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Spotlight on Siva Narendra, CEO of Tyfone and Week-End Urban Farmer

PART ONE: Life Story and Experiences

What’s your current position and can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?

I am one of the Founders of Tyfone and CEO of the company which means I get to do all the things no one else wants to do. It’s important for me to define our purpose and why we exist and the value we bring to the ecosystem. Our purpose is to fill the gap between most consumers wanting money in community minded financial institutions, but they see digital services are done better by big banks. By filling this purposeful gap with innovative digital technologies with a great user experience we enable credit unions to compete with the big banks even in the digital domain.

What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about?

A couple of things. From a market vantage point, we believe there is a place for big banks. The bigger you are, the faster you grow; however, that doesn’t tell the whole story. We want to really look at retail consumer needs and we know that community minded financial institutions are very necessary to serve retail consumers. From a technology vantage point, digital banking is where innovation happens, and it moves fast. What is true today is not true tomorrow and learning is a passion for me. When your brain hurts, it’s fun! So, both the market need and technology pace motivates me.

I want to hear the story of how you came to work with credit unions. What attracted you to work for Tyfone?

That’s a really good question. When we started the company almost 18 years ago, we knew mobile devices would be important. I was at Intel and we were looking at Moore’s law and we knew smartphones would become commonplace. We decided to focus on mobile payments initially and realized that it is a highly consolidated market and breaking into that “club” is non-trivial. So, it was out of necessity that we ended up working with smaller institutions and it was clear we were going to do something that was exciting. Most of the founders were credit union members and so it was a natural that we would end up serving them. We started with one Bay Area CU and slowly grew. The first client was Star One Credit Union in Silicon Valley. The members of this high-tech credit union expected a good user experience. Digital features are easy to build quickly, but relationships take time and we found that good communication with our customers has kept us relevant and an attractive place to work!

Continue reading Spotlight on Siva Narendra, CEO of Tyfone and Week-End Urban Farmer

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Kaleyra Announces Agreement with Trellance to Build Communication Solutions for Credit Unions

Kaleyra, Inc. (NYSE:KLR), a rapidly growing Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS), today announced a new agreement in the US with Trellance, the leading provider of data analytics, business intelligence, and professional services for credit unions.

As part of the agreement, k-lab, the innovation lab of Kaleyra, will be creating communication solutions for credit unions powered by data from the Trellance M360 platform, further strengthening the platform as a single source of integrated enterprise intelligence. Kaleyra and Trellance will be solving digital communication issues, using messages such as alerts for fraud prevention or providing notifications that improve member experience.

“At Kaleyra, we believe in an ecosystem of companies focused on their core business, but that at the same time are interconnected to provide customers the best possible experience,” said Velco Farina, Managing Director of k-lab. “The combination of Trellance’s M360 data analytics platform and Kaleyra’s communication modules will deliver great value to all credit unions on the Trellance M360 platform, while accelerating their digital transformation with regards to customer engagement.”

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Great Lakes First FCU selects CU*Answers as new core partner

Escanaba, Michigan-based Great Lakes First Federal Credit Union recently announced it has selected CU*BASE, the core data processing suite from the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based cooperative CU*Answers, Inc., for its new platform.

“Great Lakes First FCU is a progressive organization deeply rooted in the cooperative spirit,” said CEO Wayne Johnson. “We were seeking a new core partner whose vision mirrored ours. In CU*Answers, we found a partner with both a strong core suite and a network of partners with solutions that will help us solve daily operational concerns, while allowing us to grow our strategic initiatives. Through their unique CUSO network, they are able to provide services such as collections, daily accounting support, share draft, ACH processing, and native mortgage servicing. Partnering with CU*Answers for these services will allow us to use our valuable staff time serving the membership.”

Johnson added, “From a member perspective, we are excited to add additional products and services to our mobile offerings; products like a virtual signing room will enhance the members’ remote experience. We look forward to joining a cooperative that is focused not only our needs, but those of our customer-owners.”

