Category Archives: Press Releases

ESP Operator Now a CSR

Spokane Valley, WA – September 3rd, 2020 – ESP is proud to announce the cross-promotion of one of our talented team members into Client Services. Tyler Szabo has been with ESP since 2012.

In his new role as a Client Services Representative (CSR), Tyler will provide front line support on the various products and services. He will also manage client relationships through effective communication and provide resolutions to client issues.

Tyler has a wide range of practical expertise from his eight years working in several ESP departments. Szabo first started at ESP in Print Services where he produced millions of pieces of mail including monthly statements, notices, and tax forms. Next, he worked in ESP Operations where he processed transactions with multiple vendors and service providers.

What Tylers brings to Client Services is a deep grasp of the internal workings of ESP including the nuts and bolts of bank transactions, statements, and End-Of-Day processes. His understanding of the types of files and transmissions that our clients perform on a daily basis for their members and for the CU, in general, will be put to great use as a CSR.

Still, his biggest asset is his ability to communicate effectively with both clients and ESP staff. Welcome, Tyler.

Avista Corp. CU Chooses ESP

Spokane Valley, WA – June 17, 2020 – When Avista Corp. Credit Union sought a new core processor they ended up finding the perfect fit in their own backyard.

Avista Corp. Credit Union has been around since 1934 and serves the regular employees, retirees, and family members of the regional energy provider Avista Corporation and its subsidiaries. Their branch is conveniently located in the lobby of Avista headquarters in Spokane, WA. It proudly serves 3,900 members and managing $66,000,000 in assets and positions itself as a stable and progressive credit union in Spokane.

Besides providing great rates on dividends and loans, Avista Corp. Credit Union seeks to serve members by offering the right products, placing those in members’ hands, and never selling them something that they don’t need.

Chris Jentges, Assistant Manager of Avista Corp. Credit Union, was a key member of the discovery team seeking a new core processing provider. Before they sought their first RFP for a new core, he helped the Credit Union carefully craft an outline of goals and values that would dictate the direction of their search process.

“We were looking for a partner that met our core values. That being honesty, integrity, transparency, and doing the right thing. We also wanted a vendor that would have the ability and position to help us grow.”

– Chris Jentges

After a rigorous due diligence process, Avista Corp. Credit Union chose ESP’s FORZA3™ Core platform to serve its 3,900 members.

As the crow flies, ESP sits a mere five miles away from Avista Corp. Credit Union.

“Honestly, proximity was not the deciding quality of why we chose ESP. Even if they were halfway across the country, we’d get the same kind of service. 98% of our decision came because we determined they’re the right partner and 2% because they’re right down the street. It may just be the icing on the cake, but the cake is pretty exciting.”

– Chris Jentges

ESP has been providing core processing services strictly to credit unions for over 24 years. Avista Corp. Credit Union is now the 7th Washington-based credit union on the platform and an exciting addition to a local presence.

Proximity also provided the opportunity for Avista Corp. Credit Union to bring their IT staff in for a “meeting of the minds” with various teams at ESP. Alexander Ray, ESP’s Network Security Engineer, was impressed by their technical aptitude and was challenged by their degree of specificity and concern for information security.

“After meeting with the Credit Union, I went on with renewed focus to implement a number of security measures: the use of a 24x7x365 Security Operations Center in coordination with a more advanced Security Information and Event Management platform, a new Intrusion Detection System, and new controls and procedures to govern our information security program. I’m looking forward to how our partnership evolves and challenges us to improve!”

– Alexander Ray

Avista Corp. Credit Union is on the calendar to convert in the 1st quarter of 2021.

“ESP is part of our staff. They’re part of our family and they care about my members just as much as I do.”

– Chris Jentges

ESP’s President, Shaun Murray, who was integral to the process, stated that everyone at the Avista Corp. Credit Union was an absolute pleasure to work with. He claimed that there is a beautiful balance of playful work atmosphere, attention to planning and business, and a clear focus on the future. He added that their atmosphere and direction mirrors ESP’s objectives.

