Power of Partnerships: Why Openness Matters for Credit Union Growth

Discover how Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union leveraged an open core and innovative digital banking partner to better serve their members.
May 3, 2023
Erin Mincer
Sr. Content Marketer
Molly Riesenberger
Product Marketing Manager

Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union (GAFCU) recently partnered with Narmi to discuss how they have achieved rapid yet sustainable growth by adopting an open core and collaborating with an innovative digital banking provider. During the session, Glenn Guinto, CEO & President, Daniel Mezzina, Director of IT, and Amanda Carratello, Director of Operations, shared their experience of having an open core and how it has led to innovative partnerships that greatly benefit their members. Their insights provided a unique behind-the-scenes look into the advantages of open banking for credit unions.

The importance of openness

When GAFCU decided to move away from their legacy core system, one of their top priorities was finding a core that offered openness. After soliciting RFPs from several vendors, they ultimately chose Corelation's Keystone core for its open API structure, which provides greater flexibility and customization options. Additionally, GAFCU appreciated Corelation's forward-thinking approach, which aligned well with their own culture.

“We liked the idea of the Corelation platform being as open as it can be,” Glenn Guinto, CEO & President of GAFCU explained. “I personally love the culture of the company. It’s almost like a start-up type mentality where everyone is doing their part and making things better, similar to what I see at Narmi as well.”

After selecting their new core provider, GAFCU set out to find a digital banking and account opening partner that could best serve their members. Thanks to the openness of Corelation's core and thus the ability to be vendor agnostic, GAFCU had a wide range of options to choose from. This flexibility enabled them to partner with "best of breed" products, ultimately leading them to Narmi. After considering three different vendors, GAFCU was won over by Narmi's sleek design and user-friendly account opening platform.

“When I saw the digital account opening [platform], I was blown away.” – Glenn Guinto, GAFCU CEO & President 

Narmi’s recognition as a Corelation Certified Partner further validated GAFCU’s decision. As Daniel Mezzina, Director of IT, highlighted, “Usually the first place I look for vendor relationships is the Corelation Preferred Partners list. It’s been a great resource so far and hasn’t steered us wrong.”

Remaining focused on the needs of members

After implementing both Corelation and Narmi, GAFCU understood the importance of ensuring that their members could take full advantage of the new offerings. To this end, Amanda Carratello, Director of Operations, emphasized the value of having subject matter experts available in person to assist members at their branches.

“We had subject matter experts at our branches to guide our membership if they needed help with the new platform,” she noted. “Having subject matter experts at your branches, at your call centers, is extremely important [in order to] guide the membership and get buy-in on the new technology.” Once members were familiar with the new platform, they were impressed with the speed at which they could open accounts and apply for loans. 

These enhancements that Narmi was able to offer for both digital account opening and digital banking ensured that GAFCU was better positioned to keep up with the pace of evolving member needs. As Glenn explained, member needs are always at the forefront of the decision-making process. “At the end of the day it's all for the members and hopefully with all these innovation and technology advancements, the members will ultimately win,” he said.

Picking the right partners (not just vendors)

Since transitioning to Narmi, GAFCU experienced a remarkable 300% increase in account openings during the first 30 days, along with an impressive 116-fold growth in external ACH transfers. By integrating seamlessly with Corelation's core, Narmi enabled GAFCU to better meet the needs of its members while also providing an exceptional user experience.

When picking the right fintech partner, it is important to evaluate a company’s offerings, but it is also crucial to understand how you will work together throughout the implementation process (and beyond). “We look at it as a partnership, and we really take that word to heart,” Glenn remarked. “They’re vendor relationships, but they are really more partnerships. We’d like to think that we make each other better.”

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Power of Partnerships: Why Openness Matters for Credit Union Growth