BCU is one of the top 100 credit unions in the United States, serving over 341,000 members and managing over $5.7 billion in assets. As a largescale financial institution, BCU has numerous digital applications and systems that must work in concert to provide diverse services to individuals and businesses alike.
Amid rapid growth, BCU has been recognized repeatedly by industry peers and media as an innovative Credit Union with a leading IT department, taking advantage of technologically advanced solutions to deliver client facing and internal digital services, weather market changes, and continue offering superior financial services.
“In the financial industry, there’s always uncertainty at the macroeconomic level. The market is different today than it was a year ago, and the year before that,” said Scott Zulpo, CTO at BCU. “Whether you’re a credit union or a bank, we’re all trying to forecast these shifts and address them, from the government regulation level, from the public demand level, and for us at the technological level.”
While facing these challenges, BCU must also ensure a stellar experience for its members to differentiate its offerings and stay on the cutting-edge. In the post-COVID world, that translates to mobile-first banking underpinned by strong technology.
“The technology touches everything with the member experience. It’s been amazing to see the adoption of mobile and web services, from all different age groups and demographics,” said Zulpo. “Our focus in the next year and beyond is how can we ensure we’re serving our members the best we possibly can. From a technology perspective, that means delivering solutions that offer exceptional benefits to our members.”
Mr. Zulpo has been with BCU since 2015, leading with an innovative mindset and a tolerance for risk – so long as the end result served the Credit Union and its members. From the jump, his focus has been improving technology services, starting with a complex web of solutions that he slowly untangled and modernized.
“Going back six or seven years, we were doing hundreds of small projects. “Now we’re approximately 75% in the cloud and have our key ecosystems in place,” said Zulpo. "Now we’re approximately 75% in the cloud and have our key ecosystems in place. The ongoing focus will be to leverage these ecosystems and extend their capabilities.”
But even a talented team with a leader like Mr. Zulpo can’t always accomplish projects of this scale on their own. Trusted third-party advisers are essential as BCU staff focuses on supporting members and internal departments like Human Resources.
“We do not have a large IT department. Therefore, we look to leverage our partners' skillsets and experience to assist with large scale cloud migrations,” said Zulpo. “They bring to the table not only the resources, but the playbook and processes to ensure a successful implementation.”
Enter Lunavi, a strategic partner for BCU over many years. The companies first worked together on a Citrix modernization project and the relationship has grown deeper over ensuing engagements. The BCU team has been impressed with Lunavi’s culture of innovation and ability to not only complete the work, but also impart knowledge and best practices.
“Lunavi doesn’t only come in and perform the work, but they help educate. They train the existing team and we learn best practices, not only the technology itself,” said Zulpo. “It feels like they’re not a resource, they’re an extension of my organization. They’re part of my team.”
Throughout various projects, Lunavi has helped BCU upgrade to a new Digital Banking platform, while modernizing and migrating dozens of supplemental applications and services. Speed of delivery, ease of use, and integration with other components were all essential as the organization looked towards the cloud.
“Undertaking modernization and migration projects like this, rolling out a new Digital Banking platform that is going to affect every single member of our Credit Union, always comes with a lot of risk,” said Zulpo. “But we’re always looking at 5 years out or 10 years from now, what’s the right thing to do for those members?”
Beyond the Digital Banking platform upgrades, Lunavi has assisted BCU with numerous smaller initiatives ranging from disaster recovery and system resiliency to middleware code rewrites.
Throughout it all, Lunavi Delivery Teams have worked closely with BCU infrastructure, software, and security teams to impart Agile methodology and best practices within Microsoft Azure.
“We expect a lot from our partners. Our team is driven and we want to be the best. But we expect our partners to push as well. We’re not just looking for someone to take the order and fulfill it. We’re looking for them to come in and help us be the best of the best by telling us where we’re doing well and where we need to do better,” said Zulpo.
“And that’s what Lunavi has done, brought in that discipline for us in a constructive and professional manner.”
The trust and partnership built over many years continues to pay dividends as Zulpo considers cloud optimization and data modernization projects in 2023 and beyond. Ultimately, pushing banking technology to the next level leads to satisfied members and continued success for the Credit Union.
“We want to provide better services not only for our existing members but to continue our growth,” said Zulpo. “We expect Lunavi will continue to help us improve performance, enhance our services, and position ourselves for the future.”
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