they are on the correct website – it should have a secure domain for payment, indicated by https://, and no random letters or typos. If something on a website looks off, it’s best to follow your instinct and look elsewhere for gifts.
  5. Credit cards are preferable. Although debit cards aren’t necessarily an unsafe option – especially if your credit union has proper anti-fraud protocols in place –  credit cards are a more prudent choice for shopping online. Debit cards provide direct access to a members’ funds, which can be dangerous. Your credit union can use this as an opportunity to educate your members on the credit card options you provide.
  6. Don’t let them treat their wallet or purse like an information vault. These items can easily be lost or stolen, so members should only carry what they need – birth certificates, social security cards, voter registration cards, PIN and extra credit cards should be left at home. Additionally, members need to know what is in their wallets so they can contact the appropriate providers if they are missing. Maintaining a list at home with numbers for who to contact is good practice, as it dramatically increases the efficiency of response to these situations.
Our industry is all about serving others and looking out for the interests of our members and communities. Help your members keep the season happy and bright by protecting them from the risks of fraud.

Stephen Adwell

Vice President of Security and LAN/WAN

EPL, Inc.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Product Spotlight: The Advantages of EPL’s General Ledger

In today’s digital world, providing accessibility and convenience is the name of the game. EPL’s Real-time General Ledger (RTGL), integrated within our core, i-POWER®, streamlines accounting processes and gives your credit union the world’s most valuable resource – more time. Time to focus on members, improve efficiency and drive growth. Our RTGL’s advantages are as numerous as its features, which are designed to empower your credit union with the back-end support it needs to be successful.

Here are just a few:

REAL-TIME, COMPREHENSIVE TRANSACTION INFORMATION. 

Real-time, up-to-date information is always available with EPL’s RTGL. All transactions are immediately posted, so any changes or corrections can be completed swiftly by your credit union’s employees as opposed to waiting until the following business day. Drilling down further, everything you need to know about the transaction is easily accessible: number, posting description, details, transaction updates, effective dates, etc. You can view all accounts and dive deep into the details with drag-and-drop search functionality. Imagine the power of knowing exactly where your credit union stands financially at any time.

ROBUST REPORTING.

A variety of reports are available on-demand and can be requested as needed, in PDF, or Excel format for may sub-modules. Reports are stored in the products documentation folder, and are sent to the credit union's external document management system for review. Easily-accessible reports enable credit unions to monitor and analyze key drivers, and provide necessary data to make informed business decisions.

AUTOMATION.

Automation improves credit union efficiency, as well as the member experience. With our RTGL, your credit union automatically can e-mail reports to specific users and groups. Furthermore, end-of-month finalization and closure of accounting periods are automatic processes within the general ledger. In the rare case it is needed, an Administrator can also correct entries after an accounting period has closed.

RESEARCH.

The ability to review products and transactions is critical to ensure your credit union can evaluate its status effectively. The research capabilities of the RTGL help mitigate business and compliance risk by providing the most up-to-date information to your credit union’ staff. Additionally, you can access critical data to complete federally mandated reports and evaluate your credit union’s current and historical financial status quickly and efficiently. 

MODULE INTEGRATION.

Credit unions have the option to activate additional modules within the RTGL in order to adapt to shifting operational and member needs, such as Profitability Accounting, Budget and Investment Module and Participation Loans Sold. The ability to use additional modules within the RTGL helps to increase efficiency and grow revenue within target verticals.

At EPL, we constantly evolve to meet the shifting demands of the industry, and invest in innovative tools that empower our customers to better serve their members. In 2017, the number of credit unions using our core platform has risen steadily, thanks in large part to our commitment to providing unrivaled customer service and developing leading-edge software solutions – the RTGL is no exception. To learn more or schedule your RTGL activation, contact your EPL Relationship Manage today!

Magdalena Kądziołka

Real Time General Ledger Product Specialist

EPL, Inc.

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.