Simplifying the conversion process

LincOne Federal Credit Union and VisiFI

About LincOne Federal Credit Union 

LincOne Federal Credit Union was originally chartered in 1955 as Lincoln Goodyear Employees Federal Credit Union to serve employees of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company plant in Lincoln, Nebraska. To encourage growth and diversity, the charter was expanded to welcome all who live, work, worship, or attend school in Lancaster County, Nebraska. Later, Peoples Choice Federal Credit Union merged into LincOne to make a stronger, more diversified credit union, dedicated to providing financial services to all in the community. Living by the motto, “We don’t just simply open accounts, we open doors…We don’t just lend money, we make dreams come true… We don’t just invest money, we build futures.” LincOne strives to help everyone in Lancaster County improve their lives and therefore, the community.  

LincOne Federal Credit Union’s key figures

$154M+ Assets  

17,000+ Members 

3 Branches 

The context 
Turning a M&A into an opportunity to betterserve members 

LincOne and VisiFI had been long-time partners, but when LincOne was approached about a merger by a larger credit union, the relationship entered new territory. How could they work together to review and redesign systems and data into a unique and more efficient technology platform that would benefit the credit union and its members.The merging credit union, Peoples Choice FCU was almost twice the size of LincOne in members and assets, increasing the merger complexity. Establishing the goal of minimizing disruption to members while providing enhanced products and services kept the project on target.

The larger, longer range goal of facilitating overall future performance was developed to increase member engagement and enhanced service levels.In addition to the technological advances, it was a challenge to meld the organizations and their cultures into a single entity.  

VisiFI’s experience and expertise in the technological aspects allowed LincOne management and staff to devote sufficient time to these areas.LincOne knew that selecting VisiFI as their technology partner ensured they would be using a more advanced technology system, including online and mobile solutions, resulting in a more proficient array of solutions and services available to members. 

Selecting the best technology partner, coupled with their capital ratio and recognition as a valuable community contributor, provided LincOne a solid foundation on which to build future growth and success. 

The solution
Smoothing a conversion through a shared methodology

The most crucial task of the conversion was the mapping of the data. This was managed by pulling information from the merged Credit Union’s systems to the new one. But, in order to ensure a smooth transition of the information, and its correct placement into the new system, VisiFI worked on the different sets of data – such as savings, loans and personal data – by using a shared methodology: doing tests before going live with the new system. This was crucial to saving money and time in the deconversion process of the previous system. 

A key element of the mapping was matching the information contained in the general ledger, and all the different systems in use in the organization, to be sure that once the conversion was completed all data was in the correct spot. 

This was not only crucial from a back-end perspective but from a front-end one: the conversion of the members using LincOne’s home banking needed to be accurately planned. Conversion testing of these specific accounts allowed LincOne to assess the correct placement of crucial data. 

“Testing how to manage the change before the change was made: this hands-on experience was invaluable to us.”, Jerry E Barnett, President and CEO at LincOne

The shift was accompanied by training sessions held by VisiFI for the new employee team. The big concern about the conversion running smoothly was, again, the ability to verify everything before it went live.  

To help the employees get familiar with the new system and organization, VisiFI set up a test Credit Union: this way employees could see how to embrace the change avoiding the uncertainty related to eventual impacts on their ability to learn. 

The new system brought efficiency related to a more streamlined organization, including systems, processes, and data management. The overall back-office was automated, including processes such as statement production and the back-ups. Prior to the change, the merged Credit Union had one IT person dedicated to making sure the entire system was always up and running in a proper way.  

Because of the conversion, and of the implementation of a more sophisticated system managing the operations of two Credit Unions, additional allocation of IT resources could have been needed to ensure the same effective results. VisiFI’s team was there to help with an internal IT network group dedicated to being proactive in solving any issues and heading off problems before they occurred. 

The real value of this collaboration lies in the comprehension of technology needs as well as organizational ones. 

“We changed the inside and the outside of the Credit Union: the systems and the data, and together with this, the reorganization of the people who worked with us, to better distribute the resources. VisiFI helped us to train our people working in online banking: they realized the real focus was to enhance the service levels to our members.”, Jerry E Barnett, President and CEO at LincOne

Project's takeaways

  • M&A as an opportunity: Streamlined processes, systems, data. 
  • Prior go-live tests as a methodology: Efficiencies in the deconversion as a whole. 
  • A partnership to accompany change: Training and resources effective from day 1. 

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