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Client Conference | Words of Wisdom from the Pioneer Award Winner

By Larry Edgar-Smith 5 May 2016

I had the chance to interview Andy Coy, AVP of Lending from our customer Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU), based in Harrisburg, PA. PSECU won the 2016 Temenos Pioneer Award for continued contribution to the advancement of new technology with Temenos. They also won the 2006 Pioneer Award. 

Andy and his staff have been great friends of the Temenos family, and not only regularly attend our conferences, but often offer to host prospective clients in their offices. We continue to be impressed with their ability to advance financial service offerings for their members through the use of technology. They only have one branch, so by definition, everything that they do pushes the bounds of technology. To do that, Andy has surrounded himself with a team of smart, energetic, and innovative people. It is my sincere pleasure to spend time with all of them, and to share the following insight from Andy.

Larry: Andy, I want to thank you for joining us for this interview and I appreciate the fact that you continue to push us forward. It’s certainly a blessing from our standpoint – we want to be pushed, we have a desire to go in the right direction and you guys are pointing us toward what’s important from a financial institution’s perspective. So thank you for doing that.

And most importantly, congratulations on your second time as a pioneer award winner! It seems like every ten years, so in 2026 perhaps we’ll be back and doing this again!

Andy: No, we’re going to try and make it every year!

Larry: 2017 then, sounds great! So thanks for taking the time to speak with us. The conference has been really busy for you, I know, because we’ve been in a lot of the same meetings together, and I’m sure it’s been equally busy onsite at PSECU as well. So tell us what products you’re using.

Andy: We’re using collections, we’re using loan origination, we’re almost in production for account origination and we will be using service, we should be kicking that off next month. Plus your Profitability module, I believe our finance department uses that as well.

Larry: Wow so five products, that’s tremendous! Any others, we don’t really offer any others from a Lifecycle perspective, but any other that you look for on the horizon that you would want to use as products that we offer?

Andy: Down the road we definitely would be interested in a consolidated mortgage platform – that is of interest to us. And there’s always definitely different innovations we’d like to make, so different connectors, there’s different ways to communicate with our members, especially faster and less friction.

Larry: You said two things that tie into my next question. What makes PSECU different than similar sized credit unions?

Andy: I think it begins with our business model in that we do not have traditional branches. We are very focused on remote delivery, whether that be self-service telephone, agent telephone calls, or especially driving traffic toward our e-commerce channels, it’s especially important…because we don’t have that branch presence…to be quick, efficient, and really communicate with our members when they need us, regardless of date, time or method.

Larry: Right. But that’s not a random focus is it?

Andy: No, it’s very specific.

Larry: So how does that work? How does that intentionality happen?

Andy: It has been that way as long as I can remember, at least it has always been a focus to be different, to give a different set of value to our members. We don’t have a tremendous number of products, but what we do, we do extremely well. We do the same thing through our delivery channels in that we do not focus on ancillary items.  It’s all about getting you what you need as quickly as possible. And that is a focus from our board of directors to our president to our VP group.

Larry: So you’re saying that rather than offering a broad range of products, “all things to all people”, you’re focusing on a smaller group of products, but doing that really well and delivering them better than other people.

Andy: Yes. We’re focused on delivering core products to our members – the items that really affect their daily life and hopefully providing tremendous value associated with it.

Larry: What’s your charter from a credit union standpoint? Is it only employees of Pennsylvania?

Andy: No we have a variety of methods to join at this point. It’s employees of the state of Pennsylvania, but also the 14-state system of higher education, colleges and universities, all those students are eligible as well. We have a large number of other methods to become a member of PSECU.

Larry: So you’ve got a pretty aggressive growth strategy, based on your number of products and what you want to achieve from a charter standpoint, a membership standpoint. How does the Temenos family of products fit into that growth strategy.

Andy: I think the Temenos family of products really try to drive business to react quickly, which gives us the flexibility to change as we need to change without asking for a tremendous amount of customization. It puts the keys in our hands, so that we can drive our business as we need to, and that is tremendously powerful in the marketplace, that we don’t need to wait. We can make those changes as soon as possible. I also think we have a shared strategy of innovation…that we want to move things forward, and we want to serve for you customers better, for us members better, and together that creates a lot of synergy to put great ideas into place for both of us.

Larry: That’s good – so I’m going to ask a loaded question too. Have we been supporting you in the right ways in achieving those goals?

Andy: Yes, I believe so. When we need your assistance, you are always there, and that has gone back as far as my history with your products go. When we need that support, you are always there to support us.

Larry: Thank you, that’s good to hear. So next, here’s the tough part: I’m going to take away, in an alternate universe, all of the features and functionality of the Lifecycle products except one, and you only get one. What would that feature be that you absolutely have to have?

Andy: The flexibility associated with rules. It is unparalleled in the marketplace, how we can configure our processing and decisioning environment to do what we need. It’s something that other systems, to my knowledge, don’t do, and it has allowed us to configure things as we want instead of how other vendors think we should operate. It really plays into our uniqueness as far as how far we like to push things.

Larry: So what advice would you give to other customers that are thinking about using the Lifecycle Management Suite, what advice would you give them as they consider it?

Andy: To not be satisfied with the status quo. When you are beginning that implementation process, really think not only about how you want to operate today, but also five years from now, ten years from now. The possibilities associated with the system are limitless, so don’t do what you’ve always done, think about how you can serve your members better. With the support of the system, we’ve really been able to do that. We didn’t come in with a set plan of “this is what we’ve done for the past ten years, we’re going to do that”. We’re able to reinvent how we operate throughout the implementation process for loan origination, and it’s paid tremendous benefits, not only for us, our members, but also us, our employees who are a tremendous advocate for the system.

Larry: So you turned that on its head, which is that in many cases with many software solutions out there, it starts with what the vendor gives the financial institution who gives it to their employees, and the customers or the members ultimately are the downstream recipient of that. You’ve turned that around and said I’m going to start with what the members need first, then what do employees need to give to the members, then what do I need from the vendor in order to give the employees what they need for the vendors.

Andy: Right – it’s all about the member.

Larry: Fantastic. Final question, this is always the tough one too, what would you challenge Temenos, and my team and the product teams to do over the next couple years. And don’t hold back, I’m sitting down.

Andy: I think it would be reacting quicker to advances in technology. Specific examples of that are the texting technology which isn’t available today but is so ingrained in our society. So it would be really to push the limit on those types of technologies.

Larry: I’ll take that challenge. Thank you so much for your time – you are a valued customer of ours and we just appreciate all that you do.

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