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Credit Union Looks to Prosper from CRM

Westminster Savings Credit Union looks down under for a much needed sales-contact management solution.

Westminster Savings Credit Union has looked down under for a much needed sales-contact management solution.

The credit union, which operates eight retail branches in British Columbia, has licensed a customer relationship management (CRM) solution from Prosper Software Solutions, based in New South Wales, Australia. The firm claims 90 percent of the Australian credit union market.

The 280-employee credit union had grown to the point that "we knew we needed some kind of customer management, contact management tracking application," said Barry Ward, senior vice president and chief financial officer at $1 billion Westminster, which serves more than 50,000 clients in the lower mainland of B.C. "We started doing some research on what was out there in the market."

Westminster looked at a range of applications, such as Siebel, Pivotal and some "out-of-the-box stuff," Ward said. It was during the due diligence process that it learned about Prosper.

The company has more than 100 installations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. Its flagship product, Prosper Business Generator, monitors and reports on every contact that a customer has with the organization, helping firms build relationships with individual customers.

"The system allows you to have one consolidated overall view of the relationship with members," said Iean Tait, president of Toronto-based HomeBank Technologies, the exclusive Canadian reseller of Prosper.

The system tracks all bank customer interactions, whether through the branch, the phone or the Web. Unlike many CRM systems, Prosper has been specifically designed for the financial services industry, Tait added.

The Australian credit union system is similar to Canada's, noted Ward, and Prosper had what Westminster was looking for. For example, Westminster has a large focus on wealth management, employing up to 10 financial planners. The Prosper package provides everything from term deposits to real estate loans, personal and commercial lines of credit and mutual funds.

In addition, the CRM system had to be compatible with Westminster's core banking application, Ovation from Fincentric Corp. "We didn't want to keep a separate database for the CRM system," Ward said, citing synchronization issues.

The system went live in December, following a six-month installation and testing process.

"Everybody uses it," Ward said, adding that Westminster received 90 percent of the functionality it would have gotten with a "full blown" system, at a fraction of the price. The credit union also employs Prosper in its administrative support group, which is responsible for back-office functions.

The implementation went off without a hitch, Ward said, because Westminster did its homework.

"One thing we did right was we sat down and figured out what we wanted. We got a sense of what CRM is and what it isn't, and where the pitfalls are.

We really kind of kept it simple."

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