Dave Stafford, CIOCredit unions often strive to offer the best-of-breed solution to their members by assembling a variety of partners and service providers. As these service companies rely on each other to present a cohesive offering to the consumer, integration becomes the key component. These efforts often include contractual relationships between competitors, single sign-on between disparate web sites, real-time APIs and integration of data files. In the absence of altruistic advocacy, credit union industry CIOs can be faced with arranging and arbitrating these complex business and technical relationships for themselves. For the past four decades, PSCU—a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) built owned and governed by credit unions, has been providing payment solutions. “Our service platforms offer a wide array of integration options allowing easy access to the applications, services and underlying data,” begins Dave Stafford, Chief Information Officer, PSCU. “We proactively work with our peer industry providers to bring integrated solutions to the credit union market, relieving our owner credit unions of the burden of brokering these efforts.”
Before beginning development on a new product or service, PSCU spends considerable time in the field with their advisory groups, clients, and end-users to be sure they understand the problem and the ‘persona’ profile of the users to build a low-resolution prototype and expose it to the user community for tuning. “Once we’re confident that we have a solid design, we assemble a cross-functional team to collaborate and iteratively work together to build out the solution,” adds Stafford. “Our applications are built in a modular fashion allowing for the abstraction of discrete functions such as user authentication, roles, business functions, the presentation layer,” he explains.
The firm’s Data eXchange—a robust and powerful set of XML and web services APIs, allows credit unions and their third-party service provider partners to extract, read and write real-time data to/from PSCU and the various systems of record represented by PSCU.
Virtually every service which we deliver to the market is capable of being integrated in some way
The services offered include a vast array of functions associated with credit and debit card information, maintenance, and transactional payments. It’s their practice to build ‘bottom-up’ by first starting at the data layer, through the common services and finally to the user experience. This ‘API first’ approach allows every new product offering to be consumable in a variety of ways to suit the needs of the market.
In the recent years, PSCU has deployed a market-leading set of platforms and services to build integrated ‘digital gateway’ providing a single and centralized suite of applications to handle key services such as session management and queuing, logging, data governance, content management, API service libraries, front-end portal development. The company has also developed a series of contained responsive web objects each representing a discrete set of card functions to ease the pain of member-owners who prefer to control their consumer experience but lack the resources or expertise to develop complex user interface applications into PSCU’s APIs.
According to Stafford, in the near future, the technical convergence of web, mobile, voice and video capabilities will allow for a consumer banking and service experience with an unprecedented level of integration. “As this market evolves, only through industry collaboration, cooperation among service providers and the continued deployment of sophisticated integration tools will credit unions and smaller community banks remain relevant and capable of keeping pace,” he asserts.