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Core Conversions: We’ve Seen a Few!

Core conversion is inevitable with institutional growth. State National has witnessed hundreds of our credit union, bank, and finance company partners’ core conversions.

Based on careful pattern observations, we share insights on ensuring a seamless transition so you can “measure twice and convert once.”

Undertaking a core conversion is no small task and it’s a decision no financial institution takes lightly. When researching how to do a successful conversion, it quickly becomes clear that it is a complicated and time-consuming process that can sometimes lead to a whole host of problems for both users and customers.

However, as institutions grow and adopt newer, more advanced technology, the need for a core conversion can become unavoidable. Overall, that’s great news, because it means you’re growing! But because it is such a significant, lengthy, and costly endeavor, it’s important to take it on with eyes wide open.

As the largest writer of portfolio protection in the industry and among the longest in business with nearly 50 years of experience, State National has been witness to hundreds of our partners’ core conversions. Following are some of our insights and observations for those who may also be thinking about beginning this significant transition.

Learn From Others’ Experiences and Expertise

While there is no simple solution to make this process problem-free, there are proven best practices that can help. By listening to and implementing expert advice from core processor providers as well as peers that have gone through the conversion process, you can help set the stage for a smoother and more seamless transition as you undertake this major system overhaul.

  1. Establish a Dedicated Team

    Core conversions are often perceived solely as an IT project. However, the most successful conversions involve senior leadership from the beginning to ensure the conversion aligns with user needs in each department as well as customer needs, wants, and expectations. Consider hiring or assigning a dedicated project manager to create a detailed and thorough project plan — and hold all stakeholders accountable to that plan — before the process even kicks off. When it comes to core conversion, the devil is in the details. Someone who is fully dedicated and invested can closely oversee project mapping, testing, and training.

  2. Evaluate the Vendors in the Field

    Many core processor vendors are available, and the right partner depends on what is most important for your specific business needs and your customers. Important items to consider are Marketing Customer Information File (MCIF) analysis functionality, native application integration, availability of third-party integration, data mining capability, mortgage servicing, and, of course, implementation costs and ongoing maintenance fees.

  3. Think Ahead

    Take time to understand the details of each proposal to fully comprehend the long-term impacts and benefits to your organization.

  4. Select the Right Business Partner

    Choose a vendor and core platform that best aligns and supports your organizational vision and direction.

  5. Have Dedicated Teams That lead and Drive the Conversion Process

    Details, details, details! A core conversion touches every part of your business, so don’t stay high level. Setting up function-focused teams for each department (such as a customer-facing team and a back office team) will allow for function-based assessment and keep the details in sight. Additionally, these teams allow every area of your business to evaluate processes and transactions that will need to change, make decisions about how to set up those changes, and troubleshoot challenges and problems in real time before the conversion actually takes place.

  6. Designate a Dedicated Training Leader

    This person should train all departments on the new core platform and ensure there is ample time for practice and experimentation before the go-live date — which is especially important for customer-facing functions. Make sure your training leader builds a variety of test cases to ensure a review of every possible scenario.

  7. Communicate

    Thorough communication, both internally and with your customers, should be a huge part of the plan. Everyone should be aware of what is happening well in advance of the go-live date. Also, consider having a plan for ample, even excess, staffing in your call center during the mock conversions, during conversion weekend, and after going live.

  8. Communicate Some More

     

    Constant communication with technology partners and vendors is also a key component to ensuring a successful rollout. As one of the partners, we would encourage you to communicate with your partners and vendors before you start the conversion process to ensure all stakeholders are involved and invested in the testing plan/schedule.

    Involve your technology partners in your core conversion

  9. Maintain Agility and Flexibility

    Recognize that there will be setbacks in any process, so plan for more time and resources than you think you’ll need to allow for adjustments along the way. It’s also important to recognize wins and achievements as milestones are reached, so you can continue to engage and motivate staff through the challenges.

  10. Celebrate!

    The whole reason you implemented a core conversion is to take advantage of the new features, benefits, and efficiencies that will be available with your new core platform! Keep staff engaged and motivated by celebrating milestones along the way as well as post-conversion, and make it a point to recognize the teammates who worked so diligently to make the conversion happen.


Measure Twice, Convert Once

Having a clear plan of action from the start provides peace of mind that your financial institution will be able to handle the challenges coming your way during the conversion process. More importantly, it will help ensure the successful implementation of a new core processing system that will provide long-term efficiencies for your team and organization as well as long-term value for your customers.

