Category Archives: Press Releases

ESP to Deploy Redgate Software

Spokane Valley, WA – 03/28/2018 – Enhanced Software Products, Inc. (ESP) will deploy Redgate database management software to increase development efficiency.

Red Gate Software Ltd touts itself as “the leading provider of software for professionals working on the Microsoft data platform.”

ESP is currently implementing two Redgate modules: SQL Compare and SQL Doc.

SQL Compare allows developers to push database differences between separate databases and update them. This permits ESP programmers to quickly compare existing and future updates and find and correct errors that may occur, saving valuable time and prevent the repetition of tasks.

SQL Doc is software that enables programmers to add documentation at the field and object levels. In the future, new members of ESP’s Development team will be able to quickly get up to speed on the functionality of database entries and start coding. As this tool is more fully utilized in creating a “data dictionary“, the steep learning curve that exists will become non-existent.

Sean Hibbler, the Senior FORZA Developer at ESP, states that these software modules will “simply let us do our jobs better and with greater efficiency.”

ESP clients will be seeing the effects of this software in subsequent updates of FORZA.


About ESP, Inc.

ESP, Inc. is a provider of customer-centered core processing and technology solutions strictly for credit unions. Our solutions are designed to accomplish three main goals – to grow your credit union, to make your staff more efficient, and to empower your members. We accomplish this through our powerful FORZA3™ core processing software. Learn more at www.espsolution.net.

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If you would like more information on this topic please call John Demke at 800-456-5750, or email at jdemke@espsolution.net.

ADA Compliance Unicorn

Do you feel like you need an ADA Compliant site?

I have received a lot of calls lately on making public websites ADA Compliant. I am sure that number will shoot up after this email I received this morning – ADA Lawsuits Against CUs Spike in December. No matter how frustrated and (to be frank) ticked off this makes me, it is here. There are currently no guidelines to follow, so I feel your pain. But good news, I believe I have found the unicorn of credit union web developers!

As I have discussed in a previous email, ADA Compliance, there are options but are often too expensive of an investment right now for many of you. One option that was not included in the email is OMNICOMMANDER. I believe it is the best solution and it is a fraction of the investment of competing developers.

I’m excited to introduce OMNICOMMANDER, “the credit union industry’s first website platform that is exclusively focused on design and ensures every touch-point will have the exact same user interface”. They will rebuild your site in full ADA Compliance. Not only that, they will continually test your site to make sure it is in compliance into the future.

OMNICOMMANDER’s 4-Step Process:

Step 1. Our developers have gone through extensive ADA training and are experts in building sites to be accessible to those with vision, hearing, cognitive impairments.

Step 2. We have a full time ADA Compliance Officer. James Harrington is a Member of the IAAP (International Associating of Accessibility Professionals.) He has “Advanced Web Accessibility Training ” classes and attends ADA Compliance Meetings in specific regard to Credit Unions.

Step 3. SSG (Retired) Aaron Hale is a 14 year veteran of both the Navy and Army. He deployed once to Iraq and it was on his second mission to Afghanistan where his career as as Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Team Leader ended. An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded in front of Aaron, severely wounding him and taking his eyesight.

Before going live with a new website, Aaron goes through every page utilizing assistive technologies to ensure that it is accessible for those individuals with vision impairments. The ONLY way that you can ensure that you website is accessible is by going through it manually. Scanners can produce false positives and false negatives. This is the reason the latest standards in accessibility (WCAG2.1) include manual reviews.

Step 4. We have partnered with an independent 3rd party to provide a certificate of accessibility. Through this partnership, we have secured a discounted certification process that at the end of the engagement will result in a letter of accessibility that can be posted on the credit union’s website.

Example:

Getting Started:

You want to know more, please contact ESP Sales at sales@espsolution.net and we will have an OMNICOMMANDER representative contact you with more details.

  • We simply did the legwork to find you another solution. We are not involved in the process and no billing goes through us.
  • You will work out the build cost with OMNICOMMANDER.
  • OMNICOMMANDER will host your new site, extremely reasonably. (This allows them greater flexibility when comes time to address your ADA Compliance.)

