RESEARCH & RESOURCES

CASE STUDY - Master Data Management Brings Financial Services Closer to Customers

By Baseline Consulting

As one of the world’s largest credit unions, LCU boasts close to half a million customers (“members” in its vernacular) and has more than 50 branches across its region. For the past several years, the financial services industry has had a laser focus on customer centricity. At LCU, however, customer information was scattered throughout business systems that collectively did not recognize the customer as unique across the enterprise.

Numerous interviews with LCU managers revealed that customer information:

  • Was not always available in the time frames required
  • Had data accuracy and quality issues
  • Was inconvenient or difficult to access, causing some staff to stop looking
  • Was not always presented in a way that supported customer service needs in real time

Clearly, there was a need to provide information to LCU’s staff to help obtain a more unified perspective of the member—that is, across all of the member’s interactions with the credit union. This unified view had to support both operational and back-office processes, and focus on a more analytical review of customer information for improved reporting, advising, and “after the fact” decision making.

Baseline Consulting was engaged to assess LCU’s challenges and recommend an integrated solution. More than 30 interviews were conducted with all levels of management. Consistently, we heard that the key to ensuring a member-centric focus was to provide LCU’s member-facing employees with the information to make decisions “in the moment.”

Baseline determined that current systems could not be cost-effectively modified to support the desired member-centric approach, and thus proposed a customer master data management (MDM) solution implemented in a service-oriented architecture (SOA) environment. By integrating, merging, and deduplicating all of the customer information from the functionally stove-piped business systems, the MDM hub would provide the unified view of the customer that would not otherwise be possible. (Both MDM and SOA were completely new technology initiatives for the credit union.)

Combined with a new portal-based, front-end application, the resulting solution—dubbed MemberView—provided the unified view of the customer that had been missing. MemberView offered an integrated working environment that:

  • Provided an immediate display of accurate, consistent, and relevant member information when needed (e.g., member demographics, products and services, relationships with other members)
  • Allowed the employee to jump to the right application based on the task at hand, transparently providing the necessary member “context” in the legacy system without causing the employee to search again
  • Implemented single sign-on, which improved employee productivity by eliminating the necessity to explicitly sign on to multiple business applications

The consolidated, deduplicated customer information in the MDM hub was integrated, via workflow, with existing legacy systems and the data warehouse, and even more benefits were recognized: improved changeof- address processing across systems, better information for credit risk assessment, and improved regulatory compliance.

The business case used to secure funding for the project highlighted the most important benefit of this solution: “MemberView will help to transform us to a new paradigm where staff will focus on building upon relationships with its members and with the communities they live in, in contrast to helping members perform transactions on their accounts.”

MemberView also improved the member experience in a number of different ways:

  • Higher levels of service because the staff had a more complete picture of members’ relationships to LCU across all lines of business
  • Faster transaction service in the branch, which increased the time available for advice on more effective utilization of LCU’s products and services
  • The right marketing offer for products that were appropriate to members, in ways chosen by the member (e.g., members did not receive offers about products they already owned)
  • More comprehensive advice that met both retail and business needs
  • A consistent service experience across retail and business channels

Since MemberView’s benefits extended to most of LCU’s staff and operations, it allowed for other indirect process improvements that were previously not possible. For instance, as a member-owned credit union, LCU must conduct regular elections of their board of directors. This election process—which was previously conducted via mail, but had shifted to online voting as the primary mechanism—is critically dependent on a consolidated, deduplicated list of unique members. This ensures that every eligible member gets to vote once, and that no ineligible members or non-members are allowed to vote. Prior to MemberView, assembling and deduplicating the list of eligible voting members was a highly error-prone process. That process has now been streamlined.


For a free white paper on this topic, click here and choose the title “Managing Data, Managing Change: Making MDM Work.”

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