“I have always enjoyed the sales process with credit unions, and this was no exception. Avista Corp. Credit Union’s process was one that I admired. There was a lot of work on our part but it was well worth it. They properly drafted all partnerships and needs. This allowed those involved in the RFP process to address these areas directly and subsequently provided the Credit Union with exactly what they needed to make a decision. They were transparent, honest, and extremely helpful during the entire process. One more reason, I look forward to going live together in the 1st quarter of 2021. I know it is going to be a perfect partnership.”

– Shaun Murray

ESP Bill Pay Now Real-Time

Spokane Valley, WA – 5/28/2020 – Enhanced Software Products, Inc. (ESP) is pleased to announce its first deployment of real-time bill pay to its clients. Governmental Employees Credit Union (G.E.C.U.) of La Crosse, WI chose ESP’s Bill Pay with the added functionality of real-time collection to enable its members to better manage their finances.

Being an early adopter in new technology, ESP is one of a few US credit union core processors to offer a real-time bill pay solution.

ESP has a track record of providing low-cost yet cutting edge solutions to its customers. ESP’s Bill Pay uses the flexible architecture of its core processing platform FORZA3™ to secure funds directly through the core, making it possible to deliver the payment to payees immediately, with no risk to the credit union. This means that with ESP’s Bill Pay solution, members see the payments being made from their accounts with no delay for batch processes to run. Their available balances now truly reflect the state of their accounts. Members can ultimately better manage their budgets with real-time tools.

Encompassing an entire suite of bill paying functionality, ESP’s Bill Pay includes Account-to-Account (A2A), real-time Person-to-Person (P2P), as well as the ability to pay bills by capturing images with a smartphone (PicturePay®).

Other modules in the Bill Pay suite of products include:

  • PortalPay™ – Web Loan Payments
  • BizPay – Payroll and ACH Management
  • Vault – Document Storage
  • eBills – Complete Bill Management

eBills, an especially forward-thinking module of ESP Bill Pay, actually pulls invoices and up-to-the-minute information such as current balances, due dates, statement balances, and more right into Web Banking for the member – no more inputting information from a printed bill. This integration to over 12,000 of the largest payees is the next generation of bill pay technology.

With a direct connection with the core, credit union members can manage all their bills from one centralized location rather than making payments at each individual biller’s website.

To provide the best user experience possible moving forward, ESP will only offer its in-house bill pay as a real-time solution, which is delivered in partnership with Allied Payment Network. For more information on this solution contact sales@espsolution.net.

Coronavirus Contingencies

With the outbreak of COVID-19 in the headlines, we wanted to inform you that we have a plan in place to affect a continuation of service if the virus were to land in the Spokane community.

We have invested heavily in online technologies that will enable roughly 90% of our staff to work from home. Those 10% remaining are all from a singular department and have specific contingencies in place to guarantee that the service you have come to expect from ESP will continue. You will still be able to communicate with all ESP departments and individual Team Members via phone, email, and shared desktop.

Although this is new territory for ESP and we cannot predict the future, our promise to you is that we will do what it takes to deliver the products and services your members rely on.

New Client in Oregon!

We are excited to welcome IBEW/SJ Cascade FCU (Salem, OR) to ESP, Inc. this fall. Deploying all of our solutions and opening up partnerships for the credit unions’ success.

“An opportunity to show a new credit union what ESP and FORZA can do for them and their members is something we relish. We are comfortable with our approach, who we are and what we can accomplish for our clients. It is taken to a heightened level when we can serve credit unions in a new state. My Team is excited to expand our presence and fulfill all of the goals and objectives for IBEW/SJ. We have taken our pricing structure and worked it into a doable model for credit unions on the smaller side. Allowing them to compete with solutions like On-line ATM/Debit, all our Imaging Solutions, full Print Services, Web Banking, Audio Response, Bill Pay, etc. Our goal is to provide all credit unions with the opportunity to grow and it is a stance we are steadfast into seeing through. Welcome IBEW/SJ and Team, we are more than happy to invite you to our Family”, Shaun Murray, ESP, Inc.