As you can tell, I am overly excited about this solution. I have been fielding as many calls on this as I did with MFA (which oddly enough, did not have an initial guideline either). We will always hunt down solutions for you, even when we are not primarily involved. I think that is important for our partnership. You can rely on us to have an “ear to the ground” on emergent technology issues and I intend to live up to that expectation.

Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Three CUs Renew With ESP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Three CUs Renew With ESP

Spokane Valley, WA – 07/24/2017 – ESP is proud to announce that three credit unions have agreed to renew their core processing contracts already this year. Rockford Bell Credit Union, Toledo Postal Employees Credit Union, and Cottonwood Community Federal Credit Union have chosen to continue serving their members on the FORZA3™ platform.

Rockford Bell Credit Union of Loves Park, IL was organized in 1935 by employees of Illinois Bell Telephone Company. They prospered for many years with their commitment to community support. In the 1980s, after the breakup of Bell Telephone, Rockford Bell Credit Union began to accept other employee groups.

With assets of $30,000,000 and over 4,300 members, Rockford Bell CU serves eight counties in northwestern Illinois and over thirty-five different employee groups. They operate two full-time locations at Loves Park and Mt. Morris. ESP, Inc. has been providing core processing services since 2004.

Toledo Postal Employees Credit Union was formed in 1932, strictly for postal employees living in Toledo, OH. In subsequent years, the credit union was opened to all classified postal employees in zip codes surrounding Toledo and later to include family members.

1,100 members currently access their single branch inside the Toledo Post Office. They have been a client of ESP since 1996.

Cottonwood Community Federal Credit Union Cottonwood, ID was organized in 1942 so that the community could save together and provide low-cost loans to credit union members. They now serve all of Idaho and Lewis Counties providing service to low-income areas and people without adequate access to credit union services.

The credit union consists of 4,600 members with $78,000,000 in assets. Members receive service at three branch locations in the West Central portion of the state. They have been a client of ESP since 2012.

ESP is honored by these credit union’s continued partnership and will serve them long into the future.


About ESP, Inc.

ESP, Inc. is a provider of customer-centered core processing and technology solutions strictly for credit unions. Our solutions are designed to accomplish three main goals – to grow your credit union, to make your staff more efficient, and to empower your members. We accomplish this through our powerful FORZA3™ core processing software. Learn more at www.espsolution.net.

Press Contact

John Demke
Marketing Guru
800-456-5750
jdemke@espsolution.net

How to detect a phishing attack

Forward – Phishing attack against American Lake CU

We have recently become aware of a phishing attack against members of American Lake CU.  This attack is a variant of one which has existed since 2008, and has also targeted Chase and Bank of America customers.  It is our hope that this article will provide information both to mitigate the danger posed by this attack and by future attacks, for both members and non-members of American Lake CU.

The phishing attack has shown two variants so far:

From: American Lake <wiw@mail.popcorn.com.zalando.fr>
Date: July 11, 2017 at 9:52:42 AM EDT
To: <xxxxxxxx@msn.com>
Subject: Online Verification
Dear Customer,
We’re sorry – we suspended your access to your American Lake account because of recent activity on your account.
Click Here To Activate Your Account.
Sincerely,
Copyright © 2017 American Lake CU.
All Rights Reserved.

From: American Lake <INFO.6BNWLND1ZTQ2811@mailling.live.fr>
Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 5:02 PM
To: xxxxxxx@live.com
Subject: Systems Maintenance Services.

Security Alert

Dear Customer,
We are letting you know that due to an ongoing General system maintenance in our Online Banking Database its mandatory for you to Verify Your American Lake Account in order to enjoy our online banking service. We request that you complete this quick Verification process. If this is not done as urgent as possible your account might be deactivated at once.
Online Verification

This morning (7/12/2017), a second variant with a different phishing page and different email appeared. We have already gotten two phishing pages, that the emails linked to, taken down – however, variants may continue to spread. With that in mind, please read the following information closely:

What is phishing?

