Success Stories

FirstOntario Credit Union

Attracting a new generation of customers with seamless digital services.

Ontario, Canada

At A Glance

• Launched a separate digital-only arm: Saven Finance, to offer highly competitive interest rates and more savings to its members

5 minutes to activate new customers

Fully automated on-boarding journeys

Consumer expectations around banking services are rising—and customers are increasingly seeking out providers that can offer 24/7 access to products on the digital channel. To attract new customers and retain existing account-holders, it is more important than ever for financial services organisations to offer high-quality online and mobile banking experiences.

Since it was founded in 1939, FirstOntario Credit Union has continued to enhance and extend its range of banking services to grow its client base, which today stands at 126,000 people across the province of Ontario, Canada. To inspire a new generation of customers to engage with its services, FirstOntario Credit Union set out to create its first digital-only channel.

Furthermore, the credit union also recently decided to launch a separate digital-only arm entitled Saven Finance. The new service would offer online and mobile access to unique high-interest savings accounts and guaranteed investment certificates (GIC) with exceptionally competitive rates to 13.6 million Ontarian citizens.

“Launching Saven allows us to have a greater reach to new digitally-focused members with a community-centric mission that shifts the perspective of what it means to be a financial institution. We’ve designed our digital brand to resonate with people who want anywhere / anytime banking. Our vision is to bring a no-nonsense, digital savings experience to those who want to achieve their financial goals through smart saving. To do that we needed to make our online platform easy to use, and enable our members to benefit from our competitive rates.

Lloyd Smith, CEO, FirstOntario Credit Union

Turning Vision into Reality

After evaluating its back-office systems and processes, FirstOntario Credit Union realised that its core banking system would be unable to deliver the performance, scalability and flexibility necessary to support the new digital services.

“Our goal is to shape seamless digital experiences—and without the foundation of a future-ready core banking platform, we knew that we couldn’t deliver our target customer journeys,” continues Michael Walsh. “To solve that challenge, we looked for new technology.”

Targeting a Future Ready Banking Platform

To prepare itself for digital transformation, FirstOntario Credit Union choose Temenos Transact: a cloud-native, API-first core banking system.

“As well as delivering on the foundational capabilities of security, performance and scalability, we wanted a core banking platform that would empower us to rapidly develop, test and deploy new services—and Temenos Transact delivered,” recalls Michael Walsh.

5 minutes to activate new customers

Working together with a team from Temenos, FirstOntario Credit Union deployed Temenos Transact and migrated its core banking services to the new platform.

After two years of stable operations on Temenos Transact, FirstOntario Credit Union was ready to take the next leap forward with the development of its digital channel. As well as choosing a platform to deliver online and mobile banking services, the organisation wanted solutions that would automate important journeys such as account-opening, enabling it to offer real-time services outside of normal business hours.

To drive its new digital experience, FirstOntario Credit Union chose Temenos Infinity. Michael Walsh comments: “Our positive experience with Temenos Transact made it an easy choice to work with Temenos again for the next phase of our transformation strategy. In addition to providing the technical capabilities we need; the partnership gives us access to Temenos MarketPlace—a curated platform that connects us with FinTech innovations from around the world.”

FirstOntario Credit Union worked closely with Temenos to develop its new digital offerings.

To support the fully-digital Saven Financial brand, FirstOntario Credit Union again deployed Temenos Transact and Temenos Infinity. The combination of core banking and omnichannel delivery capabilities provided the end-to-end platform needed to launch the new brand and will enable the swift roll-out of new products and services.

Launching innovative services

FirstOntario Credit Union surged ahead with the development of its digital banking services. Powered by the Temenos platform and a range of FinTech solutions, the organisation tested the first prototype of its online and mobile platform.

“One of the biggest benefits we see in working with Temenos is the many FinTech partners already positioned to integrate well with their banking platform,” explains Michael Walsh. “In many cases, Temenos already had the APIs we needed to integrate with strategic partners. When they didn’t, Temenos brought in the resources we needed to facilitate the integration.”

Enables seamless digital banking services

With the new digital platform, FirstOntario Credit Union is expected to deliver fully automated onboarding journeys for new customers, helping it to inspire a new generation of consumers to become members.

“Ultimately, we aim to embrace a digital-first strategy and the work we’re doing with Temenos today is an important step toward that goal,” says Michael Walsh. “In the future, there will be no need for our customers to wait for one of our employees to tell them that their new account has been approved. Everything will be automated from start to finish, and within five minutes customers will be able to access their account online. Initially, we will be delivering these services on our digital-only channel, but we can already see great potential in extending the capabilities to our existing customers.”

With Saven Financial, FirstOntario Credit Union is now offering a straightforward, easy-to-use digital-only service with attractive rates and a frictionless customer experience. The launch of Saven will increase the credit union’s reach with consumers, especially among younger digital-native Ontarians looking for flexible anytime, anywhere financial services. In line with FirstOntario Credit Union’s overall strategy, much of Saven Financial’s profits will be reinvested back into local community initiatives.

Getting a progress report from the experts

The organisation is now working with expert consultants from Temenos, to help ensure that the new journeys meet its customers’ high expectations. The team ran an in-depth assessment of the proposed online account opening solution, and provided insights into how the organisation’s approach compared to others in the industry

Michael Walsh continues: “Temenos assessment placed us in the top quadrant for our space, which gave us the reassurance that our development efforts were moving in the right direction. Before we go live with the finished product, we plan to invite Temenos back to evaluate our progress.”

“Choosing Temenos core banking is a decision that defines the next decade or more”

Tom Bijvoet, Chief Administration Officer

FirstOntario Credit Union is confident that the new services will strengthen its leading position in the province.

“The credit union system is built on cooperation, and we regularly meet with our peers to discuss challenges and find solutions,” adds Michael Walsh. “We see that Temenos shares that philosophy, and from day one, they’ve been fully engaged with our business and committed to our success. The amount of investment that Temenos puts into research and development really shines through in the quality of their offering. We have no hesitation in recommending Temenos as a partner and as a world-class banking solution.”