Corporate One Federal Credit Union is a leading wholesale financial services provider for more than 750 of America’s credit unions. With a history extending since 1949, Corporate One provides wholesale financial services, including management of approximately $6 billion in assets, correspondent services, electronic payment services, investment solutions, management of the Alliance One ATM-sharing co-operative, and a range of back-counter services used by member credit unions and other credit union-affiliated organizations.
Corporate One has a variety of systems of engagement used by its members, and although it is not directly consumer-facing, its systems are used by member credit unions to engage with their own membership. Recognizing that credit unions found core banking systems costly and slow to customize, Corporate One sought a technology partner with which to launch digital services that members could consume and adapt at speed and scale.
To achieve this quest for agility, Corporate One selected OutSystems: a visual model-driven development and delivery platform that allows developers to create enterprise-grade web and mobile applications. Further, Corporate One opted for additional security with OutSystems Sentry, which is reinforced with additional security, risk management, and monitoring for a SOC2 Type II compliance.
“We sought a more agile way to build and adapt these systems of engagement,” explains Jim Horlacher, EVP, Chief Information Officer of Corporate One. “What started as a way to build digital systems faster and reduce our maintenance effort, soon grew in scope, as we realized the benefit that such an approach would have if we could cascade it to our member credit unions and their members.”
“OutSystems Sentry gave us the peace of mind we were looking for, which was important considering we are handling sensitive financial data for hundreds of credit unions and millions of their members,” says Horlacher.
Today, hundreds of member credit unions access applications developed on OutSystems that help Corporate One stay relevant in a fast-changing financial market. OutSystems is an “overnight success” 20 years in the making that’s enabling a new class of developers to do their best work: building serious applications that have real business impact. OutSystems simplifies the complexity of developing applications and makes it possible to build faster, and better, than with writing code manually, from scratch.
A crucial capability that OutSystems provided Corporate One was to accommodate subsidiary companies within the same environment. This meant the central IT team at Corporate One could govern one environment, but partition it for multiple initiatives. Horlacher explains, “Our central IT team provides the oversight, then we have development teams spread around the wider organization.”
Those app dev teams include a central team focused on the digital experiences needed for credit unions to interact with Corporate One, and teams in two wholly-owned subsidiaries; Sherpa Technologies and Lucro Commercial Solutions.
For example, OutSystems worked closely with Lucro Commercial Solutions, Corporate One’s specialized Credit Union Service Organization helping credit unions maximize their returns from business lending, at a pivotal time. In 2019, Lucro’s digital lending strategy was thrown into turmoil when a competitor acquired their Fintech partner. Suddenly they needed a new technology solution, and the question was- should they build or buy? Lucro chose to build its own digital lending platform and was able to leverage Corporate One’s know-how and the OutSystems development environment to accelerate development massively.
In just 15 weeks, working with OutSystems partner Truewind, Lucro was able to escape their burning platform and create an ultra-configurable business lending platform – The Digital Business Lending Center – which already services 28 credit unions.
COVID-19 has been a massive test for Corporate One’s agile IT strategy with OutSystems and it has seen massive success. Most notably, Lucro deployed a system to process timely Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications – the final solution was delivered via OutSystems in just one week and deployed for multiple credit unions. Jim Gallagher, CEO at Lucro, takes up the story.
“The results have been phenomenal,” says Lucro CEO Jim Gallagher. “To deliver this kind of experience in one week is staggering. That’s a testament to the multi-tenant architecture and the ability to reuse so much of our previous development. We’ve grown our credit union customer base by two-thirds. Credit Unions were amazed that we could tailor the PPP application to their guidelines inside two hours. And they’ve had ringing endorsements from claimants about the user experience.”
From the perspective of Corporate One’s central IT team, the performance has been equally impressive. The automatic dependency checks and one-click deployment capabilities built into OutSystems made it easy for the operations team to push new versions from development to QA to production without a minute’s downtime.
The OutSystems Cloud environment scaled seamlessly to cope with suddenly increasing workload. Jim Horlacher says, “With PPP applications coming in from multiple credit unions we saw application hits climb steeply from around 1,100 per day to over 81,000 per day. The OutSystems performance monitoring dashboard made it easy to monitor performance. The APDEX score barely moved from 99% to 98%, which was remarkable considering the 700% plus increase in application hits.”
The crisis has been a defining moment for Corporate One’s IT approach and the OutSystems partnership. Horlacher says, “The management team now sees that this is more than just another way to build software. Speed and agility are crucial in such a challenging economy, and thanks to OutSystems and the ingenuity of our teams at Corporate One, Sherpa Technologies, and Lucro, we’re proud to make this kind of agility and innovation available to our members.”Click below to share this article