One of the most popular “hacking” techniques, phishing relies on vulnerabilities in people rather than in code.  Phishing campaigns take advantage of human fallibility to convince targets to voluntarily give up their sensitive information to attackers for financial gain.  The infamous “Nigerian Prince” phishing scam presents an example of this: with a sometimes convincing story, individuals are convinced to hand over personal information (bank account information, passport scans, etc) in exchange for the promise of money.  More common today are phishing attacks targeting financial institutions such as credit unions.

How does phishing work?

Phishing attacks work much like marketing campaigns, in that they operate a “funnel” – enormous numbers of phishing emails are sent out to equally enormous numbers of recipients, in hopes that some of them don’t immediately skip over it, some of the remainder open the email, some of that remainder take it seriously enough to click the link, some of those go on to enter their information, etc.

Note that while email-based phishing campaigns are most common, they can also operate through unsolicited phone calls and even traditional “snail-mail”!

How do I protect myself from phishing?

To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of phishing, it’s important to keep yourself from ‘falling down’ the funnel mentioned earlier, and to stop yourself as soon as possible in the process of becoming a victim.

Limit exposure to phishing email

While there is no fool-proof method to keep yourself from receiving phishing email, there are some tips you can use to limit the number you receive:

  1. Use an email account with spam filtering
    1. Even most free email providers offer this.
  2. Be careful where you post your email address
    1. Don’t post your email address in public comments, on public websites, etc.
    2. Try to use a different email address (or alias) for your “important” accounts, such as Online Banking, from accounts you use for online games, for example.

Recognize phishing email

When you receive an email, especially relating to your credit union account, ask the following questions to try to reduce the risk of taking a phishing email seriously:

  1. Does this pertain to me?
    1. If you are not a member of American Lake CU, and you receive an email asking for you to do something for your account there, you should ignore it.  After all, you have no account, so it couldn’t possibly be applicable to you.
  2. Does it sound professional?
    1. If the email contains strange variations in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or case, this can be an indication that it is illegitimate.  Attackers often do this to try to evade spam filters, or simply as a result of not speaking English as a first language.
  3. Is this email from who it says it is?
    1. Note that while it is trivial to spoof email addresses, these are typically more obvious to spam filters.  Many attackers will send from email addresses completely unrelated to the institution they’re phishing.  Look at the “from” address and see if it even claims to be coming from the institution.
  4. Are they asking me to give them something?
    1. Legitimate institutions will virtually never send you unsolicited email requesting that you enter personal information.  Always check with the institution to make sure such unusual requests are legitimate.

Check the address bar

While you should always try to avoid interacting with phishing emails, if you do find yourself on a website and about to enter your personal information, you should always double check the address bar to verify the “domain” of the website.  Phishing websites almost always have a different (but sometimes similar!) address to the legitimate site.

The address bar is located at the top of the window:

American Lake CU uses a technology called “EV-SSL” to provide both encryption of traffic to its website and verification of the website’s identity.  Members of the CU should check the address bar to ensure that the CU name is indicated, as well as the domain “americanlake.org”:

Online banking for American Lake CU looks very similar:

Note the similarities for the above two images, are compared to this phishing page:

  • The address isn’t similar
  • No “https”, no green padlock, no CU name in address bar

Some phishing scams may be look closer, such as registering “anericanlakecu.org” as opposed to “americanlakecu.org”, for example.

If in doubt, call your institution!

If you think there’s a chance the email could be illegitimate, call the institution (such as your credit union) using a number you know is legitimate, and ask them about the email you received.  If it is illegitimate, they can use this as a warning for others!

When in doubt, especially if you are being asked for more or different information than normal, and especially if you were solicited to give this information via email, contact your credit union!

ESP Expands Sig Pad Solutions

ESP is currently developing drivers to integrate new signature pads into the FORZA3™ core processing platform. Our clients have requested that we build this functionality to give them more flexibility in their options.

Recent technology advancements in signature pad hardware and design are precipitating this development. Modern “sig pads” can incorporate color displays, hardened glass writing surfaces, and advanced security measures.

New pads that we are coding for include the Wacom STU-530 and the Topaz T-LBK57GC and T-S460 models.

Wacom STU-530

Topaz T-LBK57GC

Topaz T-S460

Jeff Tartt, an ESP developer on this project, was enthusiastic about coding this solution and offering more functionality to our clients. Our newest clients want to use their existing sig pads and we were more than willing to fulfill their request.