ESP Partners with Tyfone

Spokane Valley, WA – 08/19/2019 – Enhanced Software Products, Inc. (ESP) partners with Tyfone Inc. to provide another option for home and mobile banking to clients.

Tyfone was the brainchild of its three founders: CEO, Dr. Siva G. Narenda; COO, Prabhakar Tadepalli; and chairman, Tom Spitzer. They started Tyfone with the goal of solving a major problem – the balancing of convenience and security in an ever-increasingly digital world. 15 years ago they thought the issue of internet security was incredibly important, and as we all know, it is actually gotten worse today.

Fundamentally, the process of onboarding and authenticating a digital user is not a trivial task – especially without compromising user experience. Digital security is not just a talking point for Tyfone, but an important element of their corporate culture and is built into their Digital Banking product.

Traditionally, the solution to this problem has been to sacrifice convenience for the sake of security. Systems were operated totally on “lockdown” which provided a high level of security but became a pain for actual users to prove their identity. Through its work in the federal government sector, Tyfone has come up with a solution that provides both a high level of security and user access.

Tyfone is genuinely concerned with how the products they create can serve the lives of everyday people. Modern digital banking users are goal-driven, they want to perform specific tasks with their applications and devices, to be done, and move on to the next item on their list. They demand access anytime and anywhere. Josh DeTar, Tyfone’s head of sales and marketing stated: “customers want a beautiful, clean, seamless experience where they can get what they’re looking for and to accomplish their goals.”

At its core, Tyfone believes that a strong collaborative relationship between the technology provider and the credit union is paramount in delivering service that makes sense for that specific credit union and its members. “Everyone builds features, not everyone builds relationships” added DeTar.

Tyfone found their corporate culture of service dovetailed nicely with the culture of credit unions. Through their conversations with numerous credit unions, Tyfone learned the importance of making their application interfaces follow a predictable, logical and easy-to-use workflow. A well-built financial services app empowers users to better manage their money and make better budgetary decisions. With User Experience (UX) as the driver of design, Tyfone seeks to serve their client’s members with solutions that help them achieve their goals. To their credit, Tyfone is currently working with two of the top 10 credit unions in the country to build their digital banking solution.

“Our applications are built for members to quickly identify how to accomplish the tasks that they set out to do. They should be able to easily log in and navigate the app because it feels familiar to all the other cutting-edge tech that they use every day.”

– Josh Detar

One aspect that Tyfone has programmed for is variability in human interaction with their applications. Since every user has a unique perspective on the way things should be done, Tyfone provides different ways of performing the same task. The key is to provide a framework of contextually relevant interactions. For instance, providing the functionality to make a loan payment from the loan balance screen will increase the usefulness and minimize the amount of time needed to complete a task. This same UX design mindset is throughout its digital banking solution.

Tyfone is excited to be partnering with ESP. Sharing a similar passion for providing exceptional customer service the common ground for their mutual admiration.

“At the end of the day, ESP is all about taking care of their customers. I can tell every single person that has dealt with ESP just 30 seconds into the conversation because of their positive interaction with them.”

– Josh Detar

Twyla Morales, “Duchess” of Deployment at ESP, has been a part of the team responsible for implementing the partnership with Tyfone. She was impressed by the strengths of Tyfone’s platform and commitment to customer service.

“Our partnership with Tyfone brings many opportunities for ESP and our clients! They provide a wealth of knowledge in the tech industry, as well as the financial services industry. Tyfone is a definite asset to our portfolio of trusted vendors.”

– Twyla Morales

Several of ESP’s customers are expected to be on Tyfone’s Digital Banking platform by first quarter of 2020.

GWUCUI Signs with ESP

Spokane Valley, WA – 07/30/2019 – George Washington University Credit Union Initiative (GWUCUI), Washington, DC, selects Enhanced Software Products as their core processing vendor.