 

We know the strain and stress the conversion process can place on a financial institution’s business resources, which is why we want to help make things as simple and straightforward as possible. We offer direct integration with the Temenos and Symitar core processor platforms, and have the ability to automate and customize file transfer with the vast majority of core processing platforms across the industry. We also make sure our programs are smooth and seamless so that whatever your challenges and hurdles may be, portfolio protection will never be one of them.

Additional Resources:

Charlie Miller
Charlie Miller
Charlie Miller is State National’s Vice President of Client Services and Operations, overseeing the relationship- and service-focused client-facing team as well as our fundamental loan and insurance tracking operations, including Document Processing and our in-house Contact Center. Charlie’s core priority is delivering an exceptional client experience by building lasting partner relationships that exceed expectations while delivering efficient, cutting-edge processes focused on improving the experience of both our clients and their borrowers.

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How to Explain Collateral Protection Insurance to a Borrower

Equipping Your Staff At State National, we recognize that collateral protection insurance (CPI) is not a term every borrower knows. Here, CPI expert and Sr. Client Executive Kathy St. Clair shares her insights on how to educate borrowers about CPI and what to say if a borrower has questions about a CPI certificate placed on their loan. If you do not know what CPI is, we recommend first reading What Is Collateral Protection Insurance (CPI)?. Topics Covered in This Article Why your Client Executive is your expert navigator when it comes to CPI Being proactive and letting your borrower know about CPI when they sign up for a loan What to do when you don’t know how to answer a borrower’s CPI-related question Understanding InsurTrak Your Client Executive Is Your Expert Navigator When it Comes to CPI As a long-time client service provider for State National, I know that borrower satisfaction is vitally important to you, and to us. My mission in sharing this blog post is to help further inform you and your staff about how and when we recommend talking about CPI with your borrowers. When you communicate with State National, you are likely doing so through your Client Executive. You can think of us as your expert navigator, teammate, and guide for all of your collateral protection insurance program needs. Your Client Executive is always available to help you understand what your financial institution needs to do to ensure a successful CPI program. We understand that specific protocols will differ depending on your unique business needs, because no two financial institutions are the same. Your Client Executive is there to consult and collaborate with you as a partner. So while my explanation in this blog post can provide general tactics and strategies to strengthen your staff’s knowledge, the best methods to maximize your program benefits will come from working closely with your Client Executive and reporting any questions or concerns. Chances are, we already have a solution in our toolkit! Be Proactive and Let Your Borrower Know About CPI When They Sign Up for a Loan. When you communicate with your borrowers, it is best to be upfront, transparent, and informative. Some surprises can be great, but not all surprises are welcome! We always try to share with any staff members who work with loans how important it is to make borrowers fully aware that they are required to have insurance — and that they will see notices from you if they do not. By accepting a car loan, a borrower acknowledges that they will provide full-coverage insurance on the vehicle. Because of that, they need to ensure their insurance policy always remains active and up to date, and their agent or insurance company needs to list you as the lienholder. If that process works smoothly, they should never see any notifications regarding insurance. Your staff should also let borrowers know that if they receive a notice there are several ways to quickly and easily show proof of insurance. They should stress that notices regarding an insurance coverage lapse should never be ignored, but should be read immediately as they will give the borrower instructions on how to update their insurance to avoid having a certificate placed on their loan. Don’t Know How to Answer a Borrower's CPI-Related Question? We Have You Covered. Many of our partners have a hot button on their work phones. This button transfers a borrower’s call directly to our insurance verification department using your own custom 1-800 number that allows us to answer the call using your financial institution's name. You, or any member of your team who receives a CPI call, can let the borrower know they are being transferred to the insurance department for your CPI program. As an additional option, you can add a MyLoanInsurance link on your webpage so staff can direct borrowers to provide proof of insurance online. We want to take as much of the program administration off of you and your teammates as possible. If your team does not currently have a hot button that directs to our contact center or needs assistance with the MyLoanInsurance link, please let your Client Executive know. Your 24/7 Loan Insurance Status Assistant — InsurTrak! InsurTrak is the industry's only system built from scratch specifically for CPI. 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You can let your borrower know that after they provide that proof, the notices they are receiving will stop. And if a certificate has been placed on their loan, they will receive a CPI refund once they provide valid insurance information.   How do you answer specific questions a borrower may ask? Next week, look for Part 2 of How to Explain Collateral Protection Insurance to a Borrower for simple answers to common questions you and your staff may encounter regarding CPI.  

Celebrating Our Partnership With Filene!

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