Guest blogger, John O'Shaughnessy, Senior Partner at Mobile Strategy Partners, tell us about CUFX:

Want to deliver new online and mobile functionality faster and cheaper? Take a look at CUFX.

For a long time, credit unions have provided friendly service that focuses on serving the financial needs of their target communities. However, with modest budgets, credit unions are consistently challenged to provide competitive online and mobile solutions to keep existing members and recruit new ones—especially mobile-centric Millennials. Big banks in contrast, have big budgets and big IT departments which allows them to implement new technologies and innovations with more ease.

Not only is it hard for credit unions to find the resources to deliver new online and mobile solutions, they must also deal with incumbent technology vendors who can use their dominant position to influence the technology roadmap. Credit unions often end up accepting the default offerings of existing suppliers for services such as mobile banking, because it’s simply too expensive, too difficult, and too time-consuming to do otherwise. This sometimes results in second-rate offerings to consumers, and existing vendors becoming ever more deeply entrenched.

Given these challenges, CUNA’s Technology Council recognized that credit unions were having difficulty delivering compelling new online and mobile solutions and responded by developing the Credit Union Financial Exchange (CUFX) standard. CUFX is a technology standard specifically designed to enable credit unions to rapidly build new online and mobile solutions that integrate with in-house and third-party systems without lengthy and expensive custom integration work. The CUFX team describes the standard as “…an open, vendor agnostic, broad integration standard designed by leading credit unions and vendors to reduce the time and cost of systems integration…”

Put simply, CUFX is an open standard that defines how computer systems can share financial information such as Member and Account details and financial transactions. It also specifies a common model for performing transactions such as making a transfer, paying a bill, or applying for a loan. CUFX adopts the latest industry recommendations for secure online and mobile communications and is designed to allow software developers to focus on delivering user-facing functionality rather than complex back-end integration.

David LaCroix, CUFX Project Manager, believes that, “CUFX has an incredibly diverse and powerful business case for success of all industry partners whether you are a credit union, a supporting vendor, or core systems provider.  We provide CUFX and our support at no cost to maximize the success of every organization we work with.”

By implementing CUFX, credit unions can eliminate the need to rigidly conform to the integration requirements and constraints of their core systems and service providers and focus on delivering a best-in-breed user experience. Because CUFX is designed with online and mobile in mind, the time taken to deliver a quality app is reduced as is the cost and effort associated with ongoing support and maintenance.

Because CUFX does not belong to any one vendor, credit unions are able to collaborate on its use, share best practices, and work together on improving the standard. CUNA’s Technology Council actively encourages credit unions to get involved with CUFX, not only to grow their organization by building great solutions, but also to contribute ideas, expertise, and experience.

CUFX has already been used successfully in over 60 credit union integrations and is increasingly being adopted by vendors as an integration standard for their systems.

MDC credit union BCU has people heavily involved in the effort—Jeff Johnson, SVP IT at BCU, also serves as the CUNA Technology Council Vice Chair. “CUFX continues to evolve to meet the needs of vendors, cores, and credit unions,” says Jeff. “With the recent creation of the CUFX Vendor Advisory Board, we are taking the collaboration to the next level. As always, credit unions need to take an active role in driving the industry to be quicker to market to meet the accelerating competition from FinTech startups.” 

CUFX continues to evolve thanks to the dedication of its volunteer committee members who actively seek to extend and improve the standard by engaging with credit unions and solution providers wishing to adopt it. Because CUFX has been designed for credit unions by credit unions, it ensures compelling services that will engage existing and prospective members contributing to organization growth.

Want more information on CUFX? Want to join the effort? See: www.cufxstandards.com