Sahil Pankhaniya, Founder and CEO of GWUCUI, contemplated starting a credit union while touring colleges. He noticed several institutions he visited had student-run credit unions but his college of choice, George Washington University (GWU), did not.

“I thought it would be really cool not only to learn about this space but to also have a real meaningful impact on college students. There were a number of deficiencies especially in financial literacy education and financial planning. When I started talking to people the first few months of school freshman year, they all kind of echoed those same sentiments and so, decided that it would be a great opportunity to get one started.”

Sahil Pankhaniya – GWUCUI CEO

GWU is a private university chartered in 1821 and is located in Washington, DC – just a few blocks from the White House. Its three campuses: Foggy Bottom Campus, the Mount Vernon Campus, and the Virginia Science & Technology Campus serve roughly 27,000 students. The list of notable alumni is a who’s who of the worlds influential and powerful including Heads of State, U.S. Cabinet positions, Governors, U.S. Senators and Congressmen, media and sports personalities, and titans of industry.

With this history, influence, and illustrious alumni, GWU started a New Venture Competition in 2009 to provide a valuable real-world entrepreneurship opportunity to its students. Pankhaniya and his team including fellow students Chris Trummer and Allen Wang entered the competition with his student credit union concept. For their effort, their submission garnered $5,000 in seed money and over $15,000 in non-cash support. Over $319,000 in total prizes were awarded in the 2018 competition.

Pankhaniya found the key to a successful initiative to charter a student-run credit union was the recruitment of talented and dedicated staff. To get the concept off the ground, Pankhaniya looked at a number of other successful student-run credit unions to find out what they are doing to ensure a steady recruiting pipeline. For instance, he found Georgetown University Alumni & Student Federal Credit Union which has been around since the ’80s and they have been able to sustain themselves because they have really became rooted in the fiber of their school, including their business and consulting programs.

“Right off the bat, we began marketing GWUCUI as an internship opportunity for business and finance majors to learn and grow. This coming year we’re looking at 40 applications in our pipeline for the Fall.

Sahil Pankhaniya – GWUCUI CEO I CEO

Through this effort, they brought on some very talented freshmen last year. They expect that as students learn about GWUCUI’s mission and impact on the GWU community, they will be able to charter a credit union by May 1st, 2020 that will continue well into the future.

A major focus for GWUCUI in the coming year will be to create an effective hiring system so that they will have staff ready to provide phone support at their office space any given time. In addition to dedicated office staff, they will provide a backup level of customer support. Dubbed “Mobile Support Technicians”, these on-call customer support staff will aid members via phone whenever they have free time.

One thing that is unique about this project is the incredibly low overhead. Because the credit union will be completely digital, Pankhaniya states there won’t be any fixed costs. All staffing at GWUCUI will be on a volunteer basis so their only potential costs are persistent. Plus, working with ESP and other vendors, they are going to come out having very little cost of operation at all for the first three to five years.

In June 2019 ESP, Inc. was chosen to be an integral part of the start and growth of GWUCUI. FORZA, ESP’s core platform, is a perfect fit for a staff that needs an easy-to-use interface. It provides the necessary vendor integration, database access, and security to facilitate a truly digital credit union. “After a good, open conversation about each other’s futures, both parties were able to come to an agreement”, stated ESP’s President Shaun Murray.

“Matt Lefler (ESP Vice President) and I flew to George Washington University in June, to meet with Sahil Pankhaniya and Christian Trummer;; we were blown away by their understanding and commitment to the credit union movement and financial literacy. I decided at that moment, at that dinner, that we would do everything in our power to be a part of The Initiative.

Shaun Murray – ESP President

Mr. Pankhaniya and his Team took a new approach to choose a core processor – they looked to the digital banking provider first. ESP was lucky to be a part of the conversation because of its close partnership with Tyfone, the chosen digital banking provider for GWUCUI.

