electronic signature adoption
By Brad Powell

There are many problems you can solve with electronic signature applications. Some of the most common reasons for implementation are reducing risk, decreasing cost, and offering a better and more convenient product to members at your credit union. And we all know that the next generation of members expects to be able to electronically sign financial instruments on their devices of choice.

Despite those benefits, many credit unions and banks stall on electronic signature applications. The reason is adoption. They fear that once electronic signatures are implemented, the member will still revert to paper.

The fear is not baseless. Getting adoption is not easy. But you can learn from what one credit union has done to achieve more than 90 percent adoption. Though we would love to take credit for the results, success requires a collaborative effort.

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start 2016 with the best of 2015
By Brad Powell

As we launch into 2016, I wanted to share the five most popular Axiaware blog posts from 2015.

The posts touched on a variety of subjects that I believe are critical for credit unions and banks today.

If you found any or all of them interesting, I encourage you to share them with colleagues and your social media networks: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook,  whatever. 

Here's the Axiaware Top 5, with a short description for each one:

5. Three Smart Tips for Credit Unions Looking to Attract Millennial Members

How can credit unions add millennial members? Start by keeping your old name, making it easy and managing your online presence.

4. Mobile Auto Lending: Credit Unions' Next Big Opportunity?

Mobile banking is growing rapidly. So are automotive loan applications. What happens when you put these two trends together?

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line of business it department relationship
By Brad Powell

In a blog post last month, I broke down the three reasons that the line of business and IT departments at many credit unions can't get on the same page. Those reasons can be summed up as:

  • The vastly differing level of detail each side offers and expects when discussing a project;
  • The different ways the two organizations define the desired results of a given project; and
  • A difference in the language each side uses when talking about technology.

Given that these differences exist, the next logical question is "How can a credit union solve them?" 

What follows are my suggestions on fixing each element of the disconnect between the line of business and IT:

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line of business IT conflict
By Brad Powell

When I speak with line of business leaders at credit unions, it's not uncommon to hear them say things like, "My IT shop is really hard to work with."

And when I speak with the IT department at credit unions, I often hear them say, "You know, the line of business doesn't really understand the complexities of what we have to do."

Sometimes, I share this observation with people I meet from other industries. They almost always shake their head and say, "I know, that's how it is at our company as well."

So it's clear to me that credit unions are not alone when it comes to the perceived misalignment between the line of business and IT organizations.

The good news is that the root of the problem can be explained easily, broken down into three simple parts:

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By Brad Powell

One of Axiaware's credit union clients recently found itself facing an uncomfortable reality: While the loan origination system this credit union had relied on for many years was still getting basic tasks done, the basics were no longer good enough. 

The system could process loans, create reports, run approval queues and accomplish the other functions a traditional financial institution needed. But it wasn't as efficient as it needed to be, and it didn't integrate with other platforms very well. And at the same time, the system's front end – the elements that members and customer service staffers used every day – was not up to modern standards. 

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By Brad Powell

From the time we take our first quiz in school, we learn that success often requires us to come up with the right answer.

Sometimes, however, it's not about the answer. Instead, success can depend on asking the right question.

That is certainly the case when it comes time to choose a technology partner for your next development project. It is a crucial decision, determining which company will be working side by side with yours for an extended period of time, building systems that your customers and staff will depend on well beyond the development period.

To make the right choice, you need to ask good questions. To help you do that, I've listed five key questions for potential technology partners — the kinds of questions I hope a potential client will ask me before we start work together:

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By Brad Powell

The official deadline to enroll for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act passed last week, but the real deadline day has not yet arrived -- and it's unclear when it will.

That's because the Obama administration announced at the end of March that it would grant an extension to people who are having trouble securing health care through the federal marketplace. There is plenty of debate about the politics behind this announcement, but from the perspective of a technology company like Axiaware, it is clear that this news means the ACA and healthcare.gov are still experiencing technical difficulties.

And this high-profile, massive IT project, while painful for many, can provide some valuable insights into the realities of any IT project.

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By Brad Powell

Did you read enough advice about New Year's Resolutions last month?

If you spend more than a few minutes online each day, you no doubt witnessed the cottage industry that materializes in late December and runs into mid-January. There are self-help gurus trying to sell their methods, advertisers who use resolutions as hooks to get you to try their goods or services, and bloggers who try to gain web traffic by riding a common search trend.

It's understandable — in fact, a year ago, I used New Year's Resolutions as a hook for a blog post. And most of what you read is well-intentioned: One of the aims of these posts is helping you achieve your goals.

Our company tries to help credit unions and banks reach their goals, so I can relate. But from the perspective of a consultative technology partner, it's apparent that there are a few things the "resolution experts" won't admit. Here's my short list of those omissions:

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By Brad Powell

The last thing a financial institution embarking on a new technology project would want to do is gamble.

That said, a few lessons from America's premier gambling event apply quite well to development projects. I was reminded of this when I saw the latest World Series of Poker Main Event champion had been crowned (23-year-old Ryan Riess won the championship – and $8.4 million last November).

There are many playing styles that work for poker pros like Riess – some fold many hands before the betting turns heavy, while others fold very few. Some are aggressive and some are more conservative. But they all share some attributes that help them excel – and that make sense on a development project, as well.

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By Brad Powell

A great football coach is many things: Organized. Driven. Cool under pressure. Willing and able to help each team member reach his full potential, on and off the gridiron.

The qualities that make a coach a winner often are useful in other lines of work, too – that's why so many coaches write business leadership books.

But, as smart and effective as so many football coaches are, they would make poor technology partners.

Admittedly, this hypothetical situation is outlandish – it's unlikely Bill Belichick will be looking for work in the tech sector after he's done with the Patriots — but in case any of your prospective tech vendors have football coaching in their resume, here's what to look for – and avoid.

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