“Working on hardware solutions is great. Our clients requested that they have more options with their sig pad choices. We were all onboard for accommodating their wishes.” — Jeff Tartt

Demo of the Wacom STU-530

Demo of the Wacom STU-530

The drivers for these new signature pads are planned to be available for our next update of FORZA3™. Look for them in the near future.

If you’d like to know more about the signature pads available, please feel free to call us and ask for Sales at 800-456-5750.

ESP Receives Externship Recognition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

ESP Receives Externship Recognition

Spokane Valley, WA – 06/14/2017 – ESP, Inc. was recently presented with a plaque of recognition for participating in Spokane Public Schools CTE Teacher Externship.

In the Summer of 2016, ESP acted as a host for a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher from Spokane Public Schools. This newly developed program gives real-world experience to educators by placing them in a local business for a few hours or days to learn the ins and outs of current industry practices.

Will H. Saret, Director of Career and Technical Education for Spokane Public Schools, thanked local businesses for their participation in the program and stressed how effective the program is in the lives of teachers and students.

“Teachers gained knowledge of how their classroom content could lead to work in [a specific industry.] These connections with real-world information have proven instrumental in how teachers and, most importantly, students see the relevance of their education.” – Will H. Saret

(L to R) Matt Lefler; Alex Ray

Matt Lefler, who oversees ESP’s Operations, views the opportunity to host an externship as a win-win – the extern learns about the industry they are researching and ESP gets to educate the extern on what the industry is looking for in terms of qualified job candidates.

“We strive to support our local community – especially education. We are always looking to pass on our knowledge. Hopefully, through this cooperation, we can give insight as to what employers are seeking from educators.” – Matt Lefler

The externship was directly facilitated by ESP’s Alex Ray. As Network Security Engineer, Alex demonstrated daily tasks, incident response, and the hardware infrastructure used to provide core processing services to clients. Of particular emphasis was the post-mortem process on service issues to prevent problems in the future. On the value of a professional externship for educators he stated:

“Teachers should definitely experience an externship within a business sector before actually advising students on their future career paths.” – Alex Ray

Terry Yeigh, a teacher of Computer Science at Rogers High School in Spokane, WA spent at day at the ESP facilities where he job shadowed Alex Rey. He learned practical experience in network management and was able to take that experience back to his classroom. The practical experience he gathered was directly applicable to the course he teaches in Cyber Security.

“Eventhough I realize how important cybersecurity is in the banking industry, just seeing it in action and knowing how much responsibility Alex had was pretty overwhelming. I was amazed at the amount of software tools Alex uses to make sure the network is secure.” – Terry Yeigh

One of the primary takeaways Terry had from this experience is that there is a future for his students within in the local economy for dedicated IT professionals.

 “Showing students that we have Alex – an expert in his field, who is working with cybersecurity for a small company, definitley shows them that there is opportunty out there.” – Terry Yeigh

Terry wholeheartedly endorses the externship program and suggests other educators try it for themselves. He was also asked in several meetings to speak on his experience with ESP. He related that actually seeing a professional in the banking industry working to secure servers and their data was the capstone of his experience.

ESP looks forward to working with more educators in the future.


About ESP, Inc.

ESP, Inc. is a provider of customer-centered core processing and technology solutions strictly for credit unions. Our solutions are designed to accomplish three main goals – to grow your credit union, to make your staff more efficient, and to empower your members. We accomplish this through our powerful FORZA3™ core processing software. Learn more at www.espsolution.net.

Press Contact

John Demke
Marketing Guru
800-456-5750
jdemke@espsolution.net

KBR CU Converts to FORZA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

KBR CU Converts to FORZA

Spokane Valley, WA – 01/16/2017 – KBR Credit Union, a branch of American Lake CU, recently converted to ESP’s FORZA3™ core processing platform.

KBR Credit Union (KBR), located in Tacoma, WA, began serving employees of the St. Regis Paper Mill in 1949. “KBR” is short for “Kraft, Bag and Regional” – the three divisions of the mill at the time. In 2015 they merged with American Lake Credit Union (American Lake) located in Lakewood, WA. The merger allows for better access to products and services for the membership as well as bringing more convenience through additional locations.