“We earned the nod because of our commitment to offering solutions in-house and our drive to ensure credit unions can partner with the vendors that will take them into the future. This is very exciting for us,”

Shaun Murray – ESP President

In all, college-aged young adults are going to bring a new approach to the way ESP looks at projects, makes some decisions, and is pushed to change to adapt to the next generation. Everyone at ESP is elated to work with such a great group of future financial leaders.  

Traditionally, credit unions generate income primarily by servicing home and car loans. For GWUCUI, those two means of income won’t occur – at least until after graduation. Still, they have identified a couple of very unique products that are specially tailored to GWU students: a credit building program, textbook loans, and internship loans.

The credit building program GWUCUI seeks to create will essentially be small personal loans provided to students to help build their credit score. Textbook and internship loans will perform like cash advances against on-campus jobs and paid internships, further building students’ credit. They will also offer savings and checking accounts with credit/debit cards.

The key to their digital experience will be their mobile banking platform, Tyfone. All of their products and services will be offered through their app. GWUCUI want to make it very easy for members to go online and apply for a loan. The application will come into the credit committee digitally where they will review the risk analysis, approve it, then send it off to underwriting.

“The mobile platform we have chosen, Tyfone, is state-of-the-art. It offers top-level security features and has a very lightweight interface for students to work with. We think it’s really going to be that well-rounded, greatest-degree experience for students. They’ll get all of their tailored and targeted products right on a clean 21st-century platform.”

Sahil Pankhaniya – GWUCUI CEO

True to the credit union philosophy of “people helping people”, GWUCUI seeks to help its student members by providing financial literacy. They are working hard to fill the gap students face in their personal monetary education. A significant metric of their success will be credit scores. With a target on financial literacy, GWUCUI will look at members who are part of their credit building program and observe how their credit scores are developed over the long term and compare them to the rest of the market. Their goal is to help GWU students develop their credit in a safe and secure manner.

As they build their deposit base, GWUCUI will then be able to offer home loans and auto loans to their alumni. But now their core focus is the undergraduate population and their unique needs.

We’re starting out by focusing on undergraduate students. As those undergraduate students graduate, we hope they’ll continue their membership with the credit union. By building up a strong, consistent base of alumni members, we will be able to maintain our credit union, moving forward.

Christian Trummer – GWUCUI CTO

Being a truly digital credit union will empower GWUCUI members to continue to connect with the university culture virtually anywhere. With a strong ATM network and shared branching, it will have the products and services to retain membership.

That’s one of the cool things about our model. A GWU student could move halfway across the world and could still access our services. They can still access to every single service wherever they are on the globe just like they could when they were just 10 minutes away from us living on campus.

Sahil Pankhaniya – GWUCUI CEO

A vital piece to the success of this initiative is the acceptance and support they have received from its vendors including ESP.

We salute all those who are trying to make a difference in the credit union industry, founded to be safe havens for people to save, to build credit, and to responsibly spend.

Sahil Pankhaniya – GWUCUI CEO

In all, GWUCUI believes the more student-run credit unions there are the better it is for the students and the better it is for the industry.  To get involved with or donate to the initiative, please visit GWUCUI.com.

Many Happy Returns Concludes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Spokane Valley, WA – 02/06/2019 –  ESP’s program for End-Of-Year tax documentation has concluded for the year. All in all, it was our most successful year ever.

Over the course of about three weeks, ESP Printing Services produced 45,000 tax mailings all while performing other regular print jobs such as Notice Printing and monthly statements.

In order to provide more timely completion of Many Happy Returns, ESP Print Services implemented a new program. By creating a sign-off calendar, ESP guaranteed a specific delivery date if the credit union completed their part of the process by a given date. It was incredibly successful with 100% of all deadlines met by ESP.

Brandon Frisch, Print Services Manager, stated his goal this year was to sew up a few previous issues, improve quality and to manage expectations on the part of clients and ESP.

“If you signed off by a certain date we guaranteed that the tax documents would be delivered by a specific date.”

