June 23rd, 2021
By Doug Burke, President/CEO of Aux and InNetwork
How would I describe 2021? Well, I would say it’s the year we got back to business.
What I mean by the comment is this: 2020 was filled with uncertainty and starts & stops due to COVID. This year, most organizations determined we can’t just sit on the pause button forever so, we got back to business, just like you. We have developed strategies to manage and navigate around COVID, while delivering the quality services you have come to know from us.
So, what did the year look like from an Aux and InNetwork perspective?
We have made a number of business decisions to work around COVID, but one that has produced the most productive results is our ability to recruit and hire staff to work from remote locations anywhere in the country. We are proud to report that the Aux Team grew over 40% in the last year and a significant portion of those new positions are now located outside of Colorado. This has allowed us to hire the brightest and most talented staff and not be restricted by a geographical boundary.
InNetwork continued to provide shared branching services to the 115 credit unions over our seven state region.
We were happy to report all of locations that were closed due to COVID are back and available for members to use! As credit unions adjusted and scrambled to provide their members with the best digital experience, some members realized they liked doing digital services such as remote deposit capture, resulting in a decrease in transactions by over 30%. Members have a variety of channels today, and with the mix of channels and the forced immersion to digital, we believe shared branching transaction volumes will not return to pre-COVID levels. The member satisfaction conducting transactions in person remains high and will continue to be a choice in the delivery channel mix.
Aux’s continued experience with a COVID environment and economy produced mixed results in 2021.
Our Accounting Services exploded this year and appeared to be accelerating as more credit unions are exploring the benefits of outsourced services. One reason for the growth is the Great Resignation, as credit unions have lost staff and are challenged to find qualified replacements. A new customer story from Gulf Coast FCU illustrates the challenges smaller credit unions are facing. This growth has required our team to respond by recruiting new talent from around the country.
A new Strategic CFO Services was launched summer of 2021 and has proven to be quite popular in just six months. We discovered not all credit unions need our outsourced services, but a growing segment were looking for professional CFO assistance to segment their existing internal skills. The team helps credit unions with a range of services from Strategy Development, Liquidity Management, Exam and Audit Support and more. The services are provided by a combination Aux CFO staff as well as contracted former credit union CFOs who are passionate about assisting the credit union movement. This service has been a unique and beneficial blend of new resources with the credit unions’ existing experienced staff.
Regulatory compliance never stops. Every year the federal government and associated agencies manage to come up with new and modified rules and regulations every year. The Aux Compliance team is now serving over 50 credit unions and growing across the country. A combination of the changing regulations and the Great Resignation are contributing to the interest in the program.
Our Data Analytics program, called Cuery, has been burdened by COVID hesitancies, as credit unions have been more focused on a variety of digital strategies rather than adopting a new data analytics strategy as well as fears surrounding the economy. However, over the last eighteen months the development team has been making fantastic progress creating a SAAS based platform, dashboards, reports, and predictive models. The team has been busy onboarding our latest credit union and talking with other core providers to create a connection. The business development team has been busy lately with credit unions expressing interest in the platform, which bodes well for 2022. To see real-life examples of Cuery in action, take a look at our Cuery customer story with WyHy FCU.
Initially Aux teamed up with Information Builders to develop our platform, but they were acquired by a more powerful player in the market, TIBCO, considered one of the best (if not the best) data analytics providers in the nation! Adding TIBCO to the mix helps position Cuery for the future and ensures that credit unions under $1B still have access to the very best solutions available to compete with banks.
A fabulous team at Aux and InNetwork, combined with the leadership of the board, are leading the way and executing on today’s strategies and goals all the while keeping on eye on the future needs of our credit unions. I would sum up 2021 was a good year but looking ahead to 2022 could be a great year. We anticipate the Accounting, CFO and Compliance services growth and innovation to continue, but Cuery will be accelerating and leading to a new and exciting credit unions relationships.
I want to personally thank you for your continued support as we cross over into our 30th year of serving credit unions. It’s a privilege working with my team, the board and all of you. Have a Merry Christmas and we will start of the New Year with a bang!