KBR President Kolin McMann, who has been working in credit unions since he was 17, decided to press forward a core conversion for KBR. McMann began working at KBR in 2010 bringing his considerable credit union management experience and his degree in Accounting from Portland State University. He was later brought over to run American Lake and to manage the merger.

McMann had previously gone through two credit union core conversions and was well aware of the factors inherent in process. Drafting a full RFP (request for proposal), he and his team began to evaluate core processors that would meet 100% of their needs going forward.

“Being a small credit union, we needed something that was incredibly efficient and easy for our frontline staff to use.” – Kolin McMann

After evaluating many cores, McMann and his team selected FORZA3™. ESP was able to beat competing cores by providing the necessary ease-of-use with attractive pricing and no nickel-and-dime charges. KBR was also sold on its numerous third-party integrations and the diversity of other offerings as well. He also noted that “transactions are also much quicker” due to its built-in efficiencies.

Shelly Rogers, Conversion Lead at ESP, was a point person for the KBR conversion. She coordinated communication and the transfer of data between ESP and the existing core. Another important role she filled was to facilitate the verification process with third-party vendors to ensure all systems were functional on day one of the conversion.  She enjoyed working with the KBR staff to ensure a smooth transition.

“Working with the KBR staff was a pleasure! They were all very open with the change and excited about the new process. It was great working with a staff that fully embraces this new platform.” – Shelly Rogers

As often in business, timing is everything. Before a concrete conversion date was established, McMann had booked a vacation to Mexico. As luck would have it, it just happened to fall a full week prior to conversion – not a time that anyone would consider opportune. Although attempting to go “off-grid” vendors continued to attempt to contact him via phone and email to get specific data need for the conversion. Before he could respond and without him asking, ESP’s team, including Shelly Rogers, contacted the vendors, relayed that he was on vacation and provided the information they needed. This interaction ensured that when McMann returned his inbox was not filled with vendor requests.

“It showed that ESP is truly a partner for the credit union not just a vendor.” – Kolin McMann

ESP is looking forward to the American Lake CU conversion and the KBR data migration in March 2017. This will complete the full transformation of KBR into American Lake CU. For more information on KBR Credit Union, a branch of American Lake CU, visit their website at https://www.kbrcu.org/.


About ESP, Inc.

ESP, Inc. is a provider of customer-centered core processing and technology solutions strictly for credit unions. Our solutions are designed to accomplish three main goals – to grow your credit union, to make your staff more efficient, and to empower your members. We accomplish this through our powerful FORZA core processing software. Learn more at www.espsolution.net.

Press Contact

John Demke
Marketing Guru
800-456-5750
jdemke@espsolution.net

Real-time ATM/Debit for M.E. CU

M.E. Credit Union Upgrades to Real-time ATM/Debit

Spokane Valley, WA – 10/17/2016 – M.E. Employees Credit Union of Wausau, WI recently deployed Real-time ATM/Debit through their core processing vendor ESP.

M.E. Employees Credit Union (M.E. CU) was established in 1932 originally named O.K. Motors Credit Union. In 1946, the credit union changed its name to M.E. Employees Credit Union. It serves members within a 100-mile radius that work or have worked for Marathon Electric or Regal Beloit both manufacturers of electric motors and associated components.

After coming onboard as president in 2013, Tracie Wills had a goal to transition the credit union to Real-time ATM/Debit. Their legacy system utilized Positive Balance File Updates. She termed the old system as being “stuck in the Stone Age”.

Positive Balance Files don’t update until certain times of the day limiting member’s access to their money.  For example, if a member’s paycheck is deposited into their account at midnight and the Positive Balance File doesn’t update until 4:30pm, they cannot access their funds through their debit card until 4:30 that day.

To accommodate the changing needs of credit unions and their members, ESP partners with over 45+ vendors including all the ATM/Debit vendors. This diversity of vendors allowed ESP to extend a solution or connection to M.E. CU that was not cost prohibitive.

ESP President Shaun Murray finds value in matching credit unions with solutions that bring useful technology to their members and to do it at an affordable price point.

