The Pulse 08-25-16

Volume 5, Issue 34.5



Keys to Making Big Data Affordable

Article originally published on August 17, 2016


The only way small credit unions can afford Big Data is through collaboration, according to the Minnesota CU Network, which has a new offering to help not-so-big cooperatives dig much deeper into their member information.


MnCUN has partnered with OnApproach to white label the company’s data analytics solution for its member credit unions.

John Ferstl, VP of network services at the league, said the program is designed to be affordable for credit unions with assets of $50 million and up.


“Today, to do data analytics well and on your own, you have to be a credit union with at least $600 million in assets,” said Ferstl. “We see the big banks and big retailers using Big Data and they are threatening to come into our space and do our job better than we do.”


Ferstl contends there is no real data analytics solution in the marketplace for CUs that is agnostic to all the systems credit unions have implemented.


Credit unions, with all their different platforms now—from mobile to mortgages to online banking—face issues with being able to pull data from all these platforms.


“The systems that route to these credit union platforms are primarily provided by the core system providers and they do not play well with other systems,” explained Ferstl. “With this being the case, many credit unions are limited to only warehousing the data that is captured by their core system. Unfortunately, the good and really powerful data is captured outside the core.”


Service Bureau

Ferstl explained that the solution offered through the league takes OnApproach’s M360 data analytics platform and makes it available through a service bureau.


“There is the base layer, a SQL database, that captures all of the credit union’s data for them, and then pulls SQL reporting from it via a variety of tools,” said Ferstl. “We take that information, do all the data processing for the credit union, and then kick the reporting back to the CU.”


What this does, according to Ferstl, is eliminate the credit union’s need to buy data analytics hardware and software, address licensing, and take on the expense for the SQL programmer and the data scientist. Ferstl added that the system has an open API capability, which allows simple linking to new business areas without having to pay a connection charge.


Ferstl said the tough situation facing small credit unions is that to do Big Data on their own generally means a lot of staff hours over several years to create their own database, at a cost of around $2 to $3 million.


“Going with the league’s solution will be a small fraction of that cost,” said Ferstl.

Ferstl noted that the league can go back as far as seven years and collect data.

“Now you can do trending and analysis on all that data,” he said.


Trending Modules

Ferstl added that participating credit unions that don’t have several years of data on a certain product can benefit from trending models produced from an aggregate of similar CUs that have signed on with the service bureau.


“For example, a small CU that does not have enough loss history to build their own appropriate ALM model,” said Ferstl. “But if I can take data from a large number of similar-size, similar-portfolio credit unions in Minnesota and go back seven years, we can build an ALM model that is appropriate for their credit union.”


The data analytics CUSO OnApproach said it is looking to expand the offering, which it termed as important to credit unions as ATM sharing and shared branches, to other providers across the country.


The Minnesota Item Processing Corporation (MnIPC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Minnesota Credit Union Network offers OnApproach solutions to clients in both hosted and service-bureau environments. For more information, contact MnCUN Director of Business Development Kris Jacobsen by email or by phone at (651) 288-5515 or toll free at (800) 477-1034.




Follow the links on the stories below to read more about the outstanding programs, new initiatives and well-deserved recognition received by your peers recently. Got news of your own? Send stories, pitches, press releases and published articles to MnCUN Communications Specialist Laura Whittet.




Upcoming Crew Volunteer Opportunity in St. Cloud

Registration is now open for the Wednesday, October 5 Crew volunteer day at Anna Marie's Alliance in St. Cloud. Anne Marie's Alliance provides women and their children experiencing domestic abuse with a safe place to stay and resources to eliminate/escape domestic abuse.


In order to respect the privacy and security of those living at Anna Marie's the exact address will be sent to individuals registered to volunteer.


There is no cost to this volunteer opportunity but you are encouraged to bring yard cleanup tools if you have them.


More information and registration is available on the MnCUN event calendar. With questions, contact Crew Liaison Laura Whittet by email or by phone at (651) 288-5503.



Fall Minnesota Credit Union Foundation Financial Education Grant Application Period Is Now Open

The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation – with the mission of providing resources for credit unions and communities to prosper and thrive – has a strong commitment to financial education. The Foundation is offering $25,000 in grants to assist Minnesota credit unions in implementing financial education projects.


Minnesota credit unions may partner with non-credit union organizations for grant funding, so long as the project demonstrates a positive impact on a credit union’s community. Applications will be evaluated on a variety of factors, including credit union value, community impact, collaboration, creativity, and receipt of previous funding.


Applications are currently being accepted through Friday, September 23. Grants will be evaluated by the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation Board of Directors, and recipients will be announced by October 10.


Examples of financial education projects/initiatives include:


  • establishing an in-school branch
  • hosting seminars on credit, debt, budgeting, etc., for members of the community
  • teaching financial literacy classes in local schools
  • partnering with a community organization to teach personal finance skills
  • coordinating retirement or estate planning workshops
  • supplying local schools with financial education curriculum


Grants are not eligible to fund: salaries, pass-through funding, incentive payments, or products/services that exclusively benefit members. A grant application may include these elements as a part of the overall project, but will be excluded from funding consideration.


With questions, please contact Minnesota Credit Union Foundation Executive Director, Lyndsay Miller.



A message from Gillette Childrens Specialty Healthcare: You Helped Redefine Possibilities for Kids in 2015.

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare has released its 2015 Annual Report. The report, titled Redefining Possibilities is now online.


“In addition to providing the best medical science and technology, we have people who are the best at what they do. From the bedside to the boardroom, Gillette staff members and supporters work with a singular focus: to put the patient first,” writes Barbara Joers, president and CEO, in the opening letter to the 2015 annual report. “Thank you for helping us continue to explore new treatment options, conduct research that advances the field of medicine, and advocate for communities to welcome and embrace people of all abilities.”


Credit unions across Minnesota support Gillette Children’s Healthcare through the Minnesota Credit Union for Kids Committee (MnCU4Kids). MnCU4Kids is a collaboration of credit unions, chapters, leagues and business partners engaged in fundraising activities to benefit Children’s Miracle Network-affiliate hospitals. All money raised through Minnesota’s Credit Unions for Kids program supports Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, which helps kids with disabilities and chronic conditions. Gillette is based in St. Paul, with clinics located around the state. Credit Unions for Kids is a national program.

Minnesota Credit Union Network
555 Wabasha Street N, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55102

(651) 288-5170
(800) 477-1034