Scott Collins, EVP of National Sales and Marketplace Relationships at CU*Answers commented, “We are very excited that the Great Lakes First FCU team selected us as their new partner. Wayne made it very clear during their due diligence that they were looking for a partner that was willing to invest in helping them serve their community more effectively, and we look forward to many years as partners doing just that.”

Great Lakes First FCU also purchased stock, joining the ranks of credit union owners of the cooperative CUSO. The core conversion project is scheduled for April of 2022.

About CU*Answers, Inc.

CU*Answers offers expertise in implementing technical solutions to operational needs, and is a leader in helping credit unions form strategic alliances and partnerships. CU*Answers provides a wide variety of services for credit unions including its flagship CU*BASE® processing system (online and in-house) and Internet development services featuring It’s Me 247 online and mobile banking. Additional services include web development, network design and security, and image check processing. Founded in 1970, CU*Answers is a 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO providing services to credit unions representing over 2 million members and $21.5 billion in credit union assets. For more information, visit

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Interactive Events Designed to Help Credit Unions Leverage Payments as a Path to Growth

If credit unions are to thrive in a post-pandemic era, the industry needs to rethink everything, including the traditional credit union business model. This is the consensus among change agents from both inside and outside the movement, each of whom will take the digital podium at different sessions throughout CO-OP’s THINK 21 Virtual Forum series.

Among the presenters who will deliver this message to THINK 21’s credit union attendees are Noah Kerner, CEO of Acorns and Co-Founder of Say; Tim Greene, vice president of innovation for Elements Federal Credit Union; and behavioral scientist Francesca Gino. During the sessions, Jean Chatzky of Her Money Media will guide discussions exploring why there’s never been a more important time for credit unions to make the pivot from traditional, siloed product-driven providers to holistic, member-centric financial partners who activate member usage with lifestyle payments solutions.

May 25, 2021, at 10 a.m. PT: Rethink your service model: exceeding expectations at every moment

Acorns’ Kerner and Elements FCU’s Greene will join other speakers for a discussion regarding shifting consumer expectations. Through the lens of proprietary EY/CO-OP research, they’ll share strategies for owning both micro- and milestone-moments to deliver use cases that enhance the member experience and gain primary financial relationships with more members.

July 27 at 11 a.m. PT: Rethink data: turning insights into personalized experiences

Author and behavioral scientist Gino will talk through investing in data insights and a modern payments infrastructure alongside the strategic development of member empathy. Gino, in addition to Chatzky and CO-OP’s SVP of Client Relationships Tiffany Doty, will share ideas for initiatives that enable credit unions to efficiently be there for every key member moment today and down the road.


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A Return to ‘Normalcy’: Familiar Payments Trends Take Hold

CO-OP Payments Trends Report (Spending Data from March 1-31)

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to progress, enabling the U.S. economy to slowly but surely reopen, consumer spending patterns are finally beginning to take on a familiar hue. Here are a few of the encouraging trends we are watching this month:

#1: Consumers Shift from Online to In-person Shopping

March saw small declines month-over-month in some eCommerce merchant classifications, like bookstores (which consists largely of Amazon.comsales). However, these drops were much less than those seen in the prior month, and other categories like retail and digital goods showed slight upticks.

“We’re seeing lifts in transaction counts, amounts and interchange, as the post-holiday declines have now dissipated,” said Beth Phillips, CO-OP Director of Strategic Portfolio Growth. “Whereas there were some small declines in Amazon, computers and office equipment, consumers are beginning to spend their retail dollars elsewhere, including in physical stores as pre-pandemic ‘normal’ spending habits begin to take hold.”

“Small businesses and shops are rebounding,” said John Patton, CO-OP Senior Payments Advisor. “It will be interesting to monitor which merchant classifications see the sharpest increases in the coming months.” Continue reading A Return to ‘Normalcy’: Familiar Payments Trends Take Hold