“We pride ourselves in making sure clients big and small can deploy solutions to keep them on the forefront of technology.  This project speaks to that commitment and we are excited for Tracie and her members,” – Shaun Murray

ESP makes the transactions, including pending, available on their core solution (FORZA) as well as Home Banking.  This provides the member AND staff with an up-to-date view of the flow of transactions.

On the deployment process Tracie Wills noted:

ESP is so great! We never have any issues with you guys. All we had to do was pick up the phone and call. During the transition your team was on top of things. [The] guys are excellent. – Tracie Wills

For more information on M.E. Employees Credit Union please visit their website.


About ESP, Inc.

ESP, Inc. is a provider of customer-centered core processing and technology solutions strictly for credit unions. Our solutions are designed to accomplish three main goals – to grow your credit union, to make your staff more efficient, and to empower your members. We accomplish this through our powerful FORZA core processing software. Learn more at www.espsolution.net.

Press Contact

John Demke
Marketing Guru
800-456-5750
jdemke@espsolution.net

New Website for NPM Credit Union

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

New Website for Northern Paper Mills Credit Union

Spokane Valley, WA – 07/21/2016 – Northern Paper Mills Credit Union (NPM Credit Union) of Green Bay, Wisconsin recently launched a new website to extend greater functionality to its members.

Serving 2,200 members in Brown County, NPM Credit Union sought a new website design that would empower its members particularly with emerging mobile technology. They have been in operation since 1933 originally serving employees of Northern Paper Mills. Their previous design had become old and outdated and needed an update.

A lot has changed since NPM Credit Union was founded over 80 years ago. To keep up with shifting demographics, membership has evolved to be open to anyone living or working in Brown County, Wisconsin.

Credit union president Maureen Bartley said of the new site, “it’s dynamic and adjusts to whatever device you use it on.”  Also she stated, “it’s convenient for anyone, anywhere.”

NPM Credit Union worked with an ESP third-party design firm, FDGweb out of Arlington, Washington. Their new site is built on the powerful but easy to use WordPress content management system. ESP provides web hosting of the site as a part of their service contract.

We are always thinking of what we can offer in terms of technology. It’s all about technology. Our resources are being dedicated in that direction. There’s a big push to attract young members. A powerful, new website is one way to do that. – Maureen Bartley

This new site will be a great platform to add new functionality well into the future. NPM Credit Union will soon be offering Remote Deposit Capture and is researching other solutions.

Please visit their site at: npmcu.com.


About ESP, Inc.

ESP, Inc. is a provider of customer-centered core processing and technology solutions strictly for credit unions. Our solutions are designed to accomplish three main goals – to grow your credit union, to make your staff more efficient, and to empower your members. We accomplish this through our powerful FORZA core processing software. Learn more at www.espsolution.net.

Press Contact

John Demke
Marketing Guru
800-456-5750
jdemke@espsolution.net

Pocatello Simplot CU Renews with ESP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Pocatello Simplot CU Renews with ESP

Spokane Valley, WA – 06/29/2016 – Pocatello Simplot Credit Union has renewed their service agreement with ESP (Enhanced Software Products) for another long term. Client renewals exceeding an industry average of 3 years is exciting, 12 clients have renewed in 2016 and they are renewing at an average of 7 years!

Pocatello Simplot CU is looking to deploy some new solutions that ESP has built, like Digital Documents and E-mail Receipts; while turning up other solutions that work well with FORZA, like DocuSign.

Pocatello Simplot CU is located in Pocatello, Idaho and has been serving employees and family of J.R. Simplot Company since 1955.

ESP is currently providing online banking, paperless receipts, real-time online ATM, audio banking and other services to Pocatello Simplot CU.


About ESP, Inc.

ESP, Inc. is a provider of customer-centered core processing and technology solutions strictly for credit unions. Our solutions are designed to accomplish three main goals – to grow your credit union, to make your staff more efficient, and to empower your members. We accomplish this through our powerful FORZA core processing software. Learn more at www.espsolution.net.

Press Contact

John Demke
Marketing Guru
800-456-5750
jdemke@espsolution.net