– Brandon Frisch

Next year, Print Services will implement a few small changes to further improve the process and ensure guaranteed delivery dates.

Success: Audio Banking Migration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Spokane Valley, WA – 02/04/2019 – ESP, Inc. has now successfully ported all of the Tropo-based audio banking clients to the new Twilio-based solution. When CISCO announced at the end of 2018 that they were sunsetting the Tropo product line, we knew many of your credit union members depend upon phone banking; we had to find a solution. Our talented development team got to work immediately to find a solution that could continue the audio response solution without interuption.

When this project started, our team knew it would need to be successful on the first try with building a solution, whilst having no previous exposure to the new platform. After conducting extensive research on several possible platforms, we settled on a vendor that was technologically advanced and offered us a high degree of responsiveness.

Twyla Morales, Product Deployment Specialist at ESP, was the project manager of the hosted audio migration. In order to ensure a smooth transition with all 27 credit unions, she decided to conduct the migration in three phases in order to provide focused customer service to each client. Part of her job consisted of porting phone numbers from the existing vendor to the new vendor in a very specific time period.

This new vendor allows ESP an unprecedented level and access and control over the application. This gives us the ability to quick respond to and address issues as they arise, without relying on a third-party for implementation.

“We’re more educated into how the process works. Our previous vendor was more of a hands-off situation. They did all the work, while we awaited their changes on their timetable. With our new vendor, we are much more in control of the process which equates to enabling us to be more responsive to our credit unions.”

– Twyla Morales

Another key member of the migration team was George Saprito, a developer here at ESP. George was tasked with providing a seamless user experience for our Audio Banking users. Using the existing solution as a template, he coded the new solution to be totally familiar to those members that rely on phone banking. Start to finish the project took four months.

From the discovery phase and primary development through four rounds of exhaustive internal testing, our team did it all in-house. At the start of this project, ESP Development had zero experience coding on the new platform, but George was quickly up to speed. He noted the soundness of this new system.

“This new platform offers us a new level of stability. Plus, there’s a new set of features that we can tap into the future. It will easily allow us to program new features including multi-lingual capability.

– George Saprito

Another key part of this process will include a feedback survey. We want to know how well we did and how we can improve on this process in the future.

“We understand that third-party service changes are part of life in the modern era of acquisitions and mergers. There is always a chance that a company like Tropo, in this example, will get bought by a big company like CISCO. Tropo had a great product and was an upstart in the industry, so it wasn’t really a surprise when we got the notification. I am thrilled with our team, how they came together with a solid replacement for the Tropo service, created a plan that ensured no member impact, and delivered the seamless replacement on-time to our Client base.

– Matt Lefler

In all, the process, planning, coding, testing and porting a new solution in such a short span of time is remarkable. We are looking to this process as a standard for our development in the future.

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Szabo New Conversion Coordinator

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Spokane Valley, WA – 02/04/2019 – ESP taps Lexi Szabo as new Conversion Coordinator.

She started as a receptionist in the Summer of 2015. After being promoted to Client Services Representative, her ethic of high-level customer service garnered her three ESP Employee of the Year recognition awards.

Lexi Szabo, Conversion Coordinator

Lexi will be managing core conversions from beginning to end. A big part of her new position will be the coordination of communication between the client, their vendors and ESP. This ensures that all parties are on the same page and are in agreement for the portions of conversion they are responsible for.

“My intention is to continue refining what we’ve done in the past and make the process seamless for our new clients – making every step of the way clearly defined for everybody involved.”

– Lexi Szabo

True to form, Lexi immediately began the process of a core conversion upon her promotion. She’s currently working on a conversion that will develop her skills in project management, communication, and team building.

According to her manager, Shelly Rogers, her attention to detail, extensive client knowledge, her grasp of FORZA, and her tenacity are some of the qualities that garnered this promotion.

“She will undoubtedly provide outstanding customer service to our current clients and converting clients.”

– Shelly Rogers

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