The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that financial institutions must be ready to quickly adapt to a digital landscape. Many banks are grappling with the effects of this global pandemic and updating their digital banking technology while adjusting operations to promote health and safety during this unprecedented time.
To provide its customers with a seamless banking experience, including online, in-branch and mobile banking, FortuneBank in Arnold, Missouri, partnered with CSI and its NuPoint core processing solution. The bank was scheduled for a core conversion in March 2020—just as the nation began social distancing and many businesses began implementing work from home policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Though faced with unexpected changes to their planned conversion process, CSI and FortuneBank navigated this new situation together to execute a virtual core conversion.
Prioritizing Customer Service
Strong customer support for banks is the foundation of a successful implementation, but it became even more important throughout CSI’s first virtual core conversion. Since FortuneBank personnel and CSI’s transition team were quickly adapting to a remote work environment, communications were modified but never ceased. In fact, CSI prioritized open and consistent communication to ensure that they received the necessary information, training and support, providing an experience as similar as possible to a standard conversion.
“From my perspective, the support has been wonderful—a lot more than expected or anticipated,” said Jaimie Mckeen, FortuneBank’s VP of Retail Operations and Project Management. “There’s nothing that hasn’t been able to be rectified or assisted with via virtual versus in-person.”
According to Mckeen, from video check-ins to text messages, the CSI team used various communication channels to ensure that FortuneBank was informed of the conversion progress and there were no surprises. Though communication was limited to primarily online channels, there was no lack of support or assistance for FortuneBank.
Given the amount of preparation and communication before the transition, the data conversion for FortuneBank also went smoothly and efficiently. Throughout the conversion process, CSI and FortuneBank diligently worked to ensure all parties, including employees and customers, were informed and any issues promptly addressed.
Lessons from a Virtual Core Conversion
With the developing COVID-19 situation, employees from FortuneBank and CSI’s conversion team needed to unexpectedly shift to remote work, but did so with coordination and communication. While a few challenges did arise, Lance Greunke, FortuneBank’s President and Chief Financial Officer, was pleased with the response, saying, “CSI is willing to dedicate their resources and address problems very quickly.”
Trainings are a key component of preparing for a core conversion, and one unexpected benefit of this remote conversion was the increased amount of online training available to FortuneBank’s employees. Because of current circumstances, FortuneBank’s limited on-site staff and remote employees had access to e-learning, transition trainings, and additional Webex sessions, allowing employees to enter the virtual conversion fully prepared. This experience also suggests that pre-transition trainings could take place virtually for future conversions if necessary.
Another takeaway for virtual conversions is the importance of ensuring employees are set up with virtual private networks (VPNs) and other technologies for remote work prior to the conversion. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FortuneBank was required to prepare many employees to work remotely in a short amount of time. Banks that have systems in place for remote work and conduct regular tests are in a strong position to implement a virtual conversion.
Choosing a Virtual Core Conversion Partner
Though faced with unexpected changes to their initial plan, CSI and FortuneBank proved that a virtual core conversion can be seamlessly executed. After the conversion, Greunke said, “With the ability of these two groups working together … I truly believe that we’ve made the best decision in picking CSI as a partner …”
As financial institutions increasingly turn to digital banking services, FortuneBank is in a strong position to serve its customers through its partnership with CSI for NuPoint core and integrated digital banking technology. Contact CSI to learn more about our unparalleled customer service and